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We are Simona and Davide, a couple of 37-year-old philosophers, and Ulisse, our child (born in 2017). We live in a sunny untouched place in Sicily near Ragusa, in the countryside of Chiaramonte Gulfi, in a typical old sicilian stone country house that we are restoring by ourselves. Around the house we have an hectare of land where we are practicing organic farming: there are about sixty olive trees, some old oaks, pines, cypresses, indian figs, many fruit trees (figs, orange and lemon trees, pomegranates, pear, plum, almond and carob trees) and an organic vegetable garden. There is a small cave in our land, and a creek flows through our valley if in wintertime it rains enough. We live with a variable number of cats and kittens and with Nìura, our dog.
We have embraced a simple and slow way of life and we enjoy living in the countryside, far away from city traffic (the nearest town is 7 km away) and without TV (we love quiet and silence). We are trying to live in an ecological way with as little money as possible! We are two freethinkers, and our philosophy tends towards rationalism, realism, anarchism and atheism. Our common interests, other than philosophy, are books, movies, music… and cooking, of course: we sincerely believe that the flavors that Sicily can offer are the best in the world! In addition, Davide plays electric guitar and loves DIY, Simona practices yoga and meditation.
Our philosophical house is a convivial place where exchange ideas and experiences and work and eat together! Since 2015 we have hosted over 70 workawayers (if we don't have a corresponding number of feedback it's just because we were very slow in exchanging feedback...). In these years we have understood that our ideal helper is a nature lover with the desire to learn (we like to teach what we have learned over the years!), quite independent (sometimes we have many different works to do, so we'll assign you a work to do on your own) and with a certain physical resistance (the works usually are not hard, but sometimes are not suitable for desk people, not used to stay in the sun and move the body...). We also like people with a good sense of humor! If you think you are such a person we will be happy to host you! You can stay here with us for two weeks (we prefer to avoid shorter stays, unless we agree together or in a last minute offer), but you can stay also more if after a few days we understand that we are good together! But please keep on reading before contacting us, and don't worry if we don't answer you immediately: sometimes we are too busy and we only find time to reply after a week...
Babysitting / child care
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Helping us here you can learn how to grow a lush organic vegetable garden, how to self-produce a lot of necessities (from bread to soap!) and also how to restore an old house, if you are interested (recovering stone walls, building new walls, making hydraulic and electrical systems, plastering and flooring, but actually this depends on the work period...). Of course you can also learn several typical Sicilian recipes! (Some days we open our house as a pop-up restaurant...).
Also you can improve your italian talking with us. We really love to speak not only about our lifestyle, of which we can explain everything you want to know, but also about philosophy, literature, politics, economy... and this is a lot easier for us in our mother tongue! Moreover, once a month we organize a philosophical dinner with our friends to talk about a theme that we choose from time to time!
But we hope that you especially learn from us how to live in a simple way and close to nature, with no formal employment or regular job and using less money as possible! Although it is sometimes hard, we still prefer an alternative way of life rather than a job as frustrated employees... ;-)
You can help us in many ways!
In spring and summer there are a lot of works to do in the vegetable garden: to seed and plant, then till, mulch and manur, take care of plants and at the end, finally, harvest!
Specially in the summertime we work restoring our house, mostly with green building, because we really like wood, lime mortar and stonework! Last summer we completed to restore the main rooms inside, so now we are working on the other buildings around and outside the house: the goal for summer 2020 is to repair the wood-fired oven room and to build an outdoor toilet, then we will start to restore a building that we want to use as a guest room.
In autumn we pick olives (only in the years in which the olive trees are productive), collect wood for our stove and work in the garden seeding fava beans and garlic and preparing the ground for the following year.
In wintertime the main work is to prune the olive trees! But usually we don't host people in winter, or just for short periods.
You can help us, on occasion, also with our self-production: making bread, soap, jams and other preserves like tomato sauce (and maybe beer if we'll have enough time!).
Moreover, you can help us playing with our son while we are working!
We will work about 25 hours per week, plus we ask you a bit of extra help to prepare food while we cook and to clean up before and after the meals. We don't have fixed times (especially since our son was born...), so some days could be full, some days part time and some days free, depending also on the period, on the works and on the weather if we are working outdoor… We just try not to work during the hottest hours in summertime: after lunch we prefer to take a siesta!
To work in gardening or building you can need working shoes (or at least hiking shoes), old or cheap clothes (it is likely that you get dirty at work) and work gloves if you prefer (we'll provide you if you don't have it). Also, we suggest you to use sunglasses, sunscreen and hat if you need (here summer it's very hot and sunny!) and anti-mosquito spray in the summertime, if you think some mosquitoes can be annoying for you (not for us, we don't use any repellent).
