The panoramic views of the Tuscan hills drenched in golden sunlight greeted us as we passed through the iron gate and down the long driveway of La Fattoria Il Poderaccio. Horses, long-legged and sleek, grazed in the pasture as two young foals frolicked nearby. One of the farm dogs greeted us with friendly eyes and wagging tail. We parked our car and inhaled the views once more before we met Lisa Ravà, our host.
The classic country architecture of the old stone buildings, some covered with flowering Bougainville, dates back to the 13th century. Read more →
I just got back from an amazing 2-week trip to Italy. Part of that time I had the pleasure of staying at Lisa Ravà’s panoramic agriturismo, Il Poderaccio. She invited me to meet with her early in the morning to feed the horses (all 15 of them). I came, but she did all the work while I chatted and observed.
You will not believe the beauty of this early Tuscan morning…..take a look!
Once more, I am filled to capacity with the most amazing experiences gathered in these last two weeks during my trip to Italy. Is it still bella Italia after all this time? Oh yes, in more ways than I could ever have imagined. This trip introduced me to a deeper understanding of the different amenities of both the north and south. Each is quite different from the other. But all together, they blend into a country that is richly diverse, resulting in a culture thousands of years in the making. People who, for the most part, are warm and hospitable, who care deeply for their land, and who live out their daily lives with dignity.
I’ve had the good fortune to stay at three different accommodations, each one quite distinct from the other. In comparison, they proved to be equally delightful. The proprietors who operate/own them are as wonderful as the amenities they have to offer. I am excited to share each one with you and plan to introduce them over the next few months. I feelstrongly that each one deserves its own spotlight.
I hope that you will check back and discover what I have… that there are beauty, warmth, and possibilities beyond your expectations. Come and meet the people who offer an authentic Italian experience. Find out what makes their hotels, agriturismos, and accommodations so unique. I am inspired to share each one with you.
The rolling hills of Tuscany are alive with endless rows of vines. In fact, wine is produced over most of the territory in this region of central Italy. The passion, gusto, and delightful flavors of the wine is directly related to the heart and soul of this beautiful land full of myths and legends. However, the historical truth is much more interesting. Read more →
To experience Italy from a local perspective, discover it’s ancient traditions and feel the passion of the local artisans and producers who cherish the entire life of the product, from farm to table….this is clearly the real Italy.
Arianna Cini, who operates KM Zero Tours in Chianti, works closely with local producers and artisans who cherish the tradition and old ways of Tuscany. Her dedication to sharing “a restorative experience for body and soul” with others is impressive. So when I saw this video about the wheat harvest in Tuscany posted by Arianna, I was greatly inspired. It wasn’t the camaraderie alone in the video that caught my attention, although I loved watching these Italians work so well together, but it was more….
It was their deep desire to work closely with the land and embrace the old ways of growing and harvesting ancient grains.
I decided to research a little further about wheat-growing in the village of Montespertoli and discovered an exciting story. Until roughly 8 years ago, bread was made by locally grown wheat consisting of modern varieties. It lacked the unique features desirable in a hearty, aromatic loaf of bread everyone loves.
At that time, Prof. Stefano Benedettelli from the University of Florence researched the ancient wheat varieties and contacted miller Gianni Paciscopi from Montespertoli. Together they worked to find farms that would grow these ancient grains and to regain the knowledge of the old ways of processing wheat into bread, which had been lost. The producer, miller, pasta maker and baker began to reestablish their working connection, once again using the stone-grinding mills.
A three-year crop rotation is used to keep the wheat-growing land fertile and healthy. The results have been met with great satisfaction by both the producers and consumers as the loaves of bread are far superior in both taste, texture and health benefits. As one of the top producers of wine and olive oil in Tuscany, making bread using ancient, local grains has become a high priority in Montespertoli.
It remains a challenge to produce the wholesome ancient wheat as farms continue to feel the pressure to cut costs while many of the consumers continue to purchase cheaper products as a result of their decreased purchasing abilities. However, farms remain that are dedicated to keeping the old ways alive and embrace the production of high-quality wheat.