Inspecting Umbria

So we inspect villas.

We select properties and get them ready for the best travel agents in the entire world. We see these houses, castles, apartments, mansions, one first time and then we go back at least four times. We inspect the surrounding territory to see if it’s worth travelling the world to get right where the property is, we would never send anybody in a great mansion with no great restaurants around. We ask around - we are quite nosy - about proprietors, their fame, how they treat staff and villagers, because generally that’s how they will treat guests as well.

We photograph each property in different seasons, describe every room, every minutia, we do jump on beds (and still like it after 12 years), inspect the plumbing system and the electrical capacity. We switch everything on as if it was new years eve and see what happens when all of us are using the wi-fi network of the house: can we still see YouTube? Can we still listen to Spotify? Can we access our cloud?

Living in Tuscany, we use this magnificent region as a base to inspect all the others, although 70% of our portfolio is right here, in the cradle of Renaissance, the place where everybody wants to come, taste, live, start from scratch again, enjoy life and go back home with new motivations. In fact, almost all our requests from our retailers and partners are about a villa in Tuscany, near Siena, or Lucca or Florence.

We all try to develop a number of skills, such as

  • photography
  • as many languages as we can
  • empathy (very important when it comes to Italian suppliers)
  • improvisation
  • passion for our territory

When inspecting we bring good things with us such as great ingredients and good quality wine, as we will spend at least one night in the property and want to see exactly how it feels being inside at the dining table or in the living room for a chat.

We have learnt in our career that some villas just do not have that thing, that particular charm that we find necessary to have success in this liquid, ferocious business called ‘villa rental’. Sometimes it hurts to see how much money a proprietor has invested in a super-gym or a tennis court and how little instead is the consideration for the atmosphere, the respect for guests to come: these properties will not work. And we do not take them on.

We have just come back from an inspection in beautiful Val d’Orcia, a territory that smells like grass after the rain, it’s warm and dramatic in its hills. This land is so blessed one expects to be plain happy when here. The villa we have inspected is a ‘sexy’ one, luxurious and cozy at the same time so it doesn’t get better than that. It’s in our portfolio and we have booked already an outstanding number of weeks for this first year through our fabulous agents. 

Juanita de Paola