Tuscany farmhouse accommodation, Italy

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
We are very conscious of doing our best to protect this outstandingly beautiful place. There is an abundance of natural resources here which allows us to offer a very light carbon footprint to our guests. We list below our efforts at keeping the environmental impact of your holiday to an absolute minimum:

Photo voltaic solar panels generate electricity - no carbon generated.
Fruit n' veg 10 yards from the front door - no carbon generated.
Water from a natural spring - no carbon generated.
Wood burnt in the colder months - a genuine renewable.
Everything grown on the land is totally organic and free of all pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
The swimming pool is a salt water pool and therefore chlorine free.

Utilities:

Solar panels: The electricity supply is entirely generated by solar panels fitted by a local Pisa firm to the roofs. These generate up to 12 kw of solar energy, saving over 15 tons a year of CO2 emissions, sufficient for the two guest farmhouses and for our house and our recording studio and swimming pool. In this respect we are more than carbon neutral - we are carbon positive.

We are connected to the National Grid and are in effect a micro power plant. The panels cannot be seen as they are on the roofs, so there is no detrimental impact upon the architectural beauty of the stone-built farmhouses. We are the first on these hills to do this and our efforts have already resulted in two of our near neighbours following in our footsteps.

Energy reduction: We use energy efficient light bulbs and turn off our lights and electrical appliances. We ask guests to use dishwashers and washing machines only when full.

Recycling: All glass, plastic, tins, paper, tetrapaks are separated and recycled.

Water: We share a natural water spring which bubbles out of the rock up the hill from the farmhouses and provides water to both the houses and the swimming pool. It is natural mineral water, professionally analysed and safe to drink. We collect rainwater from the roofs which we use to water the garden and allotments during the drier months. The overflow flows into the grