Come and help at our piece of paradise on top of the mountain in Parmigiano cheese region, Italy



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 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

  • Description


    Important note to read first :
    - In principle we are only interested in people who can stay for at least 2-3months or more. This being said, we may have shorter term opportunities also in between visitors, but than we really want to check with the candidates first if it will be worth the effort of coming all this way.
    - We would need someone who really likes working on the land and in the woods and/or who has experience in construction and home renovation.

    Note that it is absolutely mandatory to speak good English (or Dutch) in order to communicate with us without any problems. If you are a couple, both will need to be able to speak it.

    Who are we: AnneMarie and Jan
    We are a quiet, somewhat older (61-56) Flemish couple living on a mountain top in the Apennines (Italy).
    We speak fluent Dutch and English but also Italian (obviously, when you live in Italy). One of these three languages will be what we speak to you. We also master some French, German and Spanish which are to be 'brushed up' again, but we like to practise.
    We are spiritual beings (non religious) and very much involved in meditation, so people who like to (learn to) meditate in group are even more welcome.
    Please note that we do not have television(!) and limited internet (because of the mountains it sometimes falls out) so it is best to have your own Internet abonnement if you need it for heavy updates on your phone or for foto or video transmitting.

    We are looking for: nice quiet people to share part of our lives in harmony together! Especially if you are ready for an introspection period combined with working in nature and living a healthy lifestyle, than this might be the ideal place to stay.
    These people should be able to do home sitting in case one (or both) of us need to go abroad. In that case a small car can be at disposal at basic cost price if you don't have one of your own and you are +26 yrs old (necessary for the insurance).

    We also need muscles, brains & ideas. Depending on who comes and weather permits, Jan will prioritize one or another direction.
    Muscles: help in the renovation of the house (plumber knowledge gets absolute priority to anything else as on top of the renovation Jan is working on a multilevel natural irrigation system on the land).
    But there is also (heavy) work outside on working the land and/or in the woods.
    Brains: video editing & montage, drone recording, Joomla, WordPress & Parallels web building or App development ...
    Ideas: 3D photography, digital marketing, art project promotion
    Artists can help inspire Jan with producing epic ethnic music.

    What can we offer:
    A separate apartment in the house is available to welcome you. This will have to be shared with another workawayer if there is some overlap in time. We like to welcome the workawayers like family even though you will have your own private quarters in the house.

    We can help with practising several languages (see above).
    AnneMarie can teach Tao Yoga and other meditation techniques. She is busy/interested in alternative medicine.
    She is a good cook and likes to pass on some of her skills, but due to her health this cannot always be guaranteed.

    Jan is an artist in everything he does and likes to share his passion for nature, gardening, landscape arts, photography, making videos, etc. He started an environmental art project. This way he is remodeling the mountain we live on, hence the hard work (see the pictures...)

    Other than being on a healthy retreat, you can join us to all the local festa, concerts or just go on a photographic tour around the area, to the waterfall or to the Pietra di Bismantova where Dante wrote his masterpiece, the Divine Comedy.

    Please note that there are a few important things to consider:
    - Living together in harmony is the most important keyword. We don't like far-right political ideas (or any other extreme vision for that matter) as they do not suit with our life ethics.
    - The first language in the house is either English or Dutch.
    - No drugs and preferably no smoking either unless if you are respectful enough to not throw your butts anywhere else than in the ashtray... Certainly no smoking in the house!
    - A decent pair of all-weather boots is required to work on the land... unless you come in plain summer.
    - Even though living on a mountain top in Italy may sound like a holiday dream, be aware that it involves hard work and it may be lonely sometimes. If you are a couple, both of you will need to realise that! Make sure what you mean when you say you like nature and gardening.
    - We have a cat and a dog who all live in the house with us even though they don't come into the apartment on the first floor unless you invite them. So if you are extremely allergic to them that will be a major problem.
    - Since we will be living together in the house, the daily housework (in the kitchen or keeping the house clean) is not considered 'workaway work'. We expect you to keep the place clean and nice to live in as if it were your own house.
    - In principle we do not serve alcohol to workawayers, unless for special occasions.
    - Unless if you cook yourself in your own kitchen, we cannot accomodate vegan people.
    Jan wants to add:

    Imagine. Just imagine.
    You were a property owner of a 3.6ha estate on a mountain top in Italy, north of Tuscany.
    As you are looking for a challenge... What would you do with it?

