Owners of Parco dei Sesi
Margot and Massimiliano Panseca
What did you do before opening Parco dei Sesi?
Margot: I lived in Paris and worked in the fashion industry as a talent agent.
Massimiliano: I lived in Milan and was running a tech startup. I worked in industrial design prior to that.
How did Parco dei Sesi come about?
Massimiliano: We met each other when vacationing on the island of Pantelleria and fell in love on day three! We spent the following two years going back and forth between Paris and Milan. Margot didn't want to move to Milan, and I didn't want to move to Paris. So we ended up finding common ground on this island. We respectively quit our jobs, moved here, and invested everything had into this project. We did it all together and with love.
Did you know from the beginning that you also wanted this space to be an artist's residence?
Margot: Everything developed quite naturally. The concept of an artist residency was not planned, but it came to embody a big part of us. Massimiliano's parents are both artists, and his sister is a gallerist. He grew up surrounded by artists and a creative environment.
Massimiliano: Similarly, Margot's mother is an antique dealer who passed this eye for beauty and knowledge to Margot. Art is the soul of Parco dei Sesi, and it's our pleasure to be able to share this with the creative minds who join us in the programme.
What was it about this location that appealed to you when running a guest house?
Massimiliano: Here, we sit on the most ancient ruins of the island, surrounded by megalithic stone structures that were built 5,000 years ago. We're lost between Africa and Europe, surrounded by stunning vegetation on a landscape unlike any other. Parco dei Sesi is a true sanctuary. It's a piece of heaven that has a rich and nurturing environment, caring for all your needs. It's a place where you'll feel at home surrounded by friends.
What did the design process look like? How did you curate the interiors?
Massimiliano: We did not plan much and did everything together instinctively and with love. Sometimes, we made mistakes, and some rooms we've renovated over and over again each year. We don't stop! But every year, we learn more and take that knowledge to improve the structure, the rooms, and the service. We don't care what it takes, and we'll find a way to invest all our energy and resources to achieve that goal. Because we have to keep improving Parco dei Sessi as our understanding evolves. This is our concept: to thrive for the best.
What are your favourite aspects of the property?
Massimiliano: The diversity is what we appreciate. And each area has its own beauty. This is true for the house but also for the island. There is not one corner of the island that will leave you disappointed, and it's all there for you to discover—the rewards are worth it.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of running a guest house?
Massimiliano: I love that every week we expect guests from different parts of the world, and they leave as friends. This happens all the time, and we still cannot believe this.
What have been some of the more challenging aspects of working in the hospitality industry?
Massimiliano: Every day is intense. It's 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There's no break, and you never know what can happen. Over time, we've learnt that the best we can do is always be prepared for anything. And whatever problem we might encounter, we'll do whatever we can to solve it in the shortest amount of time and in the best possible way.
You mention the importance of disconnecting in a technologically-driven world; what are your favourite ways to do that at Parco dei Sesi?
Massimiliano: It's often hard to plan ahead here. The weather can be unpredictable, and services might be interrupted, so you get stuck here for a couple of days in the winter. As such, there might be a shortage in the amenities or products. You can try to control it, but you'll find resistance from the island, and it's pointless fighting it. The key is to let the island guide you. It will teach you to be adaptable and spontaneous, living each day in the moment, slowly.
How would you describe the guest experience at Parco dei Sesi?
Massimiliano: I would say it's like stepping into an alternate reality, one where time has stopped. Where nature still rules, guides, and nourishes us.
When you are not busy running the guest house, what can we expect to find you both doing?
Massimiliano: Renovating, decorating, renovating some more, taking care of the gardens, planting, failing, planting again, taking care of our animals, getting ready for the season, speaking to clients... and so on. We also try to enjoy the island when we can!