A brief overview (more details below):
We have a small hill farm called Pratale between Perugia and Gubbio (Gubbio 8 km) with milk sheep, horses, donkeys, hens, cats and small dogs. It includes pasture, woods and vegetable gardens, olive groves and a vineyard. We like to have people to share our life here and welcome people who want to join in this attempt at living simply.
We need help with the farm (sheep-shit-shovelling, clearing of fields, gardening, jam-making, chopping wood and so on) and we all share the cooking and housework because we have lots of visitors.
It's a simple life: there's a wooden loo, we do our cooking over a fire and it's a walk to the nearest bus stop. Permanently here are Etain and Martin and their son Ben who works as an ambulance nurse in Perugia.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
We could be called pioneers, having been here for over thirty-five years, back when self-sufficiency and back-to-the-land was a very new concept for Italy and even further afield. We've built our own sustainable house after an earthquake, raised different animals and crops and slowly built up a bio-regional network of friends across Italy who live like we do. We've experimented with doing without various things over the years (e.g. cars, tractors, fridges and washing machines) and learnt a lot along the way. Between us we've written several books on our lives here. We are the organisers for the members-only local farmers’ market, which happens on one farm or another once a month.
We particularly enjoy sharing our way of life with young people who are looking to live a similar life in the future and sharing whatever lessons might be useful to them! We've had many visitors over the years who have gone on to create their own countryside lifestyles and we're happy to have offered a helping hand along the way.
We have lots of visitors and so usually there's a group working, we eat together and live communally. In the summer, we avoid the great heat by working 6-10. We’re usually clearing brambles, mucking out stables, hoeing in the garden, weeding, barrowing manure, picking fruit for jam. The grape harvest is end Sep/beg. Oct. In the winter, work can start later and jobs include: chopping wood, digging, weeding, fencing, mending ditches, picking olives (Nov) and rosehips. We particularly welcome people who are into birds, flowers (we hope to learn from you!) horses, donkeys, dairy sheep.
It's not all work! The shady courtyard of our house has comfortable hammocks to rest in after the work is done, we sometimes make a trip to the river or nearly waterfalls to cool off on a hot day and we enjoy the conversation and sharing of ideas with whoever happens to be here at any time, whether we are working or resting. We have good farm food (and a wonderful pizza/bread oven!) as well as homemade wine, an excellent library and we are surrounded by beautiful green hills and woods.
Here's a list of the kind of work we do throughout the seasons:
Shepherding for the first hour of the day (to discourage wolves from taking an interest!)
Cleaning out sheep/horse/donkey stables
Making kindling bundles
Planting summer garden
Weeding spring garden/picking
Shearing (end May)
Moving prunings (olives/fruit)
Clearing pastures (thistles,brambles)
Pulling dead trees out of wood for firewood
Manuring gardens/olive groves
Digging up potatoes/onions/garlic
Digging spring garden over
Wine harvest (Sep)
Olive harvest (Nov)
Manure onto gardens
Weeding winter garden
Digging over next gardens
English, Italian, Swiss-German, German and a little French
We have plenty of space in small bedrooms or a dormitory, we offer mattresses and pillows, please bring a sleeping bag.
The local area is a wonderful place to explore for people who enjoy nature, hiking, animals and improving their Italian language skills. Use your spare time to visit the very pretty medieval city of Gubbio which is a twenty-minute bus ride from the bus stop and Perugia (which connects to many other parts of Italy by train and is also beautiful) is just under an hour by bus, as is the famous religious centre (home of St Francis) Assisi. There are buses every day, the walk from the farm to the bus stop is 4km through a beautiful country landscape. We'll let you know the best ice-cream parlours to visit! If you'd like to visit other self-sufficiency style farms while you're here we have many friends we can introduce you to.
5 hours, 5 days a week