Following our post on the Big Bucks plan, the road trip in September took us through Tuscany. We needed to see it again through an investor’s eyes and revisit why people persistently and consistently come here.
Obvious, yes, perhaps. But from a commercial perspective, it needs to work – and from a personal perspective, we need to be committed to this area.
We needed to get a sense of what is already out here, hotel-wise and to see if there is anything we can do slightly differently, or for a different market. We also wanted to see what level of abandonment of properties still exists in Tuscany, in case there might be an opportunity to redevelop something from scratch, rather than prettify-ing something already rather stunning!
I must admit that the visit did reignite a passion in me. This was, of course, where my dream to be in Italy one day started – and every trip to Tuscany since then, reinforced the desire. So, we took in the sites, unsurprisingly, and also ventured to the further reaches of Tuscany; Carrara where the marble comes from; Lunigiana a little-known northern area of Tuscany, down to the west of the Chianti region: Arezzo and Castiglione, before venturing into Umbria.
My favourite city, Siena, never fails to thrill me and we were sadly two weeks early for the second Paglio of the year, but the flags were flying and teams colours were in abundance.
We came across a stunning property between Siena and Arezzo, and can really imagine how it could look, with the large house as the main hotel, the smaller house would be our home and the animal stalls would become the guest apartments – all around a lovely, cool, freshwater swimming pool…! Just down the road is an excellent restaurant, in the grounds of a polo club, in case the mood takes you!