Better than hotels

Here it comes, that time of your life when, in spite of all your promises, you are your parents: you finally read the same newspapers they used to pile at the corner of the sofa, you wear coats that are too showy like your mother used to and eat strangely like your dad - devouring mouthfuls.

You let your children indulge in those same aspects you were allowed to experiment with: creativity, quirkiness, using electric devices that shouldn’t be allowed before eighteen, eating anytime of the day, growing an interior garden of fantastic, unrealisable dreams.

It’s a sweet day when you realize you are nothing but a human in a chain of humans, a point of continuity, a product that many people and things have shaped and not a self-made creature as eighties movies suggested you should be, because this discovery fills you with love, empathy, happiness: I am a part of “them”, I am with “people”. In other words: I am not alone.

As soon as we embrace our past as part of our future, the concept of acceptance is finally revealed to us as Abrahamic religions intend it, and the way it defines the Christian legacy as well: we become acquiescent to our own destiny, we accept our core and sign a bond with ourselves for life.

From now on, my dear myself, you will be allowed to drive at thirty miles an hour on motorways, like granddad used to, and avoid sports in favor of television. You will ask for virgin olive oil to be topped on your pizza and enjoy a fantastic cappuccino with chocolate after a massive italian meal. You, amongst other fantastic things, will be allowed to love yourself the way you are: you got to be what you were meant to be.

Inspecting villas and traveling their surrounding territory it’s my duty since ’98. It didn’t start as a proper job and happened by accident when my tour escort auntie asked me to substitute her. She was working for wealthy american cruisers at the time: I did take her place and fell in love with these fashionable, rich americans. Not a long time after I also happened to see a Bertolucci's movie called Stealing Beauty. The combination of those two elements plus bags of dollars in tips for amounts that were unheard for my age did the trick and here I am today, producing villas for some incredible companies worlwide and assisting their clients when in Italy. I do not think for a second there is an ounce of personal credit in this result and I am grateful to my own, lucky fate.

I started inspecting agriturismos, a sort of touristic farm in the countryside where one can sleep and eat local products, experiencing the greatness of Italy’s environment and atmosphere. I tried hard to convince those proprietors in the nineties that an english website and an online payment system with availabilities would have made the difference for them, despite the hints of those useless, byzantines consultants that the region sends them - do not produce your oil in earthenware jars, do not cook bread in your wooden oven, do not do this or wear masks when reaping: fuck off you fools, when we were writing poems on oil and wine you were still worshiping the Great God of Potato and barely had an idiom up there in Europe.

Anyway: it didn’t work.

I thought it would be much better to try with non-italian proprietors at this point, people who wouldn’t listen to the absurd directives of the various local committees, and that’s when I discovered they owned villas, not agriturismos. They also had a dream and it involved everything I love too: Italy, wine, cheese, evocative afternoons, idleness, days of nothing you will remember for ever, staying away from the beach and looking like a philosopher when cooking spaghetti al pomodoro fresco.

I am not suggesting here that villas holidays are for enlightened individuals while hotels are for sheep, I'm just trying to lead you to an attempt that might change your holidaying routine for ever, and I will be honest about it.

1 - One deserves to feel like Cicero for once in a lifetime
Villas clients have bypassed the gender race years ago: women and men read the same most unrealistic tomes when summering in Italy. They all are boffins and surely know about red wine. They all know cooking secrets, contemporary history and art: they all look credible when pronouncing the words “It is amazing how silence speaks louder than words in here”.

Full article here

Juanita de Paola