The Costas have created a community in its core meaning, one that binds together the management, the staff, and local providers under the same ethos. In conversation with Albergo Posta Marcucci General Manager Michil Costa, who describes his family’s belief in the ‘economy of the common good’
«It was Mum and Dad who opened the house in 1956,» begins Michil Costa when asked about the history of his family’s hotels. The ‘house’ he refers to is La Perla, the family’s first hotel on the Dolomites. Over the years, the Costas opened two other structures, Posta Marcucci in Bagno Vignon in the region of Siena in Tuscany, and Il Ladini in South Tyrol — they refer to all three as the ‘houses’, a telltale sign of the genuineness of their dedication to their business. Seven decades and two fire-caused reconstructions later, the Costa heritage is a model of progress and ethics in the sector.
The Costas have been in the hospitality business for generations – it is engrained in their genes, and they have always managed to pass down their passion and responsibility without fail over the decades, even though Michil Costa, the eldest of three sons and head of the non-profit Costa Family Foundation, did not always foster the enthusiasm he shows now.
«As a teenager, I was a rebel. I adored the Sex Pistols and I was an anarchist, I craved traveling and adventure, I wanted nothing to do with my parent’s business — I only cared about doing my own thing. Then with adulthood came maturity, and I found myself growing closer to the philosophy of Buddhism. I even met the Dalai Lama and his sister, Madame Jetsun Pena, on multiple occasions — he recalls — there is nothing like sitting with a religious leader of such importance, and feeling that he is listening to you while you tell him about your family, your work and your dreams».
These encounters inspired Michil Costa to embrace his family’s business as a means of creating good and beauty and propagating them throughout the world. He was also able to recognize and appreciate the worth of his formation and education, something that — as all rebel kids do — he used to undervalue. «What our parents taught us has little to do with tourism and marketing strategies, and more with ethical and holistic values. The first value is care — caring for our guests, their health and comfort, and that can manifest as ensuring quality in the ingredients we use, as meeting their requests with kindness and attention, as stimulating and rewarding their curiosity, as offering wellness treatments, even as leaving rose petals in the bathroom. We want our guests to feel pampered. What the hospitality business needs is more sweetness».
Sweetness and care are indeed the staples of Albero Posta Marcucci, but they are not only directed to guests. Albergo Posta Marcucci, once a nineteenth-century inn and post office, then acquired and transformed into hotel by Michil Costa’s parents Ernesto and Anni, is a model of mindfulness and respect for the environment, the resources, and the people.
The Costas have created a community in its core meaning, one that binds together the management, the staff, and local providers — farmers, breeders, cheesemakers, bakers, butchers, artisans, guides, instructors, retailers and so on — under the same ethos: the ‘economy of the common good’. Posta Marcucci, like the two other ‘houses’, employs and accepts people of different backgrounds and life stories, for example privileging the employment and empowerment of single mothers and refugees.
«Our employees don’t work for us, they work with us. That is why we established a Human Resources office dedicated to their wellbeing, remodeled and refurbished their quarters and facilities to ensure comfort and sense of belonging, and decided to include them in all organizational processes. Decisions are not made by us, the owners, but by all people who work in our hotels, from waiters to cleaning staff to spa personnel — after all, they are an extension to our family, and we treat them as such» Michil Costa explains; «We also make sure to form and educate them, to nourish their talents and to give them the tools to succeed further on in life».
Education. Guests are invited to learn about local ecosystems and indigenous flora and fauna, to respect the environment as they would respect the staff and themselves, and to accept and understand the rules that the Costa family implements in their structures. No swearing, no littering, no bad table manners, for example, but no fussing over food either. «Our world is suffering today. We cannot keep on damaging it to spoil ourselves with cheap clothes and banans imported on cargo ships from Brasil — consumerism fuels greed, pollution, and exploitation of disadvantaged workers. At Posta Marcucci we choose instead to support local farmers and artisans, who supply us with their products. Freshness, authenticity, and respect are thus guaranteed».
In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, the hotel has also decided to implement new measures to avoid wasting resources and endangering health, such as the choice to abandon buffets in favor of à-la-carte meals, ensuring guests can have their cravings fulfilled while enjoying a more personal experience. Each hotel as a point chart, like the ones you see in school classrooms, which keeps track of their performance on the levels of sustainability and efficiency — this is how the hotels maintain focus on their vision and on their goal to improve and evolve.
The Costas’ care and involvement is also reflected in the work of their Foundation, which is active in Togo, Uganda, Ethiopia, India, and Nepal with projects for child and adult education, environment management and capacity building, and cooperates with Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan in an all-female agroforestry project, where disadvantaged women grow, process and sell saffron, receiving all profits and the chance to support their families and aspirations. «During my last visit to the Dalai Lama, he held my hand and taught me that solidarity and conscientiousness are how we manifest God into the world».
Via Ara Urcea, 43
Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany, Italy