Blog entries will be posted in the language in which they were written.
January 25th, 2010

Follow up on the 2010 European Conference in Rome, Italy!

Posted by Joan McGuigan


What do Brian and Joan Pepin McGuigan have in common with George Clooney?
We had the same private chauffeur! On Friday, January 22, Franko—who used to be Mr Clooney’s private driver at his Lake Como residence—picked us up at the train station in Florence for a drive of a lifetime. The 30 hours we spent in and around Florence were the highlights of our Rome Luxury Real Estate Conference.  We drove in Franko’s super refurbished Mercedes van through the Tuscan Hills, the heart and soul of Italy, to the largest private land holding in the country—4200 acres, 1700 hectares.  Vineyards and olive groves pattern the landscape. Dotting the hillsides are restored Casali farmhouse villas, each with its own mesmerizing glass tiled infinity-edge pool. This treasured property is Castello di Casole, the most romantic addition to the Timbers Resorts portfolio.
After settling us in the Resort’s ultra luxurious Tuscan Guest House (B & B), our charming and gracious hosts, Marina and Amy, wined and dined us with the best Chianti Classico and a authentic Tuscan seven course dinner at one of the privately owned Castelos. The following morning—after a delightful breakfast from Carina, our cook—our hosts took us on a mesmerizing tour of the villas and castles, nestled between the olive groves and vineyards and rolling Tuscany hillsides. Overlooking, but hidden from the private residences is an historic castle, soon to be completed into one of the greatest hotels on the continent—sold in 1/12 or 1/10 fractional ownership—with spa, chapel and many other amenities for the benefit of the members. A short drive from the mythic cities of Sienna, Florence, San Gimignano, and Montalcino, this historic resort will be a destination of choice for not only the rich and famous all over the world, but ordinary people like you and I, who want the best properties for a fraction of the cost.
Before returning to Rome, Franko dropped us off at the Palace Residence Club (sold in 1/8 fractional ownership) in Florence, with elegant studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom residences. Our host, Peter Kempf, whom we met in Rome at the LuxuryReal conference, gave us a tour of the Palazzo Tornabuoni, a Florentine Palazzo home. The Palazzo Tornabuoni is a rare opportunity to live amongst the history, architecture and culture of Renaissance Florence while enjoying the finest comforts and amenities of Four Seasons perfection. The Palazzo Tornabuoni overlooks the Duomo in the most sought-after, culturally-rich neighborhood in Florence. The diverse and rich elements created over the past five centuries have been transformed into the Palazzo; interweaving centuries of statuary, mosaics, frescoes, inlaid stone and elaborate stucco work with handcrafted furnishings, state of the art entertainment systems and custom-designed Boffi kitchens.
Is there any better way to enjoy the culture, beauty, and elegance of Tuscany than through its real estate, architecture and history? This 2010 LRE Rome conference will be in our memories for many years to come. We want to share as much of this rare experience with you, our clients, friends and colleagues. We also wish to thank Franko for his superb driving skills, his candid humour, his deep love of the beloved Tuscany heritage and especially for inspiring me with the title for this blog.
Brian and Joan McGuigan
McGuigan Pepin Realty
Westmount, Montreal, Quebec

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