Dear *|FIRSTNAME|*, Tuscan gems your clients will thank you for introducing them to!

            Just Back From:
Tuscany and Florence


Why is it that the moment I get back from yet another epic trip to Italy I just want to get on a plane and head right back? Well, yes, it’s because Italy is one of the most fascinating places on earth but also I believe, it’s because I get to travel to Italy’s very best hotels and destinations while also having the privilege of great company.

On my latest trip to Italy (my third this year) I lead a group of truly warm, professional and good humored travel advisors on a journey through Tuscany. We all met not in Tuscany but on the Lazio coastline for a kickoff lunch at the venerable La Posta Vecchia. Marco Filippi, the hotel’s General Manager, as always was a wonderful host and he regaled the group with stories that abound about La Posta Vecchia and its very interesting history. Marco is a true raconteur.

After lunch we headed to Hotel Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole for a two night stay. Alberto Pirozzini, Il Pellicano’s General Manager and one of the nicest hosts in our Collection greeted the group and made sure all were well ensconced in this slice of heaven. Before dinner the azure, crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean beckoned for a refreshing swim. The group’s highlights consisted of the gourmet restaurant, the wine tasting at the nearby Monteverro Vineyards and the exquisitely renovated accommodations at Il Pellicano.

Nothing could have prepared the group (though I knew) for the WOW factor of arriving at Borgo Pignano near Volterra. Luciano Lusardi and his team are spectacular hosts and make each person feel as though they are the only guest on the estate. This “Tuscan Haven” is made up of 750 acres organically farmed and sustainably maintained. At Borgo Pignano one enters and truly feels the authentic expression of the Tuscan countryside. This is not a “Disney” version of Tuscany…. this is the real deal.

At Borgo Pignano we enjoyed truffle hunting, soap making, wine tasting, bee keeping, horseback riding, swimming…. all within the estate. And this is just the beginning of experiences at Borgo Pignano. Oh yes, and the food??? Magnificent!!!! And healthy as well, most grown on the estate including the wheat for the pasta. Borgo Pignano’s own wine is lip smacking delicious and was a great compliment to the bistecca alla Fiorentina we had grilled on the fireplace. I would need a lot more space than permitted in this article to wax on about Borgo Pignano but needless to say the group was swooning as we rode the Tuscan pine lined road out of Borgo Pignano.

How lucky were we that we checked out of a truly magical resort in Tuscany and 45 minutes later we checked into another. Enter Castel Monastero…. almost right out of a movie, this Leading Hotel of the World still embodies exactly what it has been for centuries, a medieval hamlet, now a fascinating luxury hotel, surrounded by the Chianti landscape. I’ve been staying at Castel Monastero for years and one of my thrills is to see how travel advisors (and sometimes my wife if she is with me) react to the many layers of wonderment that reveal themselves during a stay. Graziella Arba the General Manager and Francesca Nuvolone the Sales Director, delight in provoking spontaneous expressions of sheer glee. Our group was particularly thankful for the welcome massages provided at the sybaritic spa and the escorted tour of spellbinding Siena which is only 20 minutes away. For me, partaking of authentic Tuscan cuisine in the hotel’s massive wine cellars is always a treat.

During these days the group and I made a stop at Torciano Vineyards in San Gimignano. Torciano not only make very fine wine but they also make tasting wine a real experience. It doesn’t matter what level of wine connoisseur or novice one is, you are most welcomed at Torciano vineyards and you will have an excellent time. Emanuele Giachi had us tasting soooo many wines and feasting on recipes from his family’s cook book. Couples, families, and small groups alike, the Giachi family knows how to look after their guests. To top off our visit to Torciano vineyards, Emanuele took us to his family’s private tower in San Gimignano. Yes, their own private tower at which they can do tastings and private events. Thank you Emanuele.

On to Viesca Toscana, a 200 acre estate home to 7 private villas plus 14 inviting suites. Once the country home of Wanda Ferragamo, the legendary head of this distinguished family, Today Viesca welcomes families seeking the privacy of an exclusive villa with the services and amenities of a luxury hotel. Think of Viesca as your private villa with pool with a concierge and a “bottega” where you can buy high quality food and wine, and if you wish, enjoy a simple meal. My personal treat here was watching the “light bulb” appear above each advisor’s head, as they absorbed how well Viesca would work for specific clients they have. Rossana Biga is the warm and lovely manager at Viesca ably assisted by Maria Ventrone. A welcome lunch was hosted by the elegant and gracious Vittoria Ferragamo who expounded on what the estate means to her family.

