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.
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
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 requires 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.
We have limited internet access. No smoking indoors. We are non-smokers.
We can accommodate either Two single people or a couple. Our volunteers stay in twin bedded rooms on the top floor of the house, with their own shower and toilet.
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