Let me introduce us
We are the Norton’s, a British family, Chris and Nicola with our two girls, Kelly and Gemma. When we first arrived we quickly became known locally as ‘gli inglesi’, the English, just because we stuck out as the only ones around. We had no building experience, couldn’t speak the language, had never worked in hospitality, had to design a hotel and had two young children to explain ourselves to as we could no longer afford to buy more Barbies. The locals shook their heads and took bets on how fast we would leave. Yet somehow, in 2005, we opened our doors and never looked back.
I’m not sure we were completely sane when we decided in 2003 to buy a 400-year-old wreck but there was a certain something that compelled us to turn our backs on our corporate selves and throw ourselves headlong into a part of rural Italy we couldn’t even pronounce. And although the buying of our Italian dream felt like water flowing downhill, turning it into something habitable felt quite the opposite.
Making a Difference
We were determined to create a place we would want to stay. Since then, we have won numerous awards, been mentioned in newspapers and magazines across the world, hosted royalty and rock stars and yet our proudest moments have come from the unexpected cards, mails and thank you’s, realising we have made a difference in someone else’s life.
La Villa has finally reached the point where the gardens have grown and the wine cellar is fully stocked with old Barolos and Barbarescos. I am still hugely hands-on and although you don’t see me with paint in my hair quite as often it’s hard to quit with the gardening gloves. It has been an amazing adventure and our first guests still share stories of the early crazy days with us.
It is difficult not to love La Villa. I still stop and marvel at the sunsets though I’ve given up trying to capture them on film. There is a certain peacefulness here that makes it hard to leave and a pleasure to return to. I hope you enjoy your time here as much as we do.
Dedicated to Chris, husband, partner and dad in our crazy adventure, who died in 2018.