Tuscany with Affie... Welcome to my Blog
From finance and banking to luxurious living and a very big slice of the good Tuscan life.
Learn from the past, Focus on the present and Enjoy the planned future……. Simples!
Approaching a certain age and contemplating ‘winding down’ or is that really ‘burn out’ leading to a well deserved semi retirement – never! But really? Well, Dottore Watson, let’s look at the evidence – today I divide my time between Dubai, the UK and Italy; an agreeable balance of professional commitment, a dose of reality and a very big slice of the good life; where better than in Tuscany!
I am sitting in my beautiful study which was lovingly created by my wonderful wife, who is not only the most amazing person that I know but since we met, has been my constant compass and anchor! Spending a good many hours each day at my laptop, normally to formulate consultancy based interventions to lead, shape and drive Executive Coaching programmes for international C-suite executives and future business leaders. However; more recently, it is for a different outcome as my real passion is gravitating toward developing innovative ideas to successfully build and drive a portfolio of service based interventions to provide high-end, luxury driven, authentic and unforgettable, Tuscan experience with absolute comfort and total privacy. A longing which I have held for many years but only now, I am actually able to indulge in it for real! My wife constantly reminds me that I am very lucky and that we are truly blessed; I am not disagreeing – after all, as is the case in my beloved Tuscany; ‘La Donna ha sempre ragione’ – the lady is always right!
I have to confess however, that there are moments when I still hark back to my earlier days which were immersed in the pursuit of several University degrees, Chartered Accountancy, mastering the legal aspects of Case and Contract Law, Management Consultancy and the acquisition of the ubiquitous MBA qualification, all leading me into the surreal arenas of Finance, Consulting and Banking, my very own ‘Musketeers’ which more than provided the much relished challenges, and launched me into the world of budgets, project management, strategic plans and the like where ‘home’ for me were the familiar airport lounges, expensive hotel rooms, many difficult and pointless meetings with endless stacks of power point slides in some of the most fascinating countries and global cities. Money may not be the root of all evil; after all, I have been lucky enough to now find myself in an absolutely wonderful community with a real passion for living and truly loving the Tuscan dolce vita.
After several years of the ‘Amanjunkie Syndrome’ but with a long-standing passion for Italy and all things Italian, we bought San Luigi in 2010; a unique and historical Tuscan residence which was commissioned by the illustrious Chigi family and designed by the renown Sienese architect Baldassare Tommaso Peruzzi (1481 – 1536), and have recently completed an exceptional restoration. Retaining original features and combining the best of Italian craftsmanship with luxurious and timeless furnishings and original artworks collected from our many trips from across the world.
Having lived overseas for the last decade, we are now happy to call this wonderful area of the Val d’Orcia in Southern Tuscany, ‘Home’ and delighted that we can share the experience with our guests, whom we are sure will come to love San Luigi, this region and its people, as much as we do, because quite simply, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful regions of the world.
The past few years have taken me through the thrills and turmoil’s of international real estate investments, property renovations, and the death of my beloved and much cherished parents. Whilst the official ‘day job’ provided me with a degree of discipline, when it came to project managing the restoration, I will confess there were times when the mentoring, coaching and people management skills acquired by burning the candle at both ends generally went out of the window when dealing with the bureaucracy in Tuscany.
However, in this case, the ends have truly justified all the blood, sweat and tears because we have San Luigi, which sits proudly on a hilltop surveying the diverse Tuscan landscape: to the South, the summit of Mount Amiata and the hilltop town of Montalcino are clearly visible; the moon-scape of the Crete Senesi lies to the East with undulating fields and wooded hills to the West. On a clear day, from the highest point on the estate, the towers of Siena can be seen glistening in the sunlight.
Situated within the historical estate of Castelnuovo Tancredi (which dates as far back as 1315), San Luigi’s location is ideally positioned for you to experience the beauty, culture, wine and gastronomy of Southern Tuscany. The medieval walled-town of Buonconvento with its restaurants and bars, shops selling local produce as well as a supermarket and railway station, is a short seven minute drive.
Buonconvento truly lives up to its name derived from the Latin ‘bonus conventus’ meaning ‘happy, fortunate community’. Located at the confluence of the Arbia and Ombrone rivers, on the strategically important Via Francigena and surrounded by rich fertile plains, Buonconvento has for centuries welcomed visitors en route to Rome, as it continues to do so today. Yet unlike some of its more well-known neighbours, the town still remains very much a place where Italians from across the Val d’Arbia live, shop, eat and congregate for the evening passeggiata and an aperitivo.
With a small medieval walled centro storico dating from at least the twelfth century, Buonconvento is recognized as ‘one of the most beautiful villages in Italy’, I Borghi più belli di Italia. The main street is lined with historic palazzi and Buonconvento also plays host to two museums, including the Sacred Art Museum exhibiting significant religious paintings from churches across the area.
In Buonconvento guests will find shops selling local produce including an excellent butcher and a bakery; a supermarket and numerous bars and restaurants. From the train station just two minutes walk from the centre; you can take the train to Siena and Florence.
Venturing out from Buonconvento, which is situated in the region known as the Crete Senesi (literally Sienese clays) noted for its dramatic landscape providing spectacular vistas all year round, you can visit numerous historical small towns and villages all within a 15-20 minute drive. From San Giovanni d’Asso, Montisi, and Chiusure close to the magnificent Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, to the Etruscan village of Murlo just a short 5 minutes drive from the estate, there is much to explore and enjoy whilst staying at San Luigi.
Montalcino and its famous Brunello vineyards is just 15 minutes away, whilst Siena and the hilltop towns of Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia, and the thermal baths at Bagno di Vignone are all accessible within 30 minutes.
Follow my Blog to discover more about our Journey and the characters of our ‘Italian Family”. Come and see ‘Tuscany with Affie’ and enjoy a high-end, luxury driven, authentic and unforgettable, Tuscan experience with absolute comfort and total privacy at Villa San Luigi Country Estate. More details are available on http://www.villasanluigi.com Come and see us and sample a slice of the Tuscan life for yourself, just imagine, sitting at villa san luigi with your closest friends / family and building memories which will last for a lifetime…………..
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