We can accommodate a person or a couple in our old camper and more people in our tents in summertime, if the camper is busy (if you prefer you can still camp in tent under the trees: there is a lot of space around the house, and we can provide you with a good tent). Both the camper and the tents have a double bed: we will provide you sheets, pillows and blankets.
Our house at this moment is mostly an open plan, so we don’t have yet a proper guest room inside. But we have a couch in case of need: if the camper is momentary busy or if it's too cold in spring or autumn you can stay in our couch for some day... not the ultimate in privacy, however.
We have a shared bathroom inside the house with a shower and a washing machine, and we plan to build soon another toilet outdoor (we should also restore our compost toilet to produces humanure). We do not want to pollute our soil with chemical detergents, so we use only self-produced vegetable soap and shampoos: we will ask you to use them too.
There is a common kitchen indoor with a dishwasher, and a cooker outdoor where we usually cook in the summertime. We cook mostly vegetarian meals, organic if possibile; in the summertime we'll eat plenty of delicious tomatoes, lettuces, eggplants, zucchini and onions from our organic garden! Keep in mind that we eat everyday lots of pasta and bread (we're in Italy!), often cheese and eggs, and meat once a week: if you have special dietary requests (gluten-free, fruitarian or need to eat a lot of meat) unfortunately we can't afford to buy extra food for you. Also, if you like to drink a lot of wine we have to ask you for a contribution to buy it, since it's the most expensive thing we buy!
We do not have a wi-fi indoor with unlimited internet connection. If you need internet we can certainly turn on the hotspot in our smartphone so you can browse, but our connection is limited (no youtube or video calls). To finish, if you have read this far, as we hope, please write us in your message which is your favorite song or musical composition. In this way we will understand that you have really read our profile!
N.B. True nature can sometimes be dirty, smelly and pungent. Ok, we’re exaggerating! We mean: if you have a citizen vision of nature (with lawns and English gardens), maybe this isn’t the right place for you. But if you are a true nature lover, you are welcome!
The best way to come here probably is by plane. Comiso Airport (13 km away from our house) currently provides flights from Rome, Milan, Pisa, London, Frankfurt and Brussels (check Ryanair.com). If you land in Comiso we will pick up you with our car.
Alternatively you can fly to Catania Airport (85 km from us) and then take a bus from the airport to Ragusa, provided by Etna Trasporti (check Etnatrasporti.it). Just get off at "Coffa", 20 minutes before Ragusa (if in doubt, ask the driver: it's a bus stop inside a Lukoil gas station, at these coordinates: 37.032300, 14.658450) and we'll pick up you in the car.
If you are yet in Italy you can also come on a bus (check Saistrasporti.it or Buscenter.it or else Flixbus.it – or Astsicilia.it from Palermo or Siracusa), arriving in Ragusa or Catania (then you have to take the bus to Coffa provided by Etna Trasporti).
If you want to come by train (check Trenitalia.it), we strongly suggest you to stop in Catania, and then take a bus from there to Ragusa (Coffa stop, Etna Trasporti again, read above for details...), because the final part of train journey after Catania it's insanely slow and inefficient (4 or 5 hours with 2 or 3 changes, whereas bus takes only 1h30min...). Luckily train station and bus station in Catania are very close. Anyway the nearest train station to our house is in Ragusa, 30 km away from us. From there you have to walk a kilometer to the bus terminal and take a bus to Coffa (Etna Trasporti, yes...).
In your free time, from our home you can easily walk through the woods which are full of beautiful paths and views, go for a bike ride on the countryside (we can lend you our bikes) so you can reach the centre of Chiaramonte Gulfi or other towns around if you are in good shape, or simply stay under the trees reading and thinking in peace, relaxing or whatever else you want.
Once a week we go to the city of Ragusa for our affairs: so you can come with us to visit Ragusa and especially Ibla, the wonderful baroque old part of the city. From Ragusa you can also reach by bus or by train other baroque Sicilian cities like Modica and Scicli, the Donnafugata castle and some beautiful beaches in summertime (Marina di Ragusa, Punta Secca, Donnalucata): we just advise you not to rely too much on sicilian public transport, because sadly does not always work well… Moreover, twice a month we like to go to the sea in our favourite beach, Randello (it's a natural reserve, far away from tourism and impossible to reach by public transport): if you stay at least for two weeks, surely we will go together!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
25 hours per week (variable)
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