Many of our clients have already spirited themselves to the South of France and returned from delightful à la française seashore jaunts. Italy, Rome has hosted a flock of peeps from our Travel Tribe. One adventurous sea going client has chartered our favorite yacht for multiple experiences: Greenland, the Canary Islands, Sicily, and multiple turquoise sea Caribbean jaunts. On the horizon for fall and the holidays: Cheval Blanc in the Maldives and Le Meurice, Paris. Istanbul is hot again! My recent holiday reminded me of why all our original clients visited, we are reserving the Four Seasons in Istanbul, they still love our clients! Nothing better than a sunset yacht cruise up the Bosporus and docking at Four Seasons Aqua Terrace for a divine dinner! Did you know Aman has launched a chic outpost in New York City?
Morocco is said to be the hottest scene for 2023, I am besotted with the country and the charming friendly people. Several clients have visited and more arrive in November for a Camel Caravan.
I once told a magazine writer I’m certain I was born with the DNA of a gypsy. For my 8th grade graduation, I coveted a small leather suitcase – at that age I never went further than my best friend’s house 4 blocks away or maybe to my grandparent’s home which was only 15 miles away. My parents surprised me with a hard-sided, stitched baby blue suitcase, lined in silky pale blue satin; a small lock and a gold key on a narrow blue ribbon guaranteed the safety of my valuables! I treasured it for my overnight getaways.
High school graduation yielded a trifecta prezzie: a full set of luggage, including a lady’s leather travel cosmetic case. I didn’t have an itinerary, in my heart, I knew adventure lay beyond the
Avant-Garde artist and potter Beatrice Wood lived in Ojai; as a young girl, I was mesmerized by her stacks of shimmering wrist bangles, enormous ethnic silver necklaces and riotously decorated costumes – a mysterious bohemian gypsy – she truly represented uncharted territory – a different realm, somewhere far from the little burb of Ojai. Had I known she had spent time with Duchamp and lived in Paris, I might have worked up a petite bit of pluck and uttered a few words to her; but sometimes mystery is better than reality; don’t you sometimes find that to be true about people you meet?
Travel creates a teaching environment, we learn, we are challenged; I find travel the absolute essential antidote to everyday routines. When I pack my suitcase, I am usually completely pre-occupied with all the tasks that must be accomplished before I can escape. The ever-growing list of must do prior to departure creates some stress; slowly each item is crossed off. Lock the gates and off to the airport. On arrival at the airport lounge, I let out a sigh of relief and let the pure sense of excitement wash over me.
“To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from oneself; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” ~Charles Horton Cooley
My comfortable routines are dismissed, and the anticipation of a new far-off destination begins to sink in. Fresh vistas, foreign languages, interesting foods, curious customs, and people in indigenous dress – seeing places I’ve never seen before. A pleasing adventure of searching new locales for client travel, the pursuit never gets old.
There are times certainly that the luxury of my soft little pillow is missed, the paradox of travel – the comfy reminders of home – while enjoying the adventure at hand. Certainly, the brave seafaring explorers in tall, masted ships, civilizations crossing boundless lands and seas to explore new countryside felt the tug of home. The spark of curiosity about uncharted territory overruled the dilemma experienced by all civilizations that left their comfort zones to search the world.
Travel means edging out of your habitat, traversing new pathways, being alive in an unknown place, a Journey.
Italy is one of the most pleasant relaxing destinations, I love both, the sophisticated cities and the rambling countryside, both equally charming. Although after pandemic lockdowns, travelers may not be prepared to mingle in feverish cities. Italy has been the fourth most visited country in international tourism arrivals. People visit Italy for its rich culture, delicious hearty cuisine, history, fashion and art, its stunning coastline and sandy beaches, its mountains, and priceless ancient monuments. I’ve never been disappointed in Italy, truly a lifestyle choice!
