I have arrived in Italy after nearly 24 hours of travel with a 21 month old, I am tired but the minute I am driving away from Florence airport in my rental car I see the scenery and immediately feel at home. I am excited to see a different part of Italy on this trip. We are first headed to Northern Umbria and then to the Val d'Orcia in Tuscany.
The first stop is Monestevole an ecotourism sustainable community in northern Umbria. Monestevole was originally built in the 15th century as a watch-tower for nearby castle. Over the coming centuries, additional parts were added to the tower to develop it into the current hamlet structure.
As we drove up into the hills from the nearby town of Umbertide it was clear that we would not be hearing traffic noise which is something we are constantly trying to avoid. When we arrived everyone was eating homemade pizza by the outdoor pizza oven and enjoying the carafes filled with wine. What a great welcome and start to the holiday!
The owners really do take sustainability seriously, they recycle all the water and use the gray water for irrigation and flushing toilets. The solar panels give the home enough power in the summer and once they get their new Tesla batteries they are going to be able to store the power for the non-sunny times of the year! They invite guests to plant hedges to offset their carbon footprint. They grow enough food to feed 25 people year round based on the many things that they grow and make.
This place is inspirational and even though I have only been here for 24 hours it has helped me know about what I do and don't want to do with my land once I move to Italy. Whilst I like the idea of sustainable living I also know that these practices take a lot of time and effort which I want to put into growing food, raising animals and making things (like beer, cheese, wine etc.).