Forward-looking companies can now rent out a whole village in Italy for corporate retreats and teambuilding, including the use of a castle and a 75-acre estate. Olivia Palamountain reports
An entire village in northern Italy (not pictured above) – including a castle and 75-acres of grounds – is now on the market for “takeover workations” of up to 200 people.
Billing itself as “Europe’s most beautiful venue for company retreats”, the San Sebastiano Workation Village enjoys views across the Po valley to the Matterhorn and is conveniently located just a 40-minute drive from Turin.
The restored hamlet provides intimate workshops, outdoor activities and relaxing amenities across the estate, from meetings in the stately castle and al fresco yoga sessions in the meadows to team building over foraging excursions in its own hazelnut groves.
Urban tech startups and big players such as Google and BMW have already booked corporate takeovers at the village, which start from around €190 a head each night.
Von Hoyos, 38, a former frozen yoghurt entrepreneur in Munich, founded the San Sebastiano village in 2021, acquiring it on a long-term lease from a local family.
As reported by The Times, his first clients were self-employed “digital nomads” who could work as easily from the village as from Paris or Berlin. Since then it has drawn start-ups and big technology businesses. “Our customers are mainly young tech companies open to novelty,” Von Hoyos said. “The Mittelständler [medium-size, family-owned German business] doesn’t dare to come to us, even though they need it most.”
Chiming with the trend for remote working, companies are now investing more in employee bonding experiences and wellbeing than ever before, with wellness retreats blossoming across Europe.
In Germany, digital nomads and small remote teams can take a workation retreat at Coconat. Located in the small Brandenburg village of Klein Glien, it describes itself as a “space for anyone to be inspired, concentrate, work, and play in the countryside”.
And in Estonia, iLand – the country’s first rural co-working and co-living space, based on the Baltic Sea island of Saaremaa – says it offers a haven for freelancers, entrepreneurs, teams, digital nomads, and anyone else seeking “inspiration, new ideas, and contacts”.
The San Sebastiano village’s appeal lies not only in its stunning surroundings but also in its proactive approach to catering to the needs of a remote workforce.
Local businesses have swiftly adapted to provide high-speed internet connectivity, co-working spaces, and comfortable accommodation tailored to the needs of digital nomads.