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This is not a typical Workaway. Please read below for more information.
We are looking for people to do a cultural exchange. We would like you to be part of our family, which means spending time working and socializing with the family. We are looking for two people, preferably a couple or two friends. We have a requirement that you stay a minimum of three weeks or a month, in order to teach all the tasks and justify the time spent training and getting to know you.
We often like to eat meals toghether, especially during the first week or so as we get to know you. However after we get acclimated, you can determine your own work and meal schedule.
During the period of June-September (maybe a bit into May and October), the main activity will be hay making. This will require raking the fields which can be physically challanging labor (especially during hot days of July and August). However, the views are amazing and you can take breaks as necessary. Other tasks include housekeeping, gardening, barn cleaning, herding cattle, playing/educating children, practicing languages.
Franco and Maddalena only speak Italian, so we recommend that you know intermidiate Italian in order to speak with them, or at least some basics so Franco can give you commands regarding the work. Regardless, Elenonora can translate so it is not absolutely necessary, but preferable. Franco is great at communicating with his hands.
We are a small family living in a mountain village, Crodo, which is in the north of Italy, very close to the border of Switzerland (25 minutes by car). The elevation of Crodo is around 500 meters.
Our philosophy is to do what we can in order to be responsible and respectful of the environment. We respect both nature and the people around us. We try to balance work and life at the same time.
Franco (58) runs a dairy farm started by his grandfather. He started working as a young boy and has always been doing it with passion and tenacity. Currently the farm has 40 cows. Franco has adapted to the changes brought in the last decade and has built a new style barn with a modern system of milking. He belongs to the local social cooperative , where he sells his milk in exchange for discounts on some of the dairy products they produce (cheese, butter, yogurt, etc.). As a Workawayer you can also take advantage of this discount.
Eleonora (38) received an advanced degree in Political Science from the University of Pavia. She has worked abroad in tourism. She has also held Italian language courses for foreigners. She has studied over 7 languages in her life and loves to learn new phrases from other languages. Currently she speaks Italian, English and French. After meeting Franco in 2007 she became interested in agriculture, she started to learn more about the job, helping him in the barn and in other related activities. In addition to her duties helping with the farm and the house, she works as a freelancer for the local newspaper and also applies for other short-term projects.
Maddalena (9) is our daughter. She is very independent and loves to play. You can try to study and play with her but it depends on her mood.
Our main house is located near the center of Crodo, about 30 minutes by foot or 5 minutes by car. We have an orchard of trees (non fruit-bearing) in our backyard, where the cabins are also located. The house is part of a complex of units, and other family members live in these units. The unit closest to the street is a great restaurant and we are friends with the owners.
We don't have any wi-fi in our house, but there is a place in town that you can use for free, but it is a 30 minute walk away.
The barn is near the center of town and you will have to walk there and/or back occasionally. However we will typically drive you to the worksites. We buy groceries about once per week (exept bread is more frequent), so you will have to wait a little bit or tell us in advance.
There are a few restaurants and shops in town which serve things like pizza, gelato, bread, produce, wine etc. They are reasonably priced, but the selection is limited, so for certain things you will have to wait until we go to Domodossola (the closest large town). We go there about once every two weeks.
There is a bus that runs to and from Domodossola a few times a day and it is about 30 minutes from the house. The closest airport is Milano Malpensa which can be reached by train or bus (Alibus, wich needs to be booked in advance), and that is about 1,5 hours from Domodossola.
Babysitting / child care
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
As mentioned before, we are looking for a cultural exchange. We are a quiet family and, when possible, we like to relax sharing stories or playing board games.
If your goal is learning/improving Italian language and culture, here it is a good occasion for sharing our cultures and get to know each other. You can share with us your passions and hobbies (playing instruments, music, art, etc).
Eleonora likes horse-riding, and she has her own horse, Lucky. She would be happy to show you how to care for and ride him, if you are interested.
You can join us to local events (especially during summer time), so you will have the opportunity to experience the culture and community in Crodo (such as festivals, musical performances, church events, etc.). However sometimes you will be on your own, so we like people to be able to be independent. We will be glad helping you giving advice on how to discover our beautiful territory.
