Come and help on an eco permaculture sanctuary in Sicily, Italy

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  • Last activity: 24 Feb 2024



 Min stay requested: 1 month or more



  • Description


    1 month minimum stay
    Our beautiful farm is situated in a small canyon created by a continuously flowing river called Manghisi inside a natural reserve. Here there are an incredible number of wild plants and flowers, animals, migratory birds and wild tortoises. The river is full of fish and is lined by huge trees including walnut trees. Through the wildness we have found an ancient jumping platform where children and adults through the centuries have enjoyed jumping into the deep pools.

    "Please read all our profile and calendar before getting in touch with us"

    1) 3 weeks minimum stay, we are also looking for skilled/experienced longer stay workaways, But first we always have up to one week trial to see if work for both us and get on well..
    2) We are In Italy, the kingdom of gluten diet. Sorry but We are not suitable for gluten free workaways. We grind our own local grain to make our pasta and bread.
    3) Minimum age 24 years old for workaways with no feedback.
    4) Please Let us know which food you don't eat. Very important

    5) Permaculture its a way of life not just the gardening aspect. We dont have a commercial veg garden but we move with season, summer is super hot here ( 50 degrees ) , so the summer garden is not the best. We are also concetrating on building a place for running workshop , eating toghether after hikes , big tents for accomodations for groups and learning all his needed for this kind of activities.

    The farm and watermill has been abandoned for the the last 60 years, nature took back all the buildings, which we have started restoring. Me (Sicilian) and my wife (UK), after 6 years of off grid life in yurts in England, decided to move back to the warmth of Sicily to continue our lives here. This was the first place we found (or what we feel is that it found us). In August 2013 we embarked on an epic journey transporting all our yurts, tools and materials from England to Sicily in a 16m lorry used to export tomatoes and vegetables from Sicily. After 8 years living in our yurts we now live in our off grid house built with the help of many workaways, also we now have our beautiful children our son, Alfeo, who was born in October 2014 and daughter, Flora born in December 2016.

    In the UK we ran a conservation organisation working to raise awareness, create and protect habitats for wild bees and pollinating insects but we are also artists, entomologists, and doers. Carlo is now a qualified Nature and Historical Guide. We work hard but believe in living life well and enjoying life's simple riches. We are working here to create a Non Profit environmental educational centre. We have already created an organic vegetable garden, planted fruit trees, have welcomed chickens, sheep, 2 dogs and 1 cats into our family and are on the verge of completing a house, outdoor kitchen and bathroom for campers. Thanks to all the workaways, friends and family we are making huge strides in restoring the other buildings, managing the land and are planning to set up craft/educational workshop spaces, and renovate the watermill. We are also committed to generating our own energy and remaining off grid.
    We also make a home restaurant for tourists! We are food obsessed, and great cooks, we believe In growing our own food in our organic garden and eating the wild plants that grow here, helping us to be as independent as we can. We are in the process to writing a receipe book. We have had many Workaways who were professional cooks coming to stay to get inspired by the unique Sicilian ingredients and the abundant food of this island. Over the years we have collected recipes from workaways from all around the world.
    We spend lots of time making lots of food, conserves, jams, tomatoes passata, bread, pasta, pickled vegetables and we pressure can food to keep us going through the winter We don't waste any surplus from our crops. We also pick olives to make our own olive oil. Trying to stay away as much possible from super market.

    Why Eco Nature Sanctuary ?

    ECO: In our farm all our electric energy comes from sustainable source, we have been living for over 14 years completely off grid and we plan to do so until we are alive. No bills life, free up your dream life.

    NATURE: The farm is located inside a natural reserve, surrounded by a river with above small cliff protecting the farm, we have many diverse Sicilian habitats inside the same farm, welcoming an incredible variety of bio-diversitiy. The river makes it a hot spot for wildlife, a Sicilian jungle, most especially in the Summer time when may not rain for at least 3 months.

    SANCTUARY: This is not a Sanctuary in the sense that we look after protected species like RSPB or WWF, but because this land has always been remembered in history as a sacred place of great importance and is now a sanctuary for many wild plants and animals but also for all who come to stay here. Inside our land we have heavy archeological restrictions because there are many evidence that was a sacred place. You will be able to visit a over 2000 year old cemetery, made by Siculi one of the first civilisation of Sicily, then used by Greeks and Romans and we have also beautiful cave altars and more.


