This is a "last minute" Workaway request. We are seeking Workawayers for MAY and JUNE 2019.
We are a world adventuring American / Italian married couple who own an 82 acre fully organic farm in the heart of beautiful Tuscany Italy. We travel in the Winter to escape the cold, and return to Italy to work on the farm in the Summer months. We live in a 1000 year olf restored monastery and our farm surrounds the monastery complex. Our farm is truly a special place. It was selected as a place of importance thousands of years ago by the Etruscans and was worked by the San Galgano Monks for over 300 years between 1030ad and 1300ad.
We are a fun, adventurous, peaceful couple who have committed to living life to the fullest. We eat healthily and live healthy, taking care of our bodies and minds. Paola a certified Italian Organic Farmer with a plethora of knowledge to share with you on Italian history, culture and farming. Paola also created a successful natural medicine (herbalist) company in Italy for 22 years where they created 70 unique herbal products (sold the company in 2015). Chris is a virtual university professor, former school principal, consultant, and entrepreneur. We stand for Simplicity, Clarity, Responsibility and Unity.
We are seeking mature Workawayers who are not intimidated with getting their hands dirty, those who are adventurous, like to engage in hard work, and most importantly, those who like to laugh and have fun! We treat our life and our work on the farm as a gift, and we are committed to living a life that is filled with personal empowerment, health, and joy. We love our farm and have had many successful Workawayers visit and enjoy their experience.
Ideally, you would commit to at least two weeks and stay for an entire month if that works in your plans.
May and June are the BEST months in Tuscany for the weather. It is before the summer heat arrives, Spring has sprung and flowers are in bloom. It is warm enough to enjoy the two large pools at Palazzo, and the weather is perfect for being outside in nature.
Here are a few guidelines that might help you in your decision to contact us:
We give preference to mature couples. Mature singles are also ok.
Sorry, we cannot accommodate families with children.
We will work 6 hours work day, 5 days a week. Our start and end times depending on the activity and weather. We typically start at 7am end at 1pm.
Minimum two-week work commitment and we prefer a one-month commitment.
We ask for you to be engaged in and focused on your work. We are hard workers and ask that you agree to put your heart and energy into your work.
Having fun is mandatory! :)
We ask that you are peaceful and respectful, treating our home and environment with the same care you give your home.
We ask that you are honest and straightforward. We believe in clarity and fully open and honest communication.
You will have access to a full kitchen. We will provide basic Tuscan foods and you will do most of your food preparation yourself.
We are not cigarette smokers nor alcohol drinkers. If you are a big drinker, this is not the place for you. In fact, Italy is not the place for you. Most Italians frown on people being drunk and do not engage in that activity themselves.
If you are interested in applying, please contact us and let's start a conversation about what could be possible.
Help with Eco project
We are located near a small Tuscan town in the middle of the countryside. Here you have an opportunity for a unique full-cultural immersion. Asciano is in the heart of the 3000 year old Etruscan civilization (pre-dating the Romans). If you are looking for a unique small town cultural exchange, you will find it here! We speak Italian and have networked with local farmers, local friends, and businesses, so we have many connections with activities such as parties and festivals occurring. We like to visit the stunning 2000 year old city of Siena and will certainly bring you there to explore some of it's hidden treasures. We love hot springs and have located some fantastic off the beaten path locations which are great for relaxing and unwinding after a days work.
Palazzo is located in the heart of Crete Senesi, the "best cut" of Tuscany. Every road that leads to our home and farm is a designated "scenic route". You will wake up every morning and think you on a romantic movie set, and you are the star!
The term Crete Senesi refers to a vast area of Tuscany on the border between the provinces of Arezzo and Siena, which extends South to the slopes of Mount Amiata. Crete Senesi is a spectacular sea of undulating rolling hills like no other in Tuscany.
This is an incredibly suggestive and characteristic scenery, almost an unreal “lunar landscape”, with barren gentle hills and woods running across villages, solitary cypress and oak trees, abandoned giant “fortified” farmhouses here and there, castles, beautiful forests on the plains.
The word Crete refers to the clay in the soil, which gives the land its distinctive blue-gray color. This particular clay, mixed with rock salt and gypsum, said mattaione in Italian, is what remains of the sediments of the sea that was swaying here millions and millions of years ago!
This wonderful characteristic territory is located south of Siena and north of the Val d’Orcia. Our home is in the middle of Crete Senesi.
Here is a list of the lovely hill towns of the Crete together with the most specular sights and attractions near our farm.
