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A Philosophy of life
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Mr Morten Muggerud & Ms Mai-Lill Ibsen, Oslo Norway

Over the years we have travelled broadly, and found our favourite “spots” around the world. Places where scenery, people and atmosphere give you that good feeling. So Italy has been one of our favourites, from skiing in the Italian Alps to island-jumping in the Aeolian islands to wine tours in Piemonte and Toscana. The last five years or so we had been looking at finding a home away from home in Italy.

Last summer we had dinner with our summerhouse neighbours in Sandefjord, and they introduced us to Borgo di Vagli. We had then recently had a trip to Piemonte to look at “old stone”, and were planning a new trip to Toscana in the fall. And clearly Borgo should be on our itinerary!

Our arrival at Borgo will not be forgotten – at night, in torrential rain, up and down the steepest, winding road we had ever driven, with a rental car that “told” us that it needed immediate attention from a mechanic! The joy of experiencing that this road led to a warm and cosy trattoria where we were welcomed with open arms (and a glass of Prosecco) by Lee and the team was just fantastic.

Initially Borgo di Vagli did not meet all our criteria’s as Home away from Home (it was a long list) – but it was just so unique that we couldn’t say no. The restoration work done by Fulvio was amazing, the setting was spectacular, Dina’s food excellent – in addition we met so many friendly people. It is almost like an extended family!

Borgo di Vagli will be our base to explore the nearby regions more closely, to learn more about history and culture, to taste more local cuisine and wines – and to get away from the world (and work!) to relax. We consider Borgo part of our lifestyle, and are looking forward to introducing this spectacular place to friends and family (there is already a long “waiting list”). Our two sons (Andreas 24 and Thomas 21) have not had a chance to visit yet, but our nephew Jørgen and his fiancé enjoyed Borgo this summer. Hopefully all four of us will be able to visit next year.

We still work very much, so we may have to rely on long weekends for some of these trips, but in some years we will have more time on our hands, and then Borgo will see us more often.

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Hans and Inger von der Lippe, Sandnes, Norway

We first heard about Borgo di Vagli from Tone, a very close friend of ours who had read about the hamlet in a Norwegian magazine a few years ago. Tone, kindly involved us in her plans and together we formed a partnership and purchased in the two-bedroom residence category last autumn.

We believe ownership at the hamlet is a lifestyle investment, and hopefully our children and grandchildren will join us vacationing at our “Home in Tuscany”.

We love the concept of owning in Tuscany and having a home to return to year after year and not having to worry about the maintenance, the garden, terraces and pool etc..

The hamlet itself has been beautifully and sympathetically restored and it highlights the original architecture of the humble stone houses, which seem to hug the hillside as if by magic.

Instead of an easy accessible “traditional” turquoise swimming pool seen throughout Europe, the heated pool is hidden far up on the top terrace and was shaped to take the form of the original terrace. This gives it the appearance that it looks as though it has always been there, like a clear water pond enhanced with greyish tiles.

Now in June the plants leave a great impression – the lavender is ever so purple-blue, and the huge rosemary bushes ever so green; both give off a wonderful Tuscan scent as you brush past them.

Dina’s Food

We both love cooking and using the fresh ingredients that we bought at the local markets… but the professional Tuscan cook is Dina. She is a great inspiration and master!

Her spinach with pine nuts, raisins, and Borgo’s olive oil is to dream about and of course her wild boar and fresh mint stew. What can I say!!! Also her handmaderavioli served with sage is a favourite of ours. And this trip she gave us a jar of her own freshly made fruit jam, which was still warm! Mamma mia! Dina’s cooking is a very important reason why we choose to dine at the hamlet most evenings and her daughters Roberta and Tiziana make us feel so welcome.

We love to exercise and the hiking paths are wonderful and offer truly breath-taking views.

In less than a year we have returned three times and feel that we know the place well. The team are very friendly and willing to help with everything (i.e. delivering home made croissants to our residence in time for a leisurely breakfast, or helping us with bookings and making dinner reservations in the local hilltop towns, and we especially like it when the gardener’s recognise us and greet us with a friendly buongiorno.

