My name is Patrizio. I'm a 50-something Brit, who realised a long-held dream to move to the Italian countryside in July 2015. I live on my one and a half acre smallholding, for much of the year, while my wife, Susan, splits her year between Italy and her native country, Malaysia. We are both former journalists, who have left the high pressure world of television news behind. Together we are trying to create an eco-friendly place to live, as well as to host friends, family and paying guests. We are both native English speakers. Between us we can get by pretty well in French (me) and Malay (Susan), and have a basic knowledge of Spanish (me), Italian (me) and Cantonese (Susan).
The house has been dragged into the 21st century, with new plumbing, electrics and solar water heating. Outside, the land has 25 olive trees, as well as dozens of other fruit and nut trees. Both myself and Susan are keen edible gardeners, and are gradually bringing more and more of the land under organic, sustainable cultivation. Lack of water, heavy clay soil, and extremes of temperature, between baking hot summers, and sub-zero winters, makes farming without chemicals or mechanical tools a real challenge.
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
We hope vulunteers will not only learn practical skills, particularly in terms of growing organic produce, but also an appreciation of the challenges and rewards of living on a rural property, with as light an environmental footprint as possible. I love cooking, so eating communal (vegetarian) meals, will form an important part of the experience of staying here. All help in the kitchen would be appreciated. We very much hope that staying here will be a rewarding experience for volunteers. And for us too.
We need help mostly outside the house on the land. This could be anything from seasonal tasks, such as helping to create new raised beds, to harvesting olives, our main cash crop. Seeding, transplanting, watering and weeding, are year-round activities. Volunteers must have a love of growing things and/or a wish to learn about sustainable edible gardening. We have a cat, Bella, and a dog, Tilly, who have full access to the house.
Chinese (Cantonese): Beginner
The main house has two bedrooms, a large living room, sunny breakfast room, well-equipped kitchen, and brand new bathroom. The guest bedroom has twin beds, which can be pushed together to make a king size bed. So it can accommodate two friends, or a couple. Please bear in mind that this is a rustic country house. The electricity capacity is low compared to what most city dwellers are used too. For this reason all appliances are low energy, while the hot water is provided by solar power.
Water is a scarce resource in Puglia; we have to get it delivered by a water truck, as well as collecting rain water from the roof. Any sewerage goes into a basic septic tank on the land, meaning that all cleaning products, and preferably toiletries too, should be eco-friendly. Living as sustainably as possible is a requirement for any volunteers. The house has very basic internet.
Puglia is a beautiful region of Italy, with fantastic beaches, historic towns and cities galore, superb food, and a climate which tends towards the dry and sunny for much of the year. Public transport is reliable and cheap. The house itself is served by a very useful bus service from Brindisi, the most convenient airport for visitors. And the nearest town, Ostuni, is a pleasant thirty minute walk away along country lanes. Both Ostuni and Brindisi are on the main railway line from Rome. I am happy to go into much greater detail with prospective volunteers.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week