Asciano – 2 min
Asciano is a lovely medieval village, that can be approached from Siena through a wonderfully scenic road. Domenico di Bartolo is the most famous personality of Asciano; great painter of the 15th century, Bartolo is the author of the beautiful fresco cycle that you can admire at the Museum of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. The Museo Civico Archeologico e d’Arte Sacra of Asciano displays amazing Sienese paintings and sculptures and is worth the visit.
Asciano is a simple Tuscan town with a local flavor. Few tourists stay more than a few hours here and this adds to the town’s magic. There are a few great inexpensive restaurants, bakery, pizza, grocery store (Coop), Cafes (Bars), a gym, a few beautiful churches, small local stores and a cute town center where you are likely to find a simple town festival happening on weekends.
Monte Oliveto Maggiore Abbey – 12 min
One of the most impressive, imposing and beautiful abbeys in Italy, the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is the main attraction of the Crete. The abbey stands isolated on a hill, all covered with cypress trees, in a picturesque location near Asciano, right in the middle of the Desert of Accona, and is surrounded by the rugged landscape of the Crete steep ravines.
The abbey is a great monastic complex and is still active; it contains many works of art and a library with many valuable ancient books and parchments. The great cloister houses a series of beautiful 16th-century frescoes by Luca Signorelli and Sodoma, depicting the story of Saint Benedict; the works are considered one of the greatest examples of an Italian Renaissance painting. This Abby is the same order of monks that built Palazzo, in fact, they moved into the Abby in 1300 from Palazzo!
Rapolano Terme – 16 min
Rapolano Terme is an important and appreciated thermal destination in Tuscany. Its thermal springs go very far back in time, they were used by the Etruscans and the Romans. West of Rapolano, in fact, there’s an archeological site from the third century BC, that covers an area larger than 8,000 square meters, which over the years has been the subject of some excavations that have allowed to reconstruct much of the layout of the ancient building.
Today you can enjoy these fantastic waters at the Terme di San Giovanni, a beautiful thermal complex with a refined hotel and spa, enchanting thermal swimming pools and a lot of services.
On a hill facing Rapolano, raises the beautiful fortified castle of Modanella, today an agriturismo offering accommodation in apartments.
San Giovanni d’Asso – 21 min
Enchanting hilltop town, San Giovanni d’Asso, has a lot of beautiful ancient churches, like San Pietro, lovely Romanesque church of the 11th century. The village is dominated by a beautiful imposing castle and fortress with frescoes, that houses the Museo del Tartufo, a museum dedicated to the white truffle, the famous precious tuber of Italy, also typical of this part of Tuscany.
Buonconvento – 22 min
Buonconvento is a characteristic medieval walled village with bastions and a lovely town hall. Like in Siena, the red color of the brick is predominant. Its mighty walls are well preserved and you can still see the doors and the seven towers of its defensive structure. If you leave the main street of the village you’ll find yourself immersed in a network of characteristic alleys; it’s a pleasure to walk here.
The Museo della Mezzadria in Buonconvento is an interesting museum devoted to the rural and social history of the territory.
Siena – 30 min
Siena is Italy's loveliest medieval city, and a trip worth making. Siena's heart is its central piazza known as Il Campo, known worldwide for the famous Palio run here, a horse race run around the piazza two times every summer. Movie audiences worldwide can see Siena and the Palio in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.
Montalcino – 35 min
To the south of Siena is a classic fairytale hilltop town, set within a full circle of fortified walls and watched over by a mighty castle of medieval perfection. Montalcino, west of Pienza, is a beautiful village immersed in the breathtaking Val d'Orcia Natural Park, renowned all over the world for the production of its precious Brunello red wine.
The town has scarcely changed in appearance since the 16th century. Once you get up to the town, a magnificent spectacle unfolds for your eyes: rolling sunny hills dotted with yellow and red flowers, ancient oak trees, picturesque olive groves, scenic country roads winding through perfect vineyards and isolated cypress trees atop hills.
Montepulciano – 44 min
Standing high atop a hill in southern Tuscany not too far from Siena, Montepulciano is a medieval town of rare beauty highly recommended visiting in Tuscany. The city, full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, charming squares and hidden corners, boasts vast panoramas all over the wonderful Val d'Orcia and Val di Chiana valleys that surround it.
Mount Amiata – 1 hour 20 min
In Southern Tuscany, one of our favorite places, there is an undiscovered area full of art, things to do and magical landscapes. It is called Mount Amiata and it is situated in the province of Siena, facing the soft landscape of the Val d’Orcia to the northeast and closing the eastern side of the Maremma. The first thing you should probably know is that in ancient times, Mount Amiata was a volcano – but don’t worry: today it is dormant and, at 1736 meters, it’s the highest in Italy! This area has remained untouched and has maintained its rural charm. Mount Amiata is surrounded by several stunning hillside medieval cities. A drive around the mountain reveals them all. Go explore!
