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Anne Vortman

About emigrating and dreaming

I would like to introduce you to the host Anne Vortmann, also known as Annie. She has been working and living in the since March 2019 Ninety in Bibbiena, Italy. She describes herself as a hotel manager, the host and the face of the hotel. She is the person to whom all guests can always come with questions and requests, not that this would be different with other employees, but Annie is usually at the Novanta from morning until after dinner and takes care of the guests lovingly. Annie tries to entertain guests while managing her team, juggling tasks while still finding time to share a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with the occasional guest. She loves getting to know the guests. Also because she was already in contact with them during the booking and other inquiries before the stay.


From Mexico, via New York and Amsterdam to Tuscany

Annie lived in Germany for the last time in 2011 and completed her training as a hotel manager there. She quickly realized that she was drawn to far away places. So first of all, back to Mexico, which she got to know and love as an exchange student at the age of 16. She lived six exciting years in Mexico and worked, among other things, as an English teacher at a primary school. Until she broke a vertebra in a bad accident in 2015 and this stroke of fate made her question her life: Am I still happy here? The answer was: no. She packed her things and fulfilled a dream: to live in New York one day. She worked as a waiter there for six months and, in addition to the good food, enjoyed the big city life.

And as is often the case with dreams: when a dream comes true, new ones come. Annie wanted to run her own small hotel. This desire eventually brought her back to Europe. She moved to Amsterdam and completed an International Fast Track degree in Hospitality Administration and Management in just 1,5 years. An internship then brought her to the Novanta. From the very beginning she was fascinated by how the special and at the same time relaxed hospitality is lived in the Novanta. Annie remembers the moment when she stood on the mountain that overlooks the village of Borgo di Gello and thought "wow, this is it, this is where I want to stay". 


La Dolce Vita – but only 90%

The Novanta was originally planned as a pop-up hotel by four Dutch people, which was only supposed to last 90 days. The 90 days have now become six years, although the motto "holiday with guests" has not changed. Guests are invited to be an active part of the hotel. We really want them to feel at home, which means that they aren't handed wine, they get it themselves from the honesty bar, pour it and enjoy it. "Novanta 90“ does not stand for perfection, but for 90% of everything that the hosts want and can give. The property never sees itself as 100% complete and finished as there is always something to do or things to change again.

For the employees, too, Novanta is an “employer” that never gets boring. Annie thrives on being able to do multiple things at the same time because she doesn't like routine. She needs variety, contact with guests and not just working in front of the PC. So it can happen that the guests see Annie cleaning the main house.

Exactly these type of hospitality lives Annie and wants to teach her to others. Even if she first had to learn it herself as a former perfectionist. She knows how to be authentic as a hostess and is happy to pass this on. Over the years, she has noticed how happy her guests are to help out and literally lend a hand, for example when a new delivery of wine is waiting to be carried into the wine cellar. But she also knows that the concept behind Novanta is not for all guests. She therefore welcomes criticism and new ideas.


Time in the fresh air and sustainable holidays

On her free days, Annie loves to spend time in nature, whether it's yoga, hiking or playing tennis, which she has recently rediscovered. She finds out again and again that she really likes mountains, but she lacks the element of water. Maybe it's because she grew up as a northerner on German waters or the fact that she's always lived close to the water in some way. So whenever she finds time, she is drawn to the sea, sometimes just for a few days. She always tries to spend her holidays in new places, outside of the Tuscany. When she's not on home leave in Germany or the Netherlands (with her partner's family), she enjoys traveling around Europe. Due to the corona pandemic, she has been traveling mainly in Italy in recent years, such as in Matera, in the southern region of Basilicata, where she was particularly impressed by the olive groves. But also camping on the island of Elba was a wonderful experience.


Risotto and a glass of wine

Incidentally, when she travels, she thinks the culinary offer is the most important thing. She is a self-confessed risotto lover, as well as a big fan of Melanzane alla Parmigiana. A good sip of wine should never be missing when travelling. Visits to restaurants are therefore always an integral part of their trips. When she visits other hotels, it is very important to her to know where the food they serve comes from. She loves it when accommodations cultivate their own gardens and the food comes fresh to the table. As a flexitarian, it is important for her to know where the meat she eats comes from. The Novanta, for example, sources meat from a neighboring farmer and tends its own vegetable garden.

For her, sustainable holidays start with food, but also play a role in simple things like proper waste separation. She is also a big fan of keeping old things during construction or renovation or at least reconstructing them true to previous models. This also applies to the preservation of cultures and traditions that constitute authenticity for them.

Fabrizio the neighbor

A feeling of home and the will to change

She describes all the places where she has lived so far as home. Of course also Cloppenburg, the city where she grew up. In the end, it's not about a place, it's about her family and friends. So she carries her home around with her. Although there is one thing that she particularly misses about Germany: white asparagus, which she had to do without both in Mexico and now in Italy.

And the already mentioned life on the water. Speaking of water: she fell in love with the pool at the Novanta. She often catches herself staring at the pool, stopping for a moment and realizing how happy she is; how lucky she is to work in such a place with such a great international team. In her opinion, happiness comes from within. Only those who are at peace with themselves can be really happy, she thinks. A recent moment of happiness was when her boyfriend organized her a birthday party with Live Band, her Italian friends and the Novanta team.

team at the Novanta

A TIP FOR Emigrating

If she may give a tip for those who are also toying with the idea of ​​emigrating: It takes a strong will. It doesn't work without him. It's best not to think about it much at all, but to focus more on doing. Because if Annie had weighed all the risks and considered what could have happened, she would not have been brave enough to walk the path. She sees the experiences, from which one often learns, as lessons to grow and to find new confidence. She also believes that in the end everything will turn out the way it's supposed to. She still dreams of her own hotel – which is sure to come.


Cécile is a freelance author and sustainability strategist. She enjoys traveling to the fullest: getting to know different cultures, listening to other languages ​​and discovering new things either by the sea or in a (big) city always fascinates her. The stories and intentions of the Good Travel hosts are particularly important to her.


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