“To invite someone to be our guest is to undertake responsibility for his happiness all the time he is under our roof.”Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
In 2003 we chanced upon this little neglected farm perched on a ridge in northern Tuscany. Abandoned for 30 years it was a tangle of bramble and overgrown vines.
We embarked on an adventure to return Col di Lavacchio to its former glory and in so doing unearthed a wealth of delights: wild herbs and fungi, an abundance of nuts, trees laden with a variety of fruits and wide fertile terraces ripe for planting. There was no business plan to follow just a desire to build a future and to share this little patch of tranquillity with others.
Our planting programme has included 110 olive trees, 40 fruit trees including apples, apricots, pear and quince, a small vineyard and countless herbs. With some wonderful produce available to buy locally we plant our two vegetable plots with rare or unusual varieties. Our fowl include 3 different breed of duck and 4 rare breed hens with numbers ranging from 25 to 70 providing us with ample organic meat and eggs. All of our produce is available for purchase by our guests.
Our photo voltaic plant is the most obvious of our attempts at environmental responsibility but the solar panels for hot water, rainwater catchment tanks, wood fired central heating, composting scheme and organic principles all contribute. Our hay meadow results in a riot of wild flower colour in June and an array of butterflies. As we enter our second decade here we continue to learn; our Italian neighbours are willing teachers.
We share our property with Finty the lurcher, the farm cats Clarty, Spud, Sin and Huei as well as sheep, goats, ducks, hens, lizards, porcupines, fireflies, boar, deer, squirrels, jays, eagles, hoopoes, badgers…