The Mount Amiata area is a paradise for sports lovers and all those who want to explore this beautiful territory by bike, on horseback, on foot or simply visiting the historical hamlets.
Isla d'Elba - 4 hours (car and ferry)
For those sea lovers, this is the only place I will recommend. It is simply stunning. If you are looking for a weekend trip, this is it.
The island of Elba is famous around the world for harboring French Emperor Napoleon in 1814 during his exile. But its history goes back to prehistory, with the Ilvati tribe from Liguria who named the island Ilva. It was then inhabited first by the Etruscans and later by the Romans, who really appreciated the island and its rich deposits of iron and its mud baths.
What really makes Elba famous and renowned are its clear and blue sea and beautiful beaches. The extraordinary richness of its landscapes, both land, and marine, turns the island of Elba into a unique destination in Tuscany. We can say that is a heaven on earth, with nothing to envy of more exotic Caribbean destinations.
In addition, Elba is the perfect place for outdoor sports and activities. Among the most appreciated sports, there is diving and snorkeling in Elba, thanks to its rich seabeds housing lots of different species of fish. But outdoors lovers can also enjoy spending time on land hiking and mountain biking, enjoying a round of golf, a day of sailing or enjoying days of complete relaxation at the thermal baths of San Giovanni.
This May and June 2019, we will be engaged in several activities on the farm.
1. Building our second Off Grid KIT HOME (for those of you who are interested in learning about all the aspects of constructing a kit home. Two years ago we had Workaways here who helped us construct our first kit home. They had a wonderful experience, and when they returned home they created a Tiny Home of their own!
2. Vegetable gardening
3. Wood cutting and forest clearing
4. Grass cutting, landscaping, planting, etc
You will be staying in a 1000-year-old restored Tuscan monastery.
Our home is located in a beautiful 1000-year-old monastery (history below). This monastery was renovated 20 years ago and turned into upscale vacation homes. Most of the year there are very few owners that visit, so the monastery has a secluded feeling which we love. The large monastery complex is entirely fenced with two gated entries. Two large swimming pools and sunning area sit on the North side of the property with views of the medieval towers of Siena in the distance over the rolling Tuscan hills and lines of cypress.
Six years ago we purchased 82 acres of land surrounding Palazzo which we have converted into an organic farm
At night you can sleep with your windows open and smell the clean Tuscan air, hearing the forest birds chirp. All you see from the windows and terrace are rolling Tuscan hills, forests, lines of cypress and castles. There is an empty castle walking distance from Palazzo. Our neighbor is an Italian Princess.
This is a secluded Tuscan location. Please do not apply if you are looking for a city-like social scene. Our farm is located 2 km from a town called "Asciano". It is an easy walk into town and we will provide rides into town with our vehicle at least every other day.
Organic Farm takes its name from the San Galgano Monks who worked this land for over 300 years beginning in the year 1000. These monks were genius farmers, healers, spiritual leaders and political administrators for a large portion of Tuscany. In the year 1030 the monks constructed the stunning in Asciano Tuscany which served as their primary monastery and home for over 300 years. Farm surrounds the old monastery as well as extending to the East towards Asciano.
Palazzo was a mere stepping stone for the monks as they constructed the beautiful Abbazia di San Galgano to the West and the magnificent Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore 6km down the road from here which to this day serves the Benedictine Olivetan monks.
After just spending a small amount of time on Organic Farm, you will experience the magical energy of this special land. The monks selected this land plot for a specific reason, the mana and the stunning beauty of this amazing place in heart of Tuscany.
FAQs from previous Workawayers
1. Besides the work, is it possible to practice yoga, bike, run, hike, camp…?:
Absolutely. You will have free time to engage in the things you like the most. Paola and I like doing Yoga at our pool in the early morning. It is very peaceful and quiet☺️ Lots of great hikes around the area, running. Biking is a bit hard with the steep roads but you can rent an electric bike in Asciano. There is camping around Tuscany in the summer. Accommodation for a weekend trip can be inexpensive, especially since we have connections and know the lay of the land.
2. On the weekends is it possible to travel nearby? I wonder what places are nearby to go on weekends. If you know of any cheap way to travel in Europe (train passes, maybe an airline that has students discounts, or so on...):
Yes indeed. There is a train in Asciano that will take you all our Tuscany. By train or bus, it is just 25 min to an amazing 2000-year-old city, Siena. Busses and trains are generally inexpensive and will take you all over Italy and Europe.
