This post was produced in partnership with N2S Italia.
Founded by Tommaso Mardegan and Letizia Anzalotta, N2S Italia is a new luxury travel company based between London and Italy. It specializes in creating bespoke upscale experiences and events in Italy, from unforgettable vacations for a niche clientele to organizing villa rentals for corporate events, retreats and more.
The Italy Edit caught up with N2S to learn more about what sets this company apart.
You’ve both been working in the travel industry for several years. Why did you decide to launch on your own?
We launched N2S Italia to promote a new kind of travel experience in Italy. We’re deeply passionate about exploration and wanted the opportunity to share our vision and promote the people, places and experiences we really love.
We had already worked for 5 years in the travel industry together, and were close friends, so we knew we could join forces to create something new and exciting that shared Italy in a different light. The name N2S means from North to South, with no limits, and it has a personal meaning for us too. We’re both Italians who met at university in London and we represent northern and southern Italy: Tommaso is from Milan and Letizia is from Puglia.
The travel industry is a saturated place but you’re bringing a fresh vision to Italy. What sets N2S apart?
There are a lot of stereotypes about Italy and most travel companies are satisfied to keep selling packaged tours. But we want to show visitors Italy’s unrivaled heritage through unconventional experiences that are “out of the box”.
We were born in between the Millennial and Gen-Z generation, so we’re younger than many traditional luxury tour operators in Italy and we see this perspective as an asset. As the travel industry keeps evolving, we want to pave the way forward for a kind of tourism that is more sustainable, more authentic and more honest.
N2S believes 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. We’re committed to promoting real people and inaccessible places rather than speeding through the country to tick places off a bucket list.
Tell me a little more about your philosophy. What does it mean to promote 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.
How is luxury changing to become more sustainable?
The definition of luxury is changing fast and the pandemic only accelerated this process. Today factors like authenticity, sustainability and time are the “new” luxuries.
To us, sustainable travel goes beyond reducing plastic or having a low-carbon footprint. Travel is sustainable when it is purposeful and when it contributes to the local economy of “secondary” destinations which are off-the-beaten-path but not necessarily less beautiful. Staying in a villa rather than a hotel and taking your time to explore an area rather than taking a whirlwind tour of bucket-list destinations.
The future of luxury travel is not just seeing a beautiful place, but also contributing to the sustainable development of the destination and of the people you meet. Tourism made with purpose can change other people lives and you might be surprised by how it can change your life too! We think this transformation is the ultimate luxury.
What are the benefits of staying in a villa instead of a hotel?
A villa stay is the epitome of slow travel and something we really encourage our guests to consider. Our villa rentals are booked on a weekly basis – staying 7 nights in the same location allows you to relax, appreciate the beauty that surrounds you and enter in contact for real with the local community. When you speed through a destination, staying 2 nights, you’ll only visit two or three touristy highlights and won’t have the real Italian experience.
How do you see the future of travel?
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. Areas like Friuli Venezia Giulia, South-Tyrol and Abruzzo are underrated but offer wonderful authentic, 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) and 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.