    Workaways now are staying in the yurts and caravan. We are in the process to finish facilities for the environmental centre.
    Carlo has become a Naturalist Guide taking tourists around the most beautiful natural reserves of our area, which are full of waterfalls and clear fresh water pools, time to time he works also for a company that makes cookery tours for international cooks and food-lovers, visiting the kitchens of the best restaurants in Sicily.
    Jessie is an artist, maker, gardener, herbal woman, weaver, builder, social and environmental thinker and doer, mummy and English teacher.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Charity Work
    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Babysitting and creative play
    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

    Here you can learn about living close to the land, making, building, organic gardening, foraging, gentle land management, grafting, cooking, woodwork, and much more....

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    We ask a minimum stay of 3 weeks to 4 weeks, but already many people have returned and we are also now ready to host longer term skilled/experienced Workaways.
    The varied tasks are carried out in a friendly atmosphere for 5 hours a day.
    We ask for a 4 euro per day contribution..
    We also look for Workaways who are independent and can cook.

    No Tabacco SMOKERS live here, many smokers choose this place to quit , we really like people that come with that intention..

    *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ Why is a contribution is required ? –

    To achieve our long term goal to create an educational retreat centre, the Workaway team has agreed to support us in asking for this small contribution towards food (4Euros per day). The Workaway team works really hard to select projects that are worth supporting in this way. We are a very rare case and in exchange we thank you and the the workaway team, by making sure that people coming to stay with us eat extremely well and have an excellent experience.
    We love to cook really good, fresh and organic food and here you can also learn traditional Sicilian cooking.

    Help needed

    Remember life on the land is very different from the "push button" lifestyle in a city. Everything requires a physical effort, this effort is what we love about living in nature, with nature and connected to nature. For most people this effort is called "hard work", for us it is called "living" and it makes us feel alive. Many styles of living nowadays requires no effort, we like the sense of satisfaction that "effort" gives us.
    We have found that many people who visit us are not used to physical work because they never have had to use their bodies in such a way (eg. Collecting water and digging). Coming here will hopefully reconnect you with the memory locked in your body, passed on from your ancestors who for thousands of years used that effort (physical work) to keep your family alive. In the meantime our ancestors were connected to the natural world in order to survive. We hope to share a way of living that connects the head, the heart and the hands.

    If you expect to use no effort during your stay, please visit other hosts.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    Spanish: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    Depending on the time of the year Yurts, tents, caravan and some rooms in the house are available in winter time. Spaces usually are shared by more than one Workaway. We do our best to make it as comfortable as possible for you during your stay. We have lived off-grid for many years and we have everything we need but the facilities are pretty basic by modern standards and it not always easy during winter months. Do not expect en-suite bathrooms and endless hot water but we now have a bathroom in the house with a flushable toilet and the possibility to heat up water for a shower.


  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We are situated between 3 nature reserves, Vendicari, Cavagrande and Pantalica. It is situated in the countryside between Palazzolo Acreide (10km), Cannicattini Bagni (7km) and Noto (18km). It takes 30 mins to get to the sea by car. It is very easy to get to and from our farm gate by bus. The best airport to get to us is Catania Airport. There are 4 buses per day from Catania Airport via Siracusa, it is the bus for Palazzolo Acreide. But BE AWARE that the last bus from airport leaves at 18:30 and there are NO buses on Sundays. We ask if possible that you arrive on Tuesday.
    Also if you choose other landing destination from wherever you land in Sicily you need to get to Catania to get to us.

    Please understand that travel is always an adventure. Sometime things happen and "you" have to accept it, but we try our best to support you in your arrival to us.

    At weekends or in the evenings we often like to explore special places of natural/historical importance around our local area or go to the sea. Many people choose to join us. We kindly ask a small contribution towards fuel.

    We believe it is important to enjoy life, to live creatively and to be passionate about life so we especially welcome craftspeople, boffins, musicians, artist, positive pirates and everyone who is open to sharing and learning.

    Finally… If you would like to bring a gift, we love to remember our Workaways, so if possible….. please bring a recipe, a song or album or a book to share with us….
    WE LOVE TAHINI PASTE, Music, books, something you have made to decorate for this land.

  • 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

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    maximum 5 hours, 5 days per week ( you will need to track your hours)

  • ...

    This host charges a fee

    read more
    no more than €4 per day
Host ref number: 923626153183

Feedback (135)



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Accuracy of profile: (4.8)

Cultural exchange: (4.8)

Communication: (4.9)

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