Carpe Diem Luxury Travel is one of the leading villa specialists and private-estate rental agencies in the world, with access […]

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Carpe Diem Luxury Travel is one of the leading villa specialists and private-estate rental agencies in the world, with access to the most exclusive, glamorous, and chicest properties available anywhere. Founded by director Marina Gratsos, Carpe Diem combines a deep understanding of the historical and cultural significance of properties with a deep appreciation of the needs and desires of its clients. Whether you are looking for maisons de charme in the heart of the countryside, impeccably restored private villas for family vacations, über-cool party houses, or large estates ideal for special occasions or family reunions; whatever your taste in design and decor; however you decide you want to spend your vacation—Carpe Diem can find the property that’s right for you.

Marina’s love-affair with France started many years ago, predictably with a Frenchman! As many can agree, there is no better way of learning to know, respect and love a country; its people, countryside, cities, language, history, culture, strengths, weaknesses and the myriad bounties it has to offer visitors. France of course is extraordinarily rich in all these. Marina’s network of social and professional contacts, and her collection of discreet and enchanting houses and chateaux throughout France, often belonging to friends or acquaintances, allow her to match them seamlessly with guests who are looking for the happiest and most enriching holidays possible.

Chefs, drivers, guides and special outings are easily organised and the staff, and often the owners themselves are delighted to welcome guests and encourage them to consider the house their home. To those seeking privacy and seclusion, those who want to feel part of the land, village or community where they are staying, have unforgettable adventures and discover new horizons or for those simply looking to relax, eat and drink well, spend time with each other, and re-connect with family, Carpe Diem provides the ideal house.

Bertrand Russell once said ‘Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.’ Providing first love may be outside even Carpe Diem’s competences, but the few gloomy guests we may have do indeed leave happier than when they arrived. So there can be no doubt that la dolce vita italiana is balm for the most troubled soul, and brings together friends and family in a way that few other destinations can claim to do. Where better to experience this than in the warm and welcoming atmosphere of a private house, a home away from home.

Marina’s network of friends, colleagues and service-providers gives her access to an unrivalled collection of private houses, villas and castles all over Italy, many of which are have limited representation on the open market. A hilltop castle in Tuscany with its own beach-house, a penthouse in a palazzo overlooking the Duomo in Florence, a little house in Trastevere for the perfect Roman Holiday (Gregory Peck not provided) truffle-hunting in Umbria, a Palladian villa in the Veneto, wine-tasting in the private cellar of a Count’s castle in Montalcino, a beautifully-restored farmhouse in Chianti, cooking-lessons in a villa near Parma, a 17th-century private palazzo on Lake Garda—the possibilities are endless and the experiences boundless.

A Hollywood scriptwriter client of ours told us that on departing from a villa in Chianti his little son hugged the cook around the knees, burst into tears and said he didn’t want to go home as he had never been so happy, her gelato was the best and could they please come back next year! There can be no greater reward for the guests, for the house and for us.

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