DESTINATION MASTERS
Italy Charme & the Secret to the Italian Lifestyle
XO Private Interview

Italy Charme loves sharing fascinating stories of local people, farmers, winemakers, and artisans, a new generation will help ensure knowledge and continuity of the uniqueness of the Italian lifestyle for this reason. Italy Charme is investing a large part of its energy to protect the historic identity and to promote it around the Globe. They love to communicate the beauty and an unforgettable Italian lifestyle always following the highest luxury standard. Moreno Moretti, the Founder of this inspiring company, walks us through their philosophy, their story and plans for the future.

Both travel and Italy have been a constant focus throughout your life. What motivated you to set-up your latest venture, Italy Charme?

I started this business 10 years ago in a region called Le Marche, where I am originally from. I was a gastronomic tour guide in charge of creating and developing the products and making the sales among many other things.

It was a jack-of-all-trades role but this is one of the challenges you face when you set up a brand new business. I have such great memories from those days, I felt like I was a child learning to walk, and of course, I fell down so many times. However, each time I stood up more sure about the direction I was taking.

My goal before I started the business was to travel around the globe but without forgetting my land's DNA and our authenticity. My idea at the beginning was to showcase the most authentic places, the story of our people, and to support local small businesses. It wasn't simple to maturate this idea and it took 10 years approximately. It was very challenging a decade ago to materialize this idea as my region was new to the luxury travel industry.

I moved around the Sibillini Mountains immersing myself in diverse culinary experiences to learn the local secrets, and sharing my journey with international TV and Famous chefs such as Heston Blumenthal. After I saw overwhelmingly positive feedback about my idea, I reached the conclusion that if I wanted to live my dream I had to expand and sell the rest of my country in the same way that I had discovered the unknown region as Le Marche. That was how Italy Charme was born.
"My idea at the beginning it was to showcase the most authenticity places, the story of our people, and to support local small businesses" - Moreno Moretti
With an incredible number of players out there, what makes Italy Charme stand out from the crowd?

Italy is an important destination for many aspects, with a very unique landscape and a very complex one at the same time. My mission to develop my business concept was primarily to select an interesting story. The story of a small business, with the courage of the Italian people and the unity of their families. The power of storytelling should not be undermined as it provides the tool to communicate a philosophy, to determine the right traveller that is interested to explore genuinely and looks to experience authenticity.

We love to share people's stories and support small family businesses because they are the ambassadors of the beauty of Italy and its unique products. For example, a local perfume maker in Venice can teach a traveller about the history behind the essences of perfume all the way back to the times of Marco Polo. Italy has been the land of inspiration for many writers, filmmakers, and artists and it will continue to be a place of inspiration long after the pandemic subsides. Italy will make a comeback with even more strength to create and inspire the next generation

We are different from other players in the way we do things at Italy Charme, we take a new approach when it comes to the product and we always prioritize the value we are bringing to the client, and of course to our local businesses, artisans, etc. They are our guardians and they are the best ambassadors of Italy Charme's product, if we don’t protect this Italy and the world would be at a loss.

My mission is to provide authentic quality experiences to travellers that want something more than a package holiday. Travellers that want to learn and get involved in something more original, to become part of a community. The client donates not just their money, but their time, that is the most important of things… We always do our very best to reach our client's expectations and make sure that they never forget the connections they made. 

We want to share the stories of everyday people, who through sacrifice and passion preserve the enormous intrinsic value of their culture.
"We want to share the stories of everyday people who through sacrifice and passion preserve the enormous intrinsic value of their culture"- Moreno Moretti
Your company is based in London. What is the main reason behind that choice?

I lived in London after my university years and I always thought that to be an international company you needed to be in the right place to connect with your target market.

That said, although I learned to appreciate the different aspects of other destinations when I lived in places like London and New York, my heart always remains in Italy.

Italy Charme offers a wide range of attractive services. Among them is the rental of luxury villas and ... an entire Italian village. What should one expect?

We offer a wide variety of travel inspiration options, which we customize to each client's expectations.  For example, we offer the magical experience of exploring Venice by Kayak, or enjoying a workshop on how to build a traditional gondola.

Yes, we have our portfolio of luxury villas but we love also to provide different types of Italian accommodation. You can rent a local Medieval Village and live as local for example, or you can rent a contemporary monastery to have a full meditation experience and live like a monk, with all of the modern comforts of course.
"Italy is the land of inspiration"
Which trends have you identified recently that are reshaping your business?

The trend is to approach a more transformational travel product and a renaissance travel concept.

How would you describe your ideal guests? Which are the main geographical regions they originate from?

Our target markets are America, Northern Europe, and before Covid, Asian countries such as Singapore, Philippines, etc. Our ideal guests are healthy people, open-minded travellers interested in exploring their surroundings in a luxurious way but dedicating quality time to getting to know the culture and the people of the country.

What does the word 'experiential' mean to you and which role does it play in your overall business?

Experiential is the main concept of my business model, Italy is the land of inspiration and thanks to our culture and history we aspire to share this inspiration with our travellers through personal experiences.

How do you see Italy Charme develop over the next five to ten years? Do you have any specific plans or directions that you wish to take with the company?

I strive to work for fun and pleasure, to satisfy my dream, and to make people happy while supporting local businesses - this is my mission in life. I consider myself to be a Renaissance entrepreneur, I will measure the success I achieve by the quality of connections I'm able to build up and develop from now to the next 5 years. The most important thing for me is my personal growth and facing the challenges that destiny places in front of me.
"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Wayne Dyer
Should you be asked to identify and describe one truly extraordinary experience that perfectly defines your company, which one would it be?

In a small village in Sicily, close to Siracusa, there is still one local that knows and explains the origin of the ice business. Walking with this interesting man and exploring the cave where the local people use to preserve and sell the ice is a truly impressive experience.

Another person that truly impressed with his knowledge and passion, is the owner of Caffe Sicilia in Noto. He is considered the most influential pastry chef in the world. This amazing establishment has been in the family for four generations and is still among the greatest, the quality of ingredients and the gourmet experience are beyond amazing.

There's no doubt that you have a most inspiring quote to share that you witnessed in recent years. Let's hear it!

My favorite quote has always been "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Wayne Dyer
Yvan Vermeesch
                          
A Belgian by birth, Yvan Vermeesch grew up across Africa before heading to the Caribbean followed by the stunning city of Prague before calling the Mediterranean island of Mallorca home. Always looking to innovate across the board and with a clear penchant for everything experiential in travel, Yvan Vermeesch takes great pride in connecting the finest players in bespoke travel around the globe.
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