We appreciate the flexibility fractional ownership affords us, the variations of when to go and the possibilities of inviting guests to join us.

We live in Norway, on the southwestern coast – our vacations are mostly by the sea, in an old wooden boat, sailing, kayaking and fishing. In the winter we go cross-country skiing. Vacations at the Borgo are different indeed, the climate, the culture… we cannot remember hiking in the Norwegian mountains in 30 degrees and we never met wild boar on our way!

Unfortunately there are no direct flights to Italy from our local airport, otherwise we would visit more often!!

And last but not least: the peacefulness! It’s just so peaceful there!

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Tone and Odd Larsen – Rogaland, Norway

A Philosphophy of Life.

Happy New Year all owners of Borgo di Vagli!

We are new owners from Norway and had a memorable week between Christmas and over the New Year. We enjoyed clear blue skies which was ideal for walking and getting to know the surroundings. We wanted Hamlet to be a part of us. My husband Odd, had only heard about Borgo di Vagli through me, and I was too enthusiastic about it in his opinion. He was a bit skeptic, but he has always relied and trusted me. He was breathtaking by the picturesque little village that was hidden among the trees up in the hills when we arrived in the afternoon. The place is a treasure. A hidden pearl!

We have a cabin in Setesdal in Norway which lies up in the mountain 3-4hours driving by car from Sandnes, where we live. The cabin can be reached on weekends and is used more or less through the year. In my opinion there is one problem where we live – THE WEATHER and the lack of light in winter time. We live in a part of Norway with fantastic nature and fresh air, but the weather is not that good! In spring, summer and autumn we need sun and nice weather more than now and then. This summer it has been raining almost every day, and the temperature like winter in Tuscany. We both like to spend most of the days outside when we have holidays and we like sunny days. We like to sit out relaxing and enjoying the evenings with good friends, share thoughts and have a good conversation, which we can do in Borgo. We enjoyed every minute of our staying, in spite that it was winter. We meet nice owners from San Francisco, Denmark and a couple looking at the prospect from Toronto.

Dina and her daughters provide delicious food in a fantastically warm and friendly environment. Dina’s dinner became the highlight after days out in the open. We enjoyed the evening in the Trattoria with co-owners. It was the season for wild boar hunting, we heard the hunters and shouting, but we did not see any boar, only footprints. We had the opportunity to celebrate New Year Eve in the Trattoria together with co-owners and guests from a village nearby. It was a memorable evening. Everybody wanted us to have a nice stay and we indeed had! The hospitality was fantastic!

My fairytale! For many years I’ve been thinking of Borgo di Vagli. I read an article in a foreign magazine several years ago, and then I found an article in a Norwegian magazine in 2008 about a family from Norway who became owners. I had never heard about fractional ownership before, only timeshare. Timeshare was out of question. The photos in the article was taken out of a window in Hamlet – a foggy morning. The nature, the old houses and the peacefulness it showed, spellbounded me. I wanted Odd and me to be a part of this village out in the middle of nowhere, and still close to so many nice places like Siena, Pisa, Chianti, Assisi etc.

We say that wishes comes true when we want it enough! I believe in that, because I have had it in my mind since the first time I read about the place. Now was the right time for us to purchase. We have 3 children, girls of 34, 31 and 23. The two eldest are married and we have 4 grandchildren, girls of course! We want them to like Hamlet as well. First they have to get to know the place.

Through the years we have been travelling a lot in the world. We have been skiing in Italy and Austria. When the children were kids we loved to go to Greece and had a favorite island and was about to by a property there in the late 90’s. In the later years we have travelled all around Italy and in June we were bicycling along the costal area of Puglia for 14 days. Fantastic! We stayed in Castel del Piano in Tuscany three years ago, and participated in the festivities around the horse Race in Siena. We like good food, wine and the atmosphere we found in Tuscany. For the last two years I’ve been with friends to Andrea Bocelli’s concert in Tuscany. It was held in the open theater in Lajatico, close to Cortona. It was breathtaking listening to my favorite artist in the middle of Tuscany, with fields around and shining stars in the sky and full moon! The surroundings, the smells of flowers and trees, everything were perfect. I wanted this to be a part of Odd and me.