We will never forget the pandemic images of balconies filled with devastated Italian locals serenading in solidarity and sending love to the local health workers. It was a tonic for the soul, as our turn hadn’t come, it was spirited and inspiring. The irrepressible Italian temperament is hard to deny, and it is a beloved destination. Perhaps it’s time to plan a late summer or early fall sojourn to Italy, a meander easing back into travel. Several scenic areas come to mind: Umbria and Puglia for the countryside with small hill towns near Puglia on the sea.
Your mind’s eye view of Italy may encompass numerous visions. Cypress trees marching in rows across undulating pale green hillsides or the dizzying cliffs and winding narrow roads of the Amalfi coast. My most recent Italian Journey included sandy beaches, dining under massive pine trees in the fields of Puglia, dotted with ancient, gnarled olive trees. Nearby are numerous charming hilltop towns, the white cone shaped trulli villages and Lecce, a baroque jewel in the southern Apulia region.
For travelers pursuing authentic food and wine experiences, Umbria should place near the top of a “must-visit” list. Particularly in autumn when the district’s autumn abundance is at its peak. The otherwise tranquil countryside is a buzz of activity during the fall, with wine, oil and saffron harvests in full swing, truffle hunting in high gear and such crops as beans and mushrooms coming due. During fall harvest, friends and family gather to pluck ripe fruit from their orchards and create their own stock of olive oil, their liquid gold.
We have a cultivated selection of Villas in the Umbria area, including a graceful 17th century country manor that has been owned by the same family for three hundred years and is designated as a national monument. Set in splendid countryside just over an hour north of Rome, and an hour south of Umbria, the villa is ideally located for exploring Lazio’s Etruscan sites and Renaissance palaces, for golfing at one of several 18-hole courses – or for a day in the city or a jaunt up to Umbria. Just imagine an unhurried few weeks or even a month here!
Villa B is a 17th-century farmhouse that has been meticulously restored. The villa is a light and spacious property set around a wonderful courtyard with ancient mulberry trees and a large heated swimming pool. The mature gardens and open lawns make this an ideal property for guests of all ages and the covered patio is fantastic for outdoor dining.
The villa offers flexible accommodation in two buildings: the main house and adjacent guest house. Sleeps 14 guests in 7 Bedrooms – 5 bedrooms in the Main House + 2 bedrooms in the Guest House. Umbria location: 45 minutes from Perugia airport 20 minutes from Asissi 1 hour 15 minutes’ from Orvieto 2 hours from Florence airport 2 hours 45 minutes from Rome Fiumicino
Restaurants and rustic trattorias enrich their menus with the farm to table offerings. Plan a culinary escapade with Villa living like a local. Umbria, in addition to the phenomenal food offerings, has many other reasons to visit, including gorgeous hill towns and villages and world-renowned art and architecture. Just 1.5-2 hours from both Rome and Florence, it’s the perfect interval when traveling from the north to the south of Italy. Wine harvest, olive oil harvest, truffle season, and ultimately saffron season, which has been cultivated in the region since the Middle Ages.
Florence Villa. Situated just 8 km from the centre of Florence, this stunning Villa is located within a large estate, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. Amenities include tennis and a soccer pitch. The villa sits perched at 320 meters above sea level with views stretching across the Tuscan countryside. Sleeps 16 in 6 double rooms and 2 twin rooms.
The swimming pool area has been carefully designed so that one can savor a glass of Chianti while overlooking Giotto’s Bell Tower & Brunelleschi’s Dome. The oldest part of the villa is the tower which has been restored with glass windows and is a splendid viewing platform with spectacular 360 degree views of the surrounding parks and wonderful for enjoying the summer sunset.
The outdoor gazebo is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a cappuccino, afternoon siesta or evening cocktail. Just steps from the gazebo is a vegetable garden where you can pick the fresh ingredients for supper. Having previously been host to members of the British Royal family, the villa has recently been refurbished to an excellent standard.
