Meet Tom Mardegan & Leti Anzalotta, N2S Italia, London
N2S Italia designs bespoke upscale experiences and events from “North to South” Italy with a brand new and hands-on approach. For the two young founders, Tommaso from Milan and Letizia from Puglia, the definition of luxury includes authenticity and sustainability. We sit down with them to discover more about N2S motto, their travel philosophy and their best and worst travel memories.
Could you tell us three things about you both?
- Northern Italian
- Beauty driven
- Always looking for the next adventure
- Southern Italian
- Rooted to the traditions
- Kind soul looking for peacefulness
What is the story behind N2S Italia?
After 5 years in the industry, we had the need and the ambition to open our own business in order to finally promote our very own travel vision and philosophy.
Describe your philosophy when it comes to travel?
We believe in the slow travel philosophy: taking the time to really savor an experience and having the space to forge a deeper exchange with Italy and Italians rather than speeding through the country to tick mainstream places off a bucket list.
This is the new luxury in travel, that is changing fast and the pandemic only accelerated this process. Today factors like authenticity, sustainability and time are the “new” luxuries.
Moreover, slow is also synonymous of sustainability. Travel is sustainable when it is purposeful and when it contributes to the local economy of “secondary” destinations or places that are off-the-beaten-path but not necessarily less beautiful.
On your website, you mention you are committed to promote real people and inaccessible places. How would you define real people and inaccessible places?
By real people, we mean local Italians – full of soul, talent and character. Italy has beautiful landscapes but it’s the people who made it an exceptional country. They’re the foundation of Italian excellence.
Some of our partners include the proud owner of a boutique winery in Tuscany with a passion for astronomy and architecture – each wine is dedicated to a constellation and the tasting takes place into a converted chapel. Or a Venetian Countess who will host you for tea in her 16th-century palazzo overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice, surrounded by works of art she has collected during her trips around the world. Or a writer who converted an ancient stone quarry into a cozy “nest” overlooking Lake Como where you can enjoy dining al fresco while learning about legends of the famous lake.
By inaccessible places, we mean unique places that you would not necessarily be able to find on a travel guide. Places that are off-the-beaten-path, so they haven’t lost their local flair. Places that aren’t overcrowded because people don’t know about them and places that aren’t normally open to the public.
Inaccessible places can be the private island you can only reach by helicopter, or an offshore villa accessible exclusively by private boat. “Inaccessible” doesn’t necessarily mean difficult to access physically or cost-prohibitive – it could even be a hidden corner or neighborhood that only locals know about or a place you can only access thanks to our relationships on the ground.
What’s the key to create the perfect italian itinerary?
For us there are 3 fundamental keys to create the perfect itinerary:
Contacts – Creativity – Knowledge
Our goal is to include even in the most classic itinerary something unconventional and unexpected, mixing some ever-greens that always attract the client and convince him to book with some unknown places or experiences.
An itinerary is perfect when is unexcepted. If you know already what to expect from the trip you are going to make, then it’ll be ordinary and not exceptional.
Obviously, to execute this successfully, you need tons of local contacts to open doors – creativity to come up always with the craziest idea – in dept knowledge about the destination in order not to copy what every one provides already.
Which part of Italy do you think is still unknown?
Abruzzo – Friuli Venezia Giulia – some small islands such as the Tremiti Islands or Linosa.
How do you think this pandemic has influenced the way we travel?
Thanks to the Pandemic we will see a return to traveling with a purpose. Like during the Grand Tour era when people traveled to discover new cultures and learn new languages, modern-day travelers are eager to discover new ways of living and seeing.
There will also be a renewed appreciation for nature experiences and remote destinations, and with 20 diverse regions, Italy has a lot to offer including wonderful outdoors experiences that we are eager to share with our clients.
People are also seeking wellness when they travel, as an antidote to the technology that is keeping our minds always busy. More travelers will be looking for JOMO (the joy of missing out) rather than FOMO (the fear of missing out).
Ultimately, we will see more bespoke and segmented travel which is why we’re dedicated to creating tailor-made experiences for each of our clients.
More travelers will be looking for JOMO (the joy of missing out) rather than FOMO (the fear of missing out).
Your best and worst travel memory?
Best: overnight in an open treehouse in the middle of the South African bush covered by a sky full of stars and falling asleep with the wildlife sounds
Worst: when I was about 16 yo in India and had the brilliant idea to get street food at a train station and got food poisoned – spent two days between bed and toilet.
Best: Sahara desert with my family. We had dinner under the stars and I can still remember the soft wind of the desert and the smell of the spices. We slept in a tent that night and I don’t think I have ever seen such a dramatic sunrise.
Worst: a thunderstorm in Australia while I was in the smallest aircraft ever in the route from Ayers Rock to Sydney.
Your favourite experience to do in Italy?
Sailing Expedition in the Aeolian Island, admiring Stromboli erupting in front of you at night
Sharing stories with locals – Meeting for example Corrado, the proud owner of a Masseria in Puglia, he will tell you the story of his family, bring you around the estate, telling you all the secrets (like an escape tunnel that was built in the 1500). You are there to taste the olive oil but everything comes first.
Your favourite hotel in the world?
Palais Amani, Morocco Your favourite restaurant in the world?
Lo Scoglio da Tommaso, Nerano
Ristorante La Marina, Ponza
Any wishes for 2022?
Easy one! End of Pandemic + a couple of talented new N2S team members so that we can breathe.