3. Which airport is the best to arrive?:
Florence, Rome, Pisa (In that order). You will need to get yourself to Asciano. There are trains and buses that connect all the airports to our town Asciano. We will help you sort out those easy details. We will pick you up at the Asciano Train Station.
4. Would you recommend driving to the farm? We are both motor heads and love a good road trip. Could we park our car at the farm?:
Yes. We have tons of parking, in a gated area. Also, the roads around us are fantastic for a sports car or motorcycle, lots of curves, hills and valleys.
5. If we didn't have a car would this limit us with what we could do/where we could go in our free time?:
No, you can get to almost every place in Italy by train or bus from Asciano.
6. On average how many workaway volunteers do you take at any one time?:
7. When will the working day begin? :
The workday will begin depending on the weather, and normally in the morning. 7am-1pm. If it raining in the morning then we may work in the afternoon. Somedays we might work double shifts, depending on the weather.
8. What language do you prefer to speak at home?:
We speak English at home. Paola is a native Italian speaker and Chris is studying Italian.
9. What is a typical day like for a volunteer?:
The weather is the driver of our work. We adapt our work to the weather we are presented. Summers in Tuscany are typically hot and clear, a great time to be in Tuscany. We will begin each day with a group debriefing and overview of the day. Often we will have group gathering in the evening as well. We enjoy our work and I am sure you will too. We practice daily clearing our minds and being present to the NOW and our work. An overactive egoic mind will lead you into many dark passages that are sometimes difficult to escape. Freedom from the egoic mind provides empowerment, happiness and clarity to take effective actions and accomplish what you want in your life!
10. Would we have access to transportation while we are there?:
There is train station in our town (Asciano). Most of Italy can be reached by bus or train for cheap. The train ride to Siena for example is 30 min and €3.50.
We live in the heart of Crete Senesi, the "best cut" of Tuscany. Every road that leads to our home and farm is a designated "scenic route". You will wake up every morning and think you on a romantic movie set, and you are the star! There and inexpensive busses and trains that will take you to all the amazing sites near our property, all are within a 1 hour ride: Siena, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Chianti, Monte Oliveto, San Quirico, Volterra, San Gimignano. We love to travel around Italy and see new sites, so I am sure some group road trips will be on the agenda:)
There are trains and busses from most airports to our area. We can help you sort that out easily. Rome (FCO) has a €22 bus that goes directly from Roma FCO to Siena.
11. Do you think it would be possible for us to explore Italy on our days off?
Absolutely! If you didn't, you would be missing out on an immense amount of beauty, culture and fun! Paola and I love to explore and are big trekkers so I am sure we will take some road trips with you guys and show you some special hidden gems.
12. Do we need any special equipment for working? (like boots etc.)
Yes. I will send a list of items needed to all participant. The basics are work clothes (solid work boots, socks, long pants, long sleeve shirt, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc). We will supply everything else (gloves, equipment, etc)
13. Are there snakes in the fields?
Thankfully, NO! :) We do have lots of boars, fox, sheep, deer, birds, owls. You won't run into these in the fields, however, you will definitely see them around. Local frinds hnt boar in our forest and sometime we will get passed some of the spils to cook up for dinner!
14. Are the prices of food in the shops expensive? Is there a shop nearby?
The prices in Italy are considerably less expensive than in the USA, UK and (of course) Australia. In Tuscany, prices are even less. Prices of food and entertainment are very reasonable (A coffee is always €1, Pizza €5-7). There is a grocery store 2 km from our place. Paola and I will drive into town at least every other day and anyone interested can catch a ride with us.
15. Is there a possibility to use bicycles?
We do not have bikes anymore, we sold ours. We found the steep Tuscany roads around us a bit of a challenge for us:) The roads are very very beautiful rides! There is a small shop in town and our friend Allesandro will be happy to rent you a bike. He also has electric bikes, which is a great option.
16. Approximately how long does the process of being elected takes?
Being that this is a "Last Minute" request, we will work to decide on the placements ASAP. 1-3 weeks might be about average. This depends on your response time and a skype interview.
17. What are your favorite things in the area to show to Workawayers?
The local hot springs, The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, local festivals, Siena, Etruscan ruins and meeting our endearing Tuscan farmer friends.
18. What are some of the qualities of your best WorkAwayers?
Being light, mindful, honest, considerate, responsible and kind. The ability to have fun and enjoy life. Laugh and love!
19. What is the typical Tuscan food? Meat and vegetables?
Tuscan food is simple and delicious. The simplicity is what makes it delicious. We can all take a lesson on how to live our lives by how the food in Tuscany is and has been prepared for centuries. Simplicity.
Tuscan food is mainly vegetables, meat and pastas. We will supply ample food for you to prepare on your own in your apartment.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week