Puglia. Bari to Lecce. Follow the winding scenic roads of the Puglian coast, the ‘heel’ of Italy’s boot to discover hidden sea caves, charming white coned trulli villages, quaint masserie, cliff top towns, and the Baroque gem Lecce. Puglia is estimated to have 60 million olive trees, some as old as 2,000 years, all of which are protected by law. A diverse region populated with acres of farm crops, in particular wheat for pasta. Hilly landscapes, green valleys and miles of olive groves —this is where you will discover olive trees as old as Jesus Christ. Orchards of fruit and rolling fields of vineyards, quaint whitewashed towns accented with deep blue trim, charm oozes in each and every town. This is a casual lifestyle with good hearty dining. The white city of Ostuni is an enchanting hill town, following the cobblestone streets to hidden grand churches, mosey through lanes that cars can’t navigate. The old homes of the Nobles and the Cathedral are especially striking.
La Dolce Vita is the practiced routine, aging nonnas spend afternoons chatting on the side of the cobbled street in colorful wooden chairs; I’m sure they are comparing sauce recipes. Groups of old men play cards in the late afternoon sun; floppy khaki hats protect them from the heat. It is like watching a movie, cue the music for Cinema Paradisio!
Be a part of the modern renaissance, return to the world and to Italy in baby steps! If you prefer to be in Tuscany, imagine a month in your private villa adding day trips for sightseeing.
Among the Villas we can offer in Puglia, a charming Masseria that sleeps 16 guests comfortably in 8 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. Surrounding the house is a combination of 100 acres of olive groves, oak and wild grass meadows and a citrus garden. Hammam and two pools, one on the rooftop terrace and one in the garden. Tennis court for summer matches. Having undergone a meticulous restoration, the Masseria is now one of the most luxurious villas to rent in Southern Italy. Originally built to protect the owners from marauding pirates, the thick stone walls now provide a cool retreat from the baking Puglian sun. No expense has been spared in the eight spacious en suite bedrooms. Renowned decorator Alexander Waterworth has created contemporary, soothing spaces using local materials and taking inspiration from the spectacular surrounding countryside. Privacy is guaranteed; the farmhouse is surrounded by over 100 acres of land. Amidst the olive groves (the oil produced is superb), children will revel in collecting fresh eggs for breakfast, while parents can pluck limes and mint for a home-grown Italian Limoncello Mojito, expertly mixed.
Days can be spent lounging by the vast lake-style swimming pool, or at the smaller pool on top of the tower. In the evenings, the chef creates unparalleled Puglian feasts using zucchini and eggplants from the kitchen garden along with homemade orecchiette pasta. After dinner, classic Italian films can be projected against the walls of the pool house with the sound of cicadas providing a summer symphony. And if it all gets too much, you can escape for a sleepover in the vintage chrome Airstream hidden amidst a field of wildflowers and ancient olive trees.
Italians value and celebrate all aspects of life. It begins in the morning with a pastry and a frothy Caffè latte and continues to late evening with lunch breaks, sunset apéritif’s, and peaking with scrumptious five course dinners.
A small taste of what could be a memorable late summer in Italy—our black book includes private Villas that are not available to the public marketplace, they are vetted and managed by our local teams. Tuscany, or farther if you are inclined, to Portofino and Positano. Or perhaps a summer on Lake Como, in an exceptional and historical palazzo, the perfect spot for a celebration or family gathering on the breathtaking Lake Como. Situated on the western shore of Lake Como, the Villa is in the town of Ossuccio, approximately 20 km north of the town of Como. Indoor pool, garden pool and of course, the sparkling lake!
The only surprises are what your chef may prepare for dinner after visiting the bountiful farmers markets brimming with farm-bought goat’s cheese, freshly baked bread and artfully produced salami and ham, oh and the wine! Walking, hiking, boating across an endless lake, can you see yourself here this summer?
Abundant options, however, we feel this is the year of Private Villa Vacations…plot now! Umbria, Lake Como estates, what’s more Bubble than a private island estate, or a Sardinia hilltop compound. Let us help you design your own Fellini summer experience.