The day after the concert we took the train, easy way of travelling in Italy, to Terontola and taxi up to Borgo di Vagli. Stefania was expecting us. I was so excited. I still remember coming up there the 22nd of July, blue sky, smells from flowers and trees, nice chairs and tables under the grapes, the area was magic to me. I got out of the car and said to Edle, my friend; I belong here! Just what I’ve been searching for. Stefania showed us around and we got in and out of several apartments, both one and two rooms. The hospitality was amazing! Borgo di Vagli would be perfect for Odd and me. No responsibility and unacceptable burden of ownership. Here we would have the benefit of “a home away from home” in the Tuscan hills and with none of the anxiety and ties of sole ownership. No house to take care of, we could put on our shoes and go for a walk. We had nice lunch made by Dina and of course Tuscan wine before we went back to Firenze and the news about the tragedy that had happened in Oslo at the same time. The best and the worse occur on the same day.

Fractional ownership seemed to suit us. The cost of 1 bedded apartment was acceptable for us, but if we wanted to bring grandchildren or friends along, a 2 bedded would fit perfect. But we would not tie up so much money for this purpose. We wanted to have the opportunity of doing other things in life also. The airfare from Stavanger is pretty high, so we will have to book in advanced to be sure to get reasonable tickets, or else we can as well go to New York for the same price. The ideal thing for us was to share a partnership in a 2 bedded apartment. – Just before I left for Firenze I meet a friend, Inger. I told her about Borgo di Vagli and she was anxious to hear about it. That day, I had all my papers about The Hamlet in my bag. What a coincident? I gave her everything and she was anxious to read about the project I was going to visit. Edle, my friend and me left for Firenze next day. When we came to visit Borgo, Inger had already got in contact with Lee! Inger and Hans spent some days in Hamlet in the beginning September and were thrilled like me. We decided to share a partnership for a 2-rooms apartment. The nut was Odd! I had to convince him, so on his birthday in October I invited him to Borgo di Vagli to spend the last week in 2011 in Tuscany together with me.

We bought a share in The Hamlet because we want to spend more time in Tuscany and the area around. We are working hard, and have limited holiday through a year. Odd travel a lot in his work and doesn’t like staying in hotels, especially not when we have holiday. The Hamlet is something special, it’s becoming a philosophy of life to us during our stay. We enjoyed lying on the sofa by the fireplace reading, talking and tasting a glass of good wine. We felt like home. For us this was perfect. We love walking in the mountains, here we can do it whenever we want, or explore other places by car. Borgo di Vagli is situated in Tuscany but close to the border of Umbria. The walking tours in the area are amazing. Only 45 minutes and you are on the top of Mount Ginezzo between 900-1000 m, with 360 grade in all directions. We have been walking up there every day to the breathtaking view. Far away we saw snow on the mountains. You can walk in any directions, towards Lake Trasimeno, direction Cortona, take the old Roman road down the hill to Pierle or take another path home.

As Odd said one of the last days; “when we come back in May we have to take the trip to Cortona, and we can take a short walk in the morning and relax by the swimming pool in the afternoon”. Then I knew that this was a good investment and suites our lifestyle. We are planning to spend our holidays in the Hamlet in the future and hope that friends and family will come along sometimes. We really hope that our children and friends will take the opportunity to visit Borgo di Vagli together with us or as uncompanied guests. We want to share our treasure in Tuscany with family and friends. “Good things have to be shared” We feel privileged to be a part of the Borgo Family! Thank you for a nice staying and looking forward to come back in May!!

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Morten Lie, Oslo, Norway

We came across Borgo di Vagli Fractional Ownership Club by sheer chance. I hadn’t heard of the concept before but was introduced to it when I happened to meet Lee and Fulvio at an exhibition in Oslo in March this year. My company was exhibiting at a separate exhibition hall next door, and during a break I walked into the overseas property hall and among flats in Spain and houses in Turkey, I saw Fulvio an Lee talking to prospects about this beautiful restored Hamlet. I returned on two separate occasions to get a better understanding of the reservations privileges. My wife Marit and I have done a lot of traveling and we had never considered buying a property abroad. You should never say never!

