Vacanze col cuore is a reality that embraces countless stories. There are the stories of our Glamping Resorts, the stories of colleagues who work hard every day to carry on this project, the stories of guests who have chosen us to live unforgettable experiences in the open air.
And then there is our story, that of our family, the one from which it all began.
Continuing with the reading you will discover the most important dates and moments of all these narratives, of the exciting stories that we are writing with love, heart and passion.
Young student Loek gets a job at a campsite in Italy
Loek and Chicca get married
The origins of our dream: Intergarda is born
New group name: Vacanceselect
The concept of Glamping is introduced
Iconic Orlando in Chianti Glamping Resort opens
Vacanze col cuore project is born: sons Alessandro and Leonardo join the company
Loek van de Loo enters Adac Hall Of Fame
The group continues to grow: 8 resorts win prizes and awards
New opening: the Trasimeno Glamping Resort
An unexpected spark of love: this is how Loek and Chicca's wonderful adventure began. It all starts in the summer of 1977. Loek van de Loo in those years is a student who, to support his studies, gets a summer job at a camp on Lake Garda. There he met and got to know Chicca Scalvini, the receptionist of the campsite.
While working on Lake Garda, Loek and Chicca fell in love and in 1983 their love was sealed by marriage! Shortly afterwards, Loek became the proud owner of the Camping Weekend in Salò and the van de Loo-Scalvini family also started to manage the Gabbiano, a wonderful residence in Moniga del Garda that had been opened in 1978.
In 1984, Loek started renting holiday accommodation on Lake Garda and started a booking agency (Intergarda), which grew rapidly and expanded throughout Italy. At that time, Intergarda is a pioneer in direct sales and grows very fast due to the growth of the internet. As a result, Loek becomes an E-commerce innovator and Intergarda becomes the first bookable travel website in Europe. The booking agency has grown into an international organisation in the 30 years that follow.
In 1992, Intergarda becomes Italiaselect, as the range of leisure facilities now extends to other regions of Italy, such as the Adriatic coast and Tuscany. Italiaselect develops its own models of mobile homes and tents, and later mobile homes. In 1993, for the management and supply of its own (camping) accommodation, a new company was set up alongside Italiaselect: Selectcamp. Loek is the general manager of both. As the company continued to grow, Loek decided to open an office abroad as well: Selectravel Reisen GmbH in Stade, northern Germany. In 1999, the brand names give way to 'Vacanceselect'.
'Glamping', a word that did not exist a few years ago. Glamping is 'the future of camping' according to Loek. 'Glamping' is a compound word derived from the words 'Glamour' and 'Camping'. This describes a luxury style of camping. In fact, Loek is recognised as the official founder of the word and concept. Since that big change in the tourism world, numerous tourism organisations have been developing this new type of accommodation. From a safari tent to tree houses, there are more and more unique accommodations.
The love for establishing beautiful and unique parks in Italy is still there, which is why Loek and Chicca decide to establish Camping Village Orlando in Chianti in 2012. This beautiful campsite is surrounded by Tuscan beauty and a truly unique location for glamping accommodations. The most special accommodations can be found here today, including the glamping collection with the different types of buses you can spend the night in.
Times change and the van de Loo family also agreed that it was time for a significant change. So in 2018, they decided to sell Vacanceselect to the Vacalians group and invest further in their passion for the Glamping concept. So 2018 marks the start of a new organisation called 'Vacanze col Cuore', which means holiday from the heart. Because that is what the van de Loo family loves doing most of all: giving passion and love in order to give guests the most unique holiday possible. Thanks to the love between Loek and Chicca, their strong interest in the world of Glamping and the valuable contribution of their sons Alessandro and Leonardo who officially joined the company, Vacanze col Cuore has grown to become a beautiful family-run business with 8 facilities spread across Italy and the Netherlands.
These, in detail, are the Glamping Resorts of the group with their respective opening dates:
- Il Gabbiano Park Residence (1978);
- Weekend Glamping Resort (1987);
- Orlando in Chianti Glamping Resort (2012);
- Vallicella Glamping Resort, Vacanze Glamping Boutique, Sivinos Camping Boutique (2018);
- Lago Idro Glamping Boutique, Papillon Country Resort (2020).
In 2020, Loek will be inducted into the ADAC's hall of fame with great honour. He will receive this award for the significant contribution he has made to European outdoor tourism.
The numbers continue to grow and 2023 is a year of awards and prestigious recognitions for some of the resorts in the Vacanze col cuore group. In the space of just a few months, in fact, the van de Loo-Scalvini family business receives two very significant certificates:
- ANWB, the largest association of travellers in the Netherlands, awarded the Lago Idro Glamping Boutique as 'Most outstanding rental accommodation abroad' during the annual 'Camping van het Yaar' in Utrecht. The Glamping was distinguished for its original accommodation proposal in the revolutionary Tipi Lodge, a lakefront Tipi tent that offers a private jacuzzi and another small tent that can accommodate two more people;
- ADAC, Europe's leading automobile club, dedicates a major nomination for innovation to the Orlando in Chianti Glamping Resort. The Glamping in the Tuscan hinterland is the only Italian mentioned in this category during the Camping Gala 2023 in Stuttgart, the Oscar for the best open-air tourism facilities.
Let's take a little leap forward to anticipate the most eagerly awaited novelty of the coming season: in 2024, in fact, the Trasimeno Glamping Resort will open, the ninth structure of the Vacanze col cuore group. The Resort will be located in Umbria, one of Italy's most popular regions, and will develop along the shores of Lake Trasimeno, an enchanting basin nestled between the Umbrian heights and the Tuscan valleys.
We invite you to follow us on all our social channels to stay constantly updated on this eagerly awaited opening!