The Places founder tells Grace Trofa he isn’t afraid of hard work, but loves to relax in his beach club.
"I am the founder and CEO of Places. We host parties at major events and our club members have access to a yacht fleet that includes a Sanlorenzo SX76, an SX112 and an 18-metre Midnight Express. We ordered the SX112, Another One, shortly after buying the SX76 in 2020. While we waited for it, we were able to use Almax (a sistership) for a week in the Exumas and two weeks along the Amalfi Coast. It gave us a chance to see what layout would work for us. Ponza was probably one of my favourite spots, with its white cliffs and clear water, especially since I like to go Seabobing and snorkelling.
"It’s hard to say what my favourite cruising ground is, but I think the Exumas are a magical place. Staniel Cay has these cool underwater caves, but we had a scary moment. The captain took eight of us out to snorkel in the caves. It was beautiful, with the light shining through and all the tropical fish. When it was time to leave, my business partner Qarim and I decided to go first. The current was strong, and we wanted to make sure everyone would be able to hold their breath long enough to reach the exit. We got out but decided to go back in and warn them. After talking to everyone I looked around but could not find Qarim. Everyone panicked. I jumped on the jet ski and found him hanging on rocks on the other side of the island. He had taken a different tunnel and had to hold his breath for what felt like the length of a football field.
"St Barths on New Year’s Eve was amazing. We were anchored next to the Feadship Moonrise, which I stared at the whole time. My next yacht will be a Feadship, a mini version of Moonrise. The UNICEF gala was incredible and so was the after-party on board Vava.
"I have two children: Gianluca, who is three; and Fabiano, who is one. They love being on board and call after me, “Papi, papi, boat.” My favourite feature is the beach club. You wake up in the morning, walk out the back and you are basically sitting on the water. The gym is set up and everything is laid out for you, all the toys. You can have a juice from the juice bar and just hop on the bike. We have a chef kitchen in the main saloon so when we catch a fish the chef can prepare it right in front of us.
"I am a calculated risk-taker. No risk, no reward, that’s what they taught me growing up. My childhood was between Italy and Toronto. My parents were school teachers, but I always worked hard and always had a passion for luxurious things. Remember Publishers Clearing House? I was the kid filling out those forms thinking I was going to win a car. In the early days of Covid-19, when everyone was dumping assets, I was buying things like our Falcon 900EX EASy II. I invested in technology and made my own platform. We find there has been a major shift in wealth, especially in the crypto community. Our club started with artists and musicians; now we have clients who want to hang out with the artists; it’s become a community.
If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic it’s to live your life now, as tomorrow is not promised."