We are a couple from England who love Italy. For the past thirteen years we have been living in a most beautiful part of Umbria restoring and landscaping a stone built Umbrian farmhouse . We have 2 hectares of land with 40 mature olive trees and a new plantation (five years ago) of 60 young trees. We live close to our neighbours who were one part of the original Italian family, who have welcomed us and from whom we have learnt a lot. Our project was born out of a wish to live closer to the land and grow produce in a way kinder to the environment.
We try very hard to lower our carbon footprint in whatever ways possible and take great pleasure in re-using materials and re-cycling and upcycling.
The setting is wonderful : we are within walking distance of the medieval hill top town of Lugnano in Teverina, of which we have a full view from our house and garden. We are just one hour north of Rome by train and two hours south of Florence.
Our background and main careers have been in town planning and social work. I am Eric, a town planner by profession, now enjoying garden design and landscaping, olive growing and creative writing. Helen, who has Greek origins and a background in social work, now works as a silversmith and jeweller as well as being involved in our project.
We welcome helpers who are conscious of climate impact and and although not entirely vegetarian we appreciate a thoughtful approach to the food we produce and consume.
We also welcome and encourage an interest in the local community and culture. We always offer to include our volunteers who wish to join us in cultural and social events, right down to meeting our friends and getting to know the surrounding countryside and beautiful medieval villages.
We would like to continue to host Workawayers but we do have to make some changes to how we organise things in our house, because both of us are over 70 years old and therefore in a ‘high risk’ category. We would also not wish to pass on an infection to you!
We think we can have Workawayers if we take the following precautions:
We will accommodate you in a room on the top floor of the house, with its own personal shower room and toilet on the same floor
We will give you a key so you can use a separate entrance to the house
We will arrange for a basic cooking facility in an adjacent room to the one you are staying in (also on the top floor) so that we don’t need to share cooking facilities. However if weather permits it should be possible to eat outside together if we observe social distancing. You are also welcome to use our outside areas, again if we all observe social distancing.
We will generally observe social distancing when working. This should be fairly easy because most of our work will be outside.
We will expect you to observe any local restrictions e.g. wearing of face masks etc while you are staying with us.
If you stay more than 10 days and none of us show any symptoms it should be possible to relax many of the rules.
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
The lifestyle around us is predominantly agricultural with small farms, olive groves and vineyards, mostly cared for by local families. Culturally the area is alive with festas in the surrounding towns and villages especially during the summer. There are also free concerts, a film club and great opportunities to mingle in the local culture. We encourage volunteers to visit nearby towns and cities, all of which can be reached by public transport, including Rome, Orvieto, Arezzo, Viterbo, with their long history of art and architecture; and Lake Trasimeno.
We enjoy and appreciate the help of volunteers and they have made significant contributions to our project: we are now in the 10th year of hosting volunteers of many nationalities. The majority of the work is outdoors and the main tasks, depending on season, are:
cultivating and preparing our vegetable garden;
harvesting vegetables and fruit (depending on season we have figs, plums, hazelnuts and walnuts);
pruning our olive trees and maintenance of the olive grove;
General garden maintenance, hedge cutting, grass mowing, weed clearance etc;
Cutting and stacking firewood;
building and repairing stone walls and terracing.
Picking olives, packing and transporting them to the olive mill (late October/early November)
Some of the tasks can be strenuous and require the use of garden machinery such as petrol lawn mower, electric hedge cutter, strimmer etc.
In late October we harvest our olives and we need helpers to prepare the ground, pick and pack the olives and transport them to the olive mill.
We also have building maintenance tasks such as painting, decorating and small repairs.
This year (2020) we have a substantial amount of maintenance and clearance work.
Please note:We have limited internet access. We use our mobile phones to access the internet; you need to ensure you have adequate data allowances on your mobile devices. No smoking indoors. We are non-smokers.
This year (2020] we can accommodate one person. Our volunteers stay in a twin bedded room on the top floor of the house, with its own shower and toilet.
Please ensure you have read the information about Coronavirus.
There are many walks in the local countryside amongst the beautiful local landscapes and olive groves. Lugnano in Teverina is within walking distance and it has local shops - grocery, post office, bank, pharmacy - and cafes, a public swimming pool and a bus service connecting to nearby towns and villages. Day trips by train to Rome, Orvieto and Viterbo are easily possible. Our nearest station, Attigliano, is 10kms away and buses from Lugnano connect to Orvieto, Amelia and Narni.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week