In this latest edition of How We Started, we met Katharina Allès Trauttmansdorff of Trust&Travel and, who shares the enchanting and lively story of how working for a vineyard created the roots for an entirely different Italian venture: the creation of one of Italy’s top collections of luxury villa rentals.


Last night, I managed to break into a cocktail party where I met a slightly eccentric English aristocrat:

– Catharina! Posh name! With a C or with a K?

– With a K. Or with a C, I don’t mind, have your pick!

– Well… I’ll take the K. And, if I may, what is your curriculum vitae, Katharina with a K?

My curriculum vitae ?! Well…  I don’t remember how I worked my way out of it, but this gentleman’s question gave me an idea. So here you are : this is my curriculum vitae. Or, I should say, my curriculum Italiae!

In my twenties, I used to work in a wine-growing estate in Tuscany. One day, its proud owner came up to me and said: “As you know, Katharina, part of my estate is now vacant, and sadly dormant. I would like to bring it back to life; open its doors to nice people – travellers, vacationers, friends – and share with them the life we have the privilege to enjoy here. Do you think you could help me, pretty young lady, to carry through this wild venture?”

We stared at each other for a few seconds and… “It’s a deal! Let’s get down to work!”

After helping this spirited Tuscan to refurbish and decorate his vacant estate – which in itself was an outstanding piece of the Italian historical heritage, – I went out and found his first clients. Instantaneous success and word of mouth did the rest. Many other estate owners in the area called on me to restore and convert – with the “wise traveller”  in mind and without altering their quintessence – the houses, villas, castles, farms and fortresses situated on their lands.

That’s how Trust&Travel  was born, an agency I founded more than 20 years ago and which I have been managing since then. Today, it serves as link between 120 exceptional properties and the wayfaring souls seeking to be at one with Italy.

With Excellence Villas, I took up a brand-new challenge. This latest venture will enable us to cater for an affluent clientele interested in world-class luxury residences in Italy.

Italy at its very best. Hand-picked, thoroughly inspected world-class villas or city apartments. Outstanding locations. Impeccable service. Personalized attention. State-of-the-art amenities. Guaranteed privacy. Warmth, hospitality and authenticity. Reliability and trust.

My team and I have intimate knowledge of each listing which we visit regularly, and we work closely with the owners to maintain quality control.

The first time I set foot on Italian soil, I was 15, and the passion has not in the least withered since. I have created Trust&Travel and to share with you what I know and what I treasure about this unique country.

Buon viaggio, Katharina

Have your own magical experience in Italy with Katharina’s help by contacting Trust&Travel and here.