    Knowing more and more workawayers consider it an important stop on their life purpose track.
    The more some of them decide about making a major shift in their lives after having been here, while others consider it a springboard to the rest of their life...

    Imagine this property would be yours for your next stop in your personal life. Now throw an environmental artwork in that mix as an invitation to contribute a part of your artistic self.
    What would this mountain look like when you would be leaving, inviting the next one in line?

    36m2 of this mountain will carry your signature, no doubt...
    If ever you wanted to leave a legacy behind in Italy, make sure to hear the silent whisper of the universe calling you to get into action...

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help in the house
    Animal care
    Language practice
    Art project
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Learn about living in Italy on a mountain top (including Italian cultural manifestations); learn to meditate; practise languages; learn gardening, landscaping, forest maintenance, cooking, nature photography, ...
    Learn to bake your own bread, make your own yoghurt, milk kefir, kombucha, marmelade, etc. which we make from our own produce or from the local farmer's market.

  • Help


    Note that help would be appreciated in one or more of the following:
    Gardening and working on the land: organic vegetable garden, keeping fruit trees, recreating garden landscapes, clearing the wood.
    Building: help with interior works: plastering walls, renovating bathroom (plumbing would be perfect!), possibly preparing stuff for the electrician, flooring, ...
    Animal care: (mainly if we need to go abroad): take care of the cat and maybe the dog (Sheltie).
    Art project: landscaping design together with Jan, filming with drone, helping on the computer, ...
    Help with computers/internet: preferably Joomla experience, Linux experience, Blender, Gimp, Sketchup, i-movie, Final Cut, Aperture, ... Note: we work on older Apples
    Home sitting if/when we need to travel, this may be planned some time before or it may come up unexpectedly.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    Dutch, English fluent. Italian good. French, German reasonable. Spanish to be brushed up but we can communicate

  • Accommodation


    An apartment is available for the workawayers on the first floor with 2 rooms (one is with a sofa-bed), a kitchen and 1 bathroom available. Depending on the situation this can accomodate 2 (couples) workawayers who can share the kitchen and the bathroom.
    In principle lunch is taken all together during the week but due to AnneMarie's health problems the timing is not standard, our 'lunch' is usually between 2 and 4 pm as it is never sure when she will be able to start cooking. If this is a problem you can cook your own in your kitchen. In order for us to have some privacy and time for each other, the other meals during the week are private, as well as on the weekends and holidays.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The whole area is a heaven for nature photographers, hikers, mountainbikers, skiers, horse people, alpine climbers, via ferrata mountaineering, ... But other than cyclers also motorbikers and trikes love to cruise the curling streets to discover beautiful sights from one mountain top to another.
    Note that there is as good as no public transport in the area, your own car is preferred even though if necessary we can share a small car at basic expense cost.

    In case you wanted a clear view of our 'Big Picture', check the album and count the deer on one of the pics ;)

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Max 25 hours a week, 2 days off. At least 5 hours a day but depending on the weather we expect (and give) flexibility. Help may also be needed on weekends.

'Atlas' Philippe helping Jan to hang up some cupboards
Blue Monday, wildlife living room window frame,...
Don't kid yourself, those rocks are BIG...
Let's get physical... :)
Playing in the snow for the next drone shoot...
Brian & Vale from Uruguay digging for the truth...
Mosaics by Brian...
Vale pauses checking batteries of Brian...
Irrigation engineer at work: Vale from Uruguay
Overlooking the scene to direct the next step...
Defining the boundaries of the artwork...
Preparing for planting the next 100m2 of Esperanza...
Believe us, these blocks are BIG...
Check the album to get the flavor ;)

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Host ref number: 215978545475