Animal sanctuary and permaculture project in Castiglione Di Sicilia, Sicily, Italy

  • Favourited 1018 times
  • Last activity: 17 Apr 2024



 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks



  • Description


    Dear WORKAWAYers,

    In summer 2020 we bought a beautiful property in Sicily with an amazing view on Etna and started our animal sanctuary with permaculture project.

    I’m Christin, 36 years old from Germany, and I quit my office job some years ago to go traveling. Since quite some time I had the feeling and desire though to use my time “better”, to create something beautiful and make this world a bit better. I love animals and I’d love to live off-grid and self-sustainable (one day).
    My partner Luca is 31 years old, from Italy (Torino). He worked years as a photographer and musician and traveled the world even more than me.
    We're both vegan and want to give something back to Mother Earth, hence our project.

    At the moment 28 animals are living with us (15 cats, 6 dogs, 5 chickens and 2 sheep, two of the cats are paralyzed). We did set up a food forest, a vegetable garden, an olive grove, structures for animals and humans, and we take care of a piece of woodland.

    Activities here include (depending on the season): helping with planting trees, planting or transplanting vegetables, work in the vegetable garden, weeding, watering trees, mulching, harvesting, preserve or transform produce, pruning olive trees, harvesting olives, making compost, making hay, distributing manure or worm-tea, making fire-breaks in the forest, chop and store firewood, carpentry and light construction help such as building or maintaining stables. Also cleaning the areas of the animals, spending time with them, taking them for walks, bringing supplies, feeding, etc.
    We also started a little seed-bank, having old varieties of vegetables, especially from Sicily, and we also preserve ancient and rare varieties of fruit trees from Sicily, so occasional activities could be harvesting, curing and storing seeds correctly, or grafting fruit trees.

    Outside of working hours we share the tasks of cooking (vegan food, usually fresh local produce and often from the garden) and household chores. We usually have lunch and dinner together, which we consider important moments to meet and exchange opinions. We have a shaded space for camping, with a compost toilet and electricity point. Kitchen, toilet, shower and other facilities are in our house, 20 meters away from the camping area. We can provide headlamps, rubber boots, tents, camping mattresses, sleeping bags. Occasionally also our campervan could be used as accomodation. We can provide our hotspots as wifi from time to time if you need it.

    Luca can share information about olive farming, natural agriculture, permaculture, agroforestry, food sovereignty, local wild plants foraging, food preparation, and how we try to preserve old varieties of fruit and vegetables; Christin can tell you more about the foundation of an animal sanctuary, animal welfare, animal rights, how to care for dogs, cats, sheep and chickens and much more.

    In the days off you can hike on Etna (1h away by car), go to the river (10min away by foot), to the beach (25min away by car), visit extinct volcanoes (1h by bicycle), have a walk and a granita in little middle age villages, or wonder around the area of our house, which includes forests and archeological features (and many of our rescued dogs, cats, sheep and chickens!). We have bicycles for our volunteers to use and sometimes you could maybe rent our car.

    You are the right person to help our project if you:
    - love animals, have no animal allergies, are not scared of them, like to be in their company and to clean their areas
    - love nature, like to spend time outside rather than inside, are not put off by 'bad weather' such as wind, rain, heat, have no problems with getting your hands (and the rest of your body & clothes) dirty
    - are able to work physically, e.g. moving repetitively weights of 10-15kg for dozens of meters
    - are able to work in a team as well as on your own
    - are an active person and would choose a hike over watching a movie
    - are a proactive person, you see things around you and see how you could be helpful without being told / asked what to do all the time
    - understand that community-based life involves taking responsibilities over common areas (e.g. maintaining the volunteers' bathroom clean, clean the common kitchen) and shared tasks (taking turns in preparing meals, washing dishes)
    - understand when community time is best and when it's better to also spend some time alone
    - understand that we are an animal sanctuary that has rescued farm animals, and therefore out of respect for them you don't bring food that has animal products (like cheese, other dairy products, meat,..)
    - speak English well (we speak English with each other and since Luca doesn't speak German, we ask our volunteers to speak English to us as well; Italian is an alternative of course since we are in Italy and I am learning the language too)
    - can commit to be here for at least 2 weeks.

    Now, if you made it this far reading our profile and would like to apply, write "Vento" in the subject or at the beginning of your message, you'll get an extra point! For other extra points, you can tell us why you are choosing this project over another, and what contribution you think you would bring.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read our profile and we’d love to hear from you! Any questions? Don't hesitate, just let us know!

    Much love,
    Luca & Christin

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You have the possibility to be part of a very nice project and shape its future together with us. You can bring up any idea and we can discuss different possibilities and learn and grow together.

  • Help


    We welcome help caring for our animals and need help building areas for them. Also depending on the season our plants have to be watered or we need help planting or harvesting. Outside of hours dishes have to be washed, food has to be prepared etc.

  • Languages spoken

    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    You can either camp on our property, so sleep in a tent or in a hammock (in summer). Or you could also stay in our campervan when it’s free. There is a compost toilet and electricity point at the campsite. 20 meters away, there is a house that is a common a shared space, with kitchen, hot water, shower, toilet, electricity, and everything that is necessary in a house. Temperatures range from 20Cmin-45Cmax in summer, 5Cmin-20Cmax in winter. The campsite and everywhere else on our property have an amazing view on Etna. We dont have wifi, but we have a good phone coverage and can give you hotspot when we are around.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Just contact us for any further info. Thank you :)

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We have space for a campervan on our property.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 371185842148

Feedback (21)


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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

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