On the way to Florence the group stopped at The Mall Firenze for a bit of shopping. We all received our “My Luxury Wallet” giving us access to the VIP lounge, a cocktail at the Gucci Café, additional discounts and special access to the VAT Refund desk. We explored what seemed all 45 luxury shops and I will only speak for myself but I feel very good about the damage done to the credit card, very good indeed. The Mall hosted us to a beautiful lunch at their new restaurant Toscanino and off we went to Florence, just 30 minutes away.

In Florence the group split into three hotels; Hotel L’Orologio, Hotel Santa Maria Novella and the Sina Villa Medici, all very near each other in the historical center of Florence. First we toured the Sina Villa Medici and were hosted to cocktails and dinner by Lorenzo Vivalda, the hotel’s genial General Manager. The advisors clearly understood how well families fit into the Villa Medici, from the ample connecting rooms, to the terraces with views to the inviting garden with pool. We love the Sina Villa Medici!

The following day we gathered at the Hotel Santa Maria Novella for a very special day. Claudio Delli, Managing Director of WTB Hotels and one of our favorite hoteliers had made arrangements for the group to tour the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiori, the Duomo Museum, the Church of Santa Reparata, the enthralling crypt and restoration atelier just next door. All escorted by an incredible knowledgably guide and best of all, skipping of the lines. How is this possible? Through a special partnership that WTB Hotels can provide, offering the best private access to the Duomo and it’s all its fascinating aspects in a time saving and comfortable manner. Even for someone like me that has visited the Duomo countless times, THIS was truly a special visit. We shared a copious and yummy lunch and toasted a truly memorable day. The afternoon was left free for shopping and I headed off to my favorite antique shops. More damage.

In the evening, Claudio Delli and his (trying to find the right word because exceptional is too underwhelming….. I’m going with miracle workers) team hosted a farewell dinner at one of Claudio’s favorite Florentine trattorias. More bistecca please!  We laughed, we ate, we drank and we laughed some more. Claudio is one of the most gracious hosts you can ever have and we love working with WTB Hotels.

So this group of practical strangers, over nine extraordinary days and nights, bonded into a traveling troupe that will stay connected and continue to share experiences for years to come. The reunion is already being planned. How terribly privileged are we to have these experiences, these connections, these memories and these friendships!

All my very best,

Marcelo D. Vazquez
President & CEO, Waterstone

   Facebook: @WaterstoneCollection      Instagram: @Waterstone_Collection


Lynne Partridge
Vice President
Marcelo Vazquez
President & CEO
Ashley Smith
Director of Sales
                                              OUR COLLECTION  
Hassler Roma Il Palazzetto, Rome The First Hotel Roma Arte
La Posta Vecchia Hotel, Palo Laziale   The First Hotel Roma Dolce
Borgo Pignano, Volterra Hotel Byron, Forte dei Marmi Castel Monastero, Siena 
Hotel Il Pellicano, Porto Ercole Viesca Toscana (New!)  
Hotel Balestri Hotel Garibaldi Blu Hotel L'Orologio
Hotel Santa Maria Novella SINA Villa Medici The Mall Luxury Outlets - Firenze
Palazzo Seneca, Norcia  SINA Brufani, Perugia  
Il Melograno La Peschiera Cala Ponte Hotel
  Veneto / Venice  
SINA Centurion Palace Hotel L'Orologio L’Orologio Apartments
  SINA The Gray, Milan  
  Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa  
  Royal Hotel Sanremo  
  The Mall Luxury Outlets - Sanremo  
  Forte Village Resort  
  Hotel La Perla, Corvara, Alta Badia  
  Destination Management Companies  
  Travel2Italy by Travelive (New!)  
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  Royal Garden Hotel, London  
  Hotel Daniel, Paris  
  Hotel Splendide Royal, Paris (New!)  
  Château du Coudreceau, Loire Valley  
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The Fitzwilliam Dublin The Fitzwilliam Belfast The K Club, Kildare
Straffan House, Kildare Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa, Killarney  
  Hotel Splendide Royal, Lugano (New!)  
  Porto Zante Villas & Spa (New!)  
  Travel2Greece by Travelive (DMC - New!)  
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Metropolitan Touring Ecuador Galapagos Hotel Finch Bay Isabela II Yacht, Galapagos 
La Pinta Yacht, Galapagos Santa Cruz II, Galapagos  
Metropolitan Touring Peru Country Club Hotel Lima, Lima  
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  REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort, Nusa Dua, Bali