A selection of our feedback from hosts and workawayers
I'm at a loss for words on where to even begin describing my time at Francesca's beautiful home. I had previously spent a month in the much busier Catania before deciding that something with a slower pace and involving a higher interaction with nature was needed to continue my journey in Sicily.
By the second day, Francesca and I had already formed a close bond that led me to being not only her gardener but also her new cello teacher. Francesca is an accomplished pianist and herself, a piano teacher. It says a great deal about a host who is so eager to learn from others. As a former school teacher, you will immediately notice Francesca has a passion for teaching. As someone who was trying to learn about Sicilian history/culture as well as the Italian language, Francesca was so helpful to me, and in only a month I feel so much more equipped to continue my travels around Italy. After my stay, leaving Francesca was very difficult, as it felt like leaving behind a mother.
Francesca's home seems to always be filled with artists. It runs less as a B&B and more like a world renowned artists' retreat, attracting fellow world travelers from all backgrounds, musicians, and even Yogis. I should note that her home is not only filled with artists but also art from her travles all over the world.
Besides the incredible guests and other workawayers I met, you will undoubtedly spend time with her son and daughter, Stefano and Helena. Both are beautiful musicians and beautiful people. As a musician, I was quickly welcomed into Stefanos group of friends, accompanying him on trips into Ortigia, learning the style of traditional Italian songs and Brazilian and classical inspired Jazz. Like their mother, both Stefano and Helena have a passion for travel and learning through new experiences. Both are also just super funny, and so welcoming to a traveler just beginning to learn their culture and language.
The perfect Workaway experience is completed with getting to know Francesca's sweet Sicilian mother, Nonna Nella. Nonna speaks about two words of English, but her love of her children and all who come onto her farm is apparent, from relentless commands to "mangi" to insisting on sewing your clothes when she notices tears or loose buttons.
Francesca is the great matriarch of a community as diverse and beatiful as the Sicilian landscape. I cannot recommend a better first stay in Sicily and a first Workaway experience. If you are open minded and love people and nature, with a servants heart ready and willing to contribute to the paradise she has created, you will find in the Garden, a place you will call home for the rest of your life.
Joe, an excellent budding architect, was instrumental in the creation and construction of the stone walls and block swimming pool from ground up! All this was done during his stay of just 3 months. He and fellow workawayer Jack became very best of friends, workmates and a dynamite duo in all things! Joe brought carful consideration, lists and specs, architectural elevations and plans, detail drawings, material lists and quantities to assist and facilitate in the organization and flow of this massive project. Most of the aforesaid was done during his off hours while during working hours he, Jack and those who assisted them moved over 200 tones of stone by hand in the construction of the mighty walls. Following the wall project the block construction of the swimming pool was started, also heavy work, and done beautifully. The amount and quality of work achieved during those 3 months is incredible. behind it all, Joe is soft spoken and considers what he says. He is considerate. He is the first to step forward and start to cook, to clean, first to pick the heaviest stone and lift it off the ground. Joe is a really great young guy and I don't think there is any situation he would not improve were he to take part.
I am very grateful for his participation here and am looking forward to seeing him again in the near future.
Little monkeys!!! When I arrived here, I never imagined what was about to happen. This is what happens when you don’t have a lot of expectations... You’re open to surprise. This is not just a project, it is something else. It is home, it’s a family, it’s love. Love for everything and everyone, love and respect.
From the moment I arrived here, I felt like home. People welcomed me as part of the family, made my day an incredible day, and it’s been like this every day since I’ve been here. Inspiring, caring, loving people from all over the world from which I’ve learned a lot.
I’ve had my space to change, to think, to accept, to grow as a person and as an individual inside a comunity. Eating with chopsticks? NEVER IN MY LIFE. Only here. Eating in a weird position without a chair and a table? NEVER IN MY LIFE. Except from here... Not prejudging anyone from the moment you see them? NEVER IN MY LIFE, except here, that I just put judging away and used my time to LOVE everyone from the moment I saw them. And you know? You get so much more. You get friendships that you’ll never loose, even if they’re thousands of kilometres away. You get an amazing place, Barra da Lagoa and this island, Florianapolis, which is indescriptible. You get to know Marina and Morilo and be so inspired by them, loving each other, caring for each other. You realize how many things in your life are so stupid and not worth worrying about when you get to know people like them. I just have words of love...
Dream big, be yourself, let yourself go and PLAY!!! Play like a kid. Let things happen as they have to, don’t rush, be patient... Synchronicity. It is not just a wifi password... It is so much more than that, but I’ll let you discover it for yourself...
I guess it’s different for everybody. This is my first big trip alone – though I haven’t felt alone in any moment... For me this was getting so out from my comfort zone, and I am so happy I did. I wake up everyday thinking how to make the most of my day, and I just do it. Because I have the right space and the right people to do it, and when those things are combined, nothing can stop you.
I go back to Barcelona with tears in my eyes, but they’re happy tears. I come back more empowered, more conscious, with a more fulfilled heart, full of experiences and people. And I’ll share everything I’ve learned and lived with as many people as possible in order to make this world a better place for everyone. With respect and love. For yourself and for every being on this planet. That’s what it is all about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi , we are John and Tracy from Liverpool UK we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to share some time with this wonderful and charming family in the beautiful Tuscan hillside. We were given a lovely, fully equipped appartment which was very comfortable .Erika's cooking is excellent and we really enjoyed the healthy meal times which were the focal point of the day often with the added bonus of English lessons from Riccardo . The painting which we did was rewarding and did not feel like work as there was always time for a chat to share stories and generally relax.The walks from the house with Ercole - the jack Russell , were stunning and we were also made welcome by the neighbours . We shared a trip to Florence with Erika and Riccardo for the firework display and feel like we have made friends in this lovely couple whom we will certainly meet again and remain friends. Viola and Alessia are good fun and have so much going on there is always something to talk about. We look forward to meeting up again later in the summer - Ciao xx
I have no words to express the wonderful and unforgettable EIGHT MONTHS I spent here from September 2015 to April 2016.
Jeronime is just incredible, her kids are amazing and their business is a DREAM came true.
Since the first day, I learnt a lot about how to manage a guest house, about the history of the place (former house of British famous writers), about the stunning and not that known part of England...
She is always willing to help you, to inform you about all the activities you can do in your free time, to make friends and even to find part-time jobs. Her character and ability to manage a business and a big family all at the same time were my best inspiration. She's a well-travelled woman, fluent in several languages, academic and she will always try to adapt to your needs.
Timetables (25 hours per week) were always flexible in order to help me work as a Spanish teacher in the area (Job found thanks to her, too). I also worked as a waitress in a local bar during the weekends and had lots of fun there!
Apart from helping her with the house / B&B, I did some decoration and gardening things that were quite rewarding for me since it was my first time doing activities like those!
I've learnt more during those months than in many years at the University, I'm sure about that! And I'll always be grateful to her and to her amazing kids for all the knowledge, family atmosphere, funny moments and delicious meals we shared together.
If you're looking for a cultural exchange, want to enjoy nature at its best, live with an awesome family, learn more about life in the English countryside and have one of the best experiences in your life, do not hesitate it and apply now! You won't regret it, you can take my word for it.