All proposals for good practice improvement will be considered and also a space for a personal project will be left.
We have a wide range of activities, but these will mostly be driven by the demands and opportunities of the day (and of the season). You will have some discretion based on your desires and abilities.
1) HEYMAKING. This is the primary task from June-September as already mentioned. This is weather dependent, so if it rains or looks like rain, we will resort to other activities.
2) HOUSEKEEPING. As the kitchen is a common area for all family members, we appreciate our Workawayers actively help us maintaining it clean and tidy. After every meal we wash dishes, sweep and clean the table. About once per week we sweep and mop the kitchen, clean the bathroom, sweep the grounds, weed the flower beds. Occasionally you will help with garden tasks like cleaning branches and stones, raking, trimming herbs.
3) VEGETABLE AND OFFICINAL HERBS GARDEN. We need help for weeding and collecting products.
4) CHILDCARE. If you speak Italian (or want to improve/learn Italian), you can talk a lot with Maddalena. Regardless, you can play with her and try to sit with her as she does her homework. You can help her practicing her English.
5) BARN CLEANING. Every day, the cows need to be fed, milked, their stalls cleaned of manure and their beds made with straw. Franco usually does this himself, but can teach you if you are staying one month or more, and when time permits, after hey making.
6) COW HERDING. Once a week or so, we may need to move the cows from one pasture to another. This usually involves a trip further into the mountains, than leading/following the cows to the next pen and building or to open any fence for them.
7) PRACTICING LANGUAGES. We would love to teach you Italian and we like to learn other languages.
8) COOKING. We like to have meal toghether, when possible, but not always have the time to cook, so having someone expert at cooking would be a pro. Moreover Eleonora and Maddalena like to try new dishes, so will be glad trying specialities from your country.
Our work is difficulte to schedule, especially during summer time, as it varies every day and sometimes during the day. We have to depend on changes in the weather and other things that come up. Therefore we like people who are flexible, proactive, motivated, and are also easygoing.
Italian, English (Eleonora), French (Eleonora)
You will be staying in the cabins in the orchard which has a bedroom (with two single beds) and a sitting room (with table and chairs). It's a very simple accomodation with no bathroom, no electricity, thin matresses and pillows. Howeveer it is comfortable temperature at night and quiet. There are also candles you can use for lighting. We have plenty of blankets, so you won't be cold (if the case take with you a sleeping bag and a torch).
We also have space for a tent or a camper van. You will have some privacy here and can enjoy the river nearby. Please be advised that there are many flies and sometimes mosquitos (summer time only) so you may have to bring bug spray or other things if these annoy you at night.
You will have access to the kitchen (with stove, fridge, pots, pens, plates, utensiles, etc.). We don't have a microwave or owen. You also have access to the bathroom with a shower and a washing machine. We ask that you only use the washing machine once a week, or you can pay us 2 euros per extra load to cover the costs, or bring plenty of clothes.
You can use the orchard to relax or do whatever activities you like (meditatin, exercice, reading, playing etc.) in your free time.
We provide food for 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner).
Crodo is a beautiful mountainous area, where many people come to visit to do outdoor activities and sports.
If you like biking in the mountais (either on roads or off-road), we recommend you bring your own bike, as there are lots of paths to explore. It is possible to rent an e-bike. We also have a couple of bikes that you can borrow for short trips.
There are also plenty of choices for all skill levels for things like hiking, running, climbing, and bouldering. People say we have the most beautiful spots in Northern Italy. Some of them may be difficult to reach without a car, but they can be walket to if you desire. The same bus that goes to Domodossola also runs through the valley a few times a day.
Main most sites: Orridi di Uriezzo, Casa della Montagna museum in Viceno, Water and Mineral Museum in Crodo, Parco delle Terme garden in Crodo, Terme di Premia (pool and spa), Veglia-Devero Natural park, Cascata del Toce (waterfall) in Formazza.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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