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August families

Anne and Bart

This Netherlands-based family indulges in the simple pleasure of home cooking as they share the joy of al fresco dining.

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“Good food, good wine, good conversations…”

For many homeowners, delving into a region’s culinary scene is one of the greatest joys of travelling. For Dutch homeowners Anne and Bart, spending time in their Tuscan home with their four children has opened up the simple pleasure of cooking and sharing a meal together as a family. From preparing a delectable pasta vongole to discovering their home’s ‘hidden’ wine cellar, this August family is indulging in the delights of la dolce vita – with a sublime Tuscan view.

Here, they share with us how August is strengthening family bonds through their love of good food.

Anne and Bart, August Homeowners in their Signature Collection home

Could you share a little bit about yourselves and your family?

Well, we’ve been together for 35 years, happily, with four children – three girls and one boy, aged 19 to 25. We live in the Netherlands, and we like to travel quite a bit. Before that, we also spent some time living in the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

Can you talk us through your journey to August?

We started looking for a second home a few years ago, in 2018, but we couldn’t decide whether it should be Mallorca, South of France or Tuscany. Then, we saw an advert for August; it ticked three of our favourite locations in one Collection.

What made you choose an August Collection over a second home? 

We liked the idea of sharing something, instead of owning solo. We’d already tried it before with friends, and felt comfortable with the idea. Sharing a property makes so much more sense than having it sit empty for 80% of the year; houses can feel a bit ‘dead’ when there’s nobody living in them. With August, you also don’t have to worry about having it taken care of – you know you won’t arrive to find the grass overgrown.

It’s nice that more families can enjoy a home, too, and it made more sense for our budget. An August Collection allows us to experience more space, luxury and diversity than our budget would have otherwise allowed.

“We love to cook. We make a nice dinner, then spend all evening eating and being outside together as a family.”

You’ve spent a lot of time in your Tuscan home, can you tell us what you love about it?

The place is beautiful. It has a nice big pool, it’s in a remote setting up the hill and there’s plenty of space. It’s a very nice home to spend quality time as a family – big enough for you to invite partners and whatnot – and enjoy typical Italian evenings, cooking and sharing a meal together outside.

When you’re in Tuscany, what does a summer evening look like?

We love to cook, and our kids love cooking, too. We make a nice dinner, then spend all evening eating and being outside together as a family. Good food, good wine, good conversations. We did annoy the neighbours once, because the music was a little loud... We like to dance!

The family enjoying warm evenings on their Tuscan terrace

You love cooking together; who do you think is the better chef?

Bart [says Anne], he likes to cook a nice piece of meat. My kids [says Bart] are very good cooks, and not just the cooking but the presentation, too. They make very sophisticated dishes, then present them beautifully, with flowers on top and everything.

Do you like to cook with local ingredients? Where do you source them?

Honestly, there’s great fresh produce in the local supermarkets. We’re yet to stumble across the perfect farmer’s market, but we’ve found very good olive oil in the local wineries, and – of course – there are great places to source local wines nearby.

We discovered the wine cellar in our Tuscan home last year, by accident! We said, “Oh what’s this door?”, and then we found this beautiful cellar where you could hold wine tastings or even parties in the evenings. We haven’t done that yet, though. Every homeowner has their own labelled section of the cellar, where you can store 15 to 20 bottles of your favourite wine, which is very cool.

Do you have any favourite dishes that you’ve made?

It has to be some of the pasta. Our daughter can really cook! She also seems to find great ingredients; she makes pasta vongole with the local seafood – which we can’t find in Holland – and typical Italian aubergine and vegetable dishes you can’t get back home.

When I [Bart] step in, it’s all T-bone steak! We’re not a very vegan family, I’m afraid.

Al fresco dining in their Signature Collection home

How do you discover the best local eateries and food markets when travelling?

It’s luck, really. We found a very nice place in Lucca but it was just by chance; we toured quite a bit, wandered around and discovered a great vineyard. It’s much nicer to discover things that way than by reading it in a book. We like unexpected discoveries, and we’ve just ‘bumped into’ a few very nice places – especially in the Cotswolds.

We also like the recommendations from other co-owners. It’s a nice touch, and we now have a WhatsApp group, so we can get an insider’s scoop on what’s good and what’s not. We like the sense of connection that builds.

“Every homeowner has their own labelled section of the wine cellar, where you can store 15 to 20 bottles of your favourite wine.”


Have you been on any great wine tastings in Tuscany?

There are plenty of places around, and we’d never say no to one that looks really nice. This is slightly off topic, but what’s great about Italy is that you’re always very close to the sea. You can go and spend a day on the loungers, enjoying lots of nice restaurants. When we’re in Tuscany, we always spend at least one day at the beach.

Do you have any “must visit” places in terms of local restaurants, markets or vineyards?

We wouldn’t like to say where the best places are, because then they wouldn’t feel so special – insider tips are insider tips! No, we did discover a very nice winery in Tuscany – Fattoria di Fubbiano in nearby Capannori.

What’s your favourite thing about your August Collection?

We like that the houses are all unique and representative of the August style. Each home is charming and authentically renovated. They’re not over the top, they just ‘breathe’ the locations they’re set in. Tuscany has traditional Tuscan stone work, the South of France feels very specific to that region, and so does the Cotswolds. We like that the Signature Collection feels quite laid-back and cosy, too.

The Cotswolds home in the Signature Collection

The South of France home in the Signature Collection

Do you have any upcoming trips planned as a family?

We’re going to be spending a few weeks with friends in Tuscany, then a couple of weeks with the kids – which breaks things up nicely. We try to have an overlapping week, where all the kids can come and be together. It’s so nice to have space for everyone – we can cook one evening, then they can cook another. It’s good for our relationships with our kids, and it helps us cherish our friendships, too.

Find out more about home ownership with August

Exploring the gastronomic delights of a region is just one of the benefits of joining a Collection. At August, we ensure that every property ticks every box – from exciting culinary scenes to idyllic locations and impeccable interior design – as well as taking care of all the maintenance to ensure a zero-hassle stay. All you need to do is arrive and enjoy. For more information about how to unlock a truly European lifestyle, speak to our expert Advisory Team today.

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