We have three “children” aged from 24 to 32, who joined us on our discovery visit in April, only a month after I first met Lee and Fulvio. My family and I had been through all of the marketing material and enjoyed the numerous video clips, but we did not expect to find the Hamlet better than it looked in the marketing material. We were wrong!

During our three-day discovery visit we experienced the harmony and peace at the Hamlet, beautifully prepared meals in the trattoria, and walked in the surrounding hills and also managed to spend an evening in Cortona. Both generations, which in some days will be three generations (our daughter will give birth in the coming days), were totally convinced! We wanted to be a part of Borgo di Vagli and initially purchased in the one bedroom residence category and were so taken with the Hamlet, the management team, surrounding etc. etc. that we purchased a second fraction in the two bedroom category on our third visit earlier this month.

I doubt we would have ever invested in property in Tuscany or any other place abroad if I had not bumped into Lee and Fulvio in Oslo. But we have been to Italy and Tuscany many times, and if there was one place we would like to have as a second home, this was it. The culture, food and wine, landscape and the nature – and a more friendly weather than home in Norway!

An initial concern I had was more about the financial ability to maintain the high quality (and friendly) service offered at reception, in the trattoria and upkeep and maintenance of the communal areas in years to come. But when we experienced the hamlet and got a better understanding of how it works, and gathered information from Lee and talking to other owners from different parts of the world, we understood that the Club’s structure is designed in such a way to maintain the standard of the property and maintain the services year on year.

We consider our purchases as both a lifestyle and financial investment – but probably more of a lifestyle investment. For us Borgo di Vagli is a piece of art. The architecture, history, landscape and nature have a beauty that does something with our hearts and minds. For us, it’s much more than a nice valuable painting to decorate our home, but we have the ability to share this with our family and friends and it will give us grate pleasure for many years to come.

We think we will return to the Hamlet numerous times throughout the year. We like to experience all four seasons, although spring and the autumn will be our main seasons. In the summer, if the weather is nice, not even Tuscany and Borgo di Vagli can beat Norway.

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Else and Harald S. Kobbe, Bergen, Norway

We had for years been visiting Italy, and dreaming of a place to be there, but came across Borgo di Vagli by pure luck. One evening, flying home from Oslo, we had picked up an English Magazine, ITALY, due to the abovementioned interest. Leafing through it, we both noticed the add describing this opportunity to get a fractional ownership in Tuscany. Home we wasted no time to get on the internet and the web-page, and thus we were hooked. Bought our share even without having the chance first to come down and see how it was. And we have never regretted.
Through the years we have been there at various times and seasons. Spring, early summer, high summer and Christmas/winter. This year, 2010, we shall visit Borgo for the first time in the fall, in October, and look forward to taste of the first olive oil of the season.
To us this is really coming home to something we did not even know existed. It is hard to explain. We love just being there, relaxing indoor in cold weather, or outside most of the year. We usually bring books, but rarely get to read all that we have planned. It is so much to observe and listen to from the forest and the Hamlet itself. One of our definite favourites is the sounds and smell of Dina and her daughters getting ready to prepare for making dinner and lightning up the wood stoves.
We go for hikes, both down to Mercatale and up through the hills. The paths and roads are wonderful, even when snow covered in winter. And relax afterwards with some good wine and local produce, or by the pool in warm weather.
Cortona has rapidly become a favourite, even among many beautiful Tuscan towns and villages. We have established our own routines; – where to shop and what, where to eat and drink and why. And when we would like to go a little further, there are so many other places to choose between. Sometimes we just let the road decide, and end up where we had no plans to be. One advice in this respect: Sunday morning at the piazza in Montepulciano may bring a memorable wedding to watch.
Writing this little piece, so many good memories come, and we are already planning ahead for our next visits. We are so extremely happy that Fulvio was “crazy” enough to see the opportunities and possibilities of Borgo as it was 20 years ago. We, and our children, shall be eternally grateful.

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