Hello, I'm Anna, aged 58 and live with my two dogs in a beautiful countryside near the baroque Unesco cities Modica Scicli and Ragusa. In my land there are old carob olive and almond trees, plus dozens of baby fruit trees, figs, apricot, vines, etc and aromatic herbs lavender rosemary thyme, oregano. My place is called La Bellaria, that means The Good Air, because even in the hottest days there is a fresh wind from the sea. My project is to rise an edibile forest, and live a simple and sustainable Life. In winter, I also grow a synergic vegetable garden. I am studying permaculture, organic regenerative agriculture, dryland agricolture. My long term aim is self sufficiency. At the moment, I am not totally self sufficient. My project is to give hospitality for tourists or travellers with sensibility for environment, slow travelling, enjoy the countryside.
Volunteers are a great help for me, in many ways: in the Land, in the house, in projects. In the Land there is weeding, pruning, mulching. Planting new plants and herbs. Repairing drystone walls, collecting wood for the stove. Harvesting olives, carrobs, wild plants like capers,, safran, berries. Taking (small) stones out of the ground.
This according to the season.
In the house, there is repairing, maintenance, building.
I also would like to meet people that can help me with the permacultural design of the whole project.
I would like to have people with the capacity of building wooden structures like veranda, fences, railings, tables, benches, small simple sheds for tools. I also Need people that can use a chainsaw for cutting wood.
Food will be mainly vegan, sometimes vegetarian.
I am a good vegetarian cook, so dont worry about food, even my meat-eaters friends enjoy my cooking:) I will be glad to teach you typical sicilian recipes, and to learn those of your country. You would be accommodated in a nice caravan near the house, or in a tent, if you prefer. The great news is that we have electricity at last, hurrah!! Be prepared to use a compost toilet. You will also be asked to save water, and re-use it for plants after washing yourself. For this reason I use only natural homemade soap. If you dont have a natural soap you can buy the ones that I produce. I can also teach you how to do it. Saving water means also no unnecessary washing, so consider It if you are a very hygienist person :)
For the laundry, there is a launderette in the next village.
According to the season, we will work outside about 5 hours a day, for 5 days a week, usually in the morning.
In addition to working hours, we share household duties, cooking, washing up, cleaning etc.
You will be treated and considered as part of the family, and I will do my best to make you feel at ease. This does not means that you should forget the whole experience is about working, and that you are not on holiday!
This can be misunderstood, expecially by young and unexperienced volunteers, so please consider what your expectations are, and if what you want is cheap travelling, or just an 'experience' because you are bored, this is not the place for you!
On the other hand, if you enjoy country living, nature, silence, slow rythm, if you can spend time on your own without getting bored, if you are really interested in small things surrounding you, then you will really enjoy staying at la Bellaria.
And now, something about the surroundings: you will be staying in one of the most beautiful corners of Sicily. Long sandy beaches, with shallow clear waters, rivers and ponds hidden at the bottom of amazing canyons of white stone, with caves that were inhabited until a few di decades ago. Baroque villages and cities, natural reserves, good food, wine....and much more, all within 5 to 30 minutes drive.
Of course you will have to organize yourself to explore the area, because the public transport will take you only to main cities or villages. I suggest you keep a few days before or after your stay to go travelling around. You can also choose to work full time a few days, and then have the weekend off.
My place is in the middle of the countryside, with no close bus station.
Usually I take guests to visit Modica and Scicli, very nice baroque villages, and at the seaside once or twice a week in Summer.
I am part of a group of people that gathers every second week for a mutual help in the farms. These meetings are very important because we are experiencing a way to help each other grow our projects, and to build strong community relationships. Moreover, we have a lot of fun and music and fantastic food. You will love our MAI (mutual aid ibleo)!
You can get here from the main cities by bus or train, the stop is in Modica, then I pick you up. The closest airport is Comiso, or Catania. Bring with you good walking shoes, a hat, gloves, sunscreen, a Torch, your sleeping bag or sheets, a towel.
Please feel free to ask anything you need to know before coming here. I am looking forward to meeting you!
DIY and building projects
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
travellers can experience what is like to start a project from zero, with all' the uncertainties and the adrenaline to do something new for the first time. they can put their creativity at stake or just decide to work hard without responsibility , and someone else telling them what to do. Both attitudes are positive and can find their place here.
I would be grateful to meet people that have curiosity in what I am doing, skills that we can share, creativity, good will to do jobs that can be sometimes hard or repetitive.
Help vary according to the season. From September there will be a lot to do with cutting the wood.
Generally, the help I need is for planting, weeding, pruning, mulching, restoring stone walls, cutting wood, building. I would love someone that can build simple structures like a new compost toilet, a gazebo, a table for the summer kitchen. At least a Little bit of experience in country living is required. As I often travel, I need house and dog sitters for Short periods. Volunteers applying for this opportunity, should stay at least two weeks before my departure.
There is a cozy caravan that can host two people. Three is they are close friends or a family. A lot of nice camping spots for tents under the carrob trees . I have three tents available for volunteers.
There is no hot water, the shower is outside.
We are surrounded by a typical mediterraneal landscape, made of olive and carrob trees, drystone walls, hills and caves for lovers of excursions. Long sandy beaches, baroque villages, the cities of Ragusa, Modica, Scicli a few kilometers away. we are 150 km from Catania, 70 from Siracusa, 30 from Noto. you can spend your spare time enjoing nature and history.
. please be aware that I live in a quite isolated area, that is fantastic if you love nature, but there are no pubs, restaurants and social places within a walking distance.
The next village , Scicli, is 5 km away. There you can find shops, buses, internet access.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Average 5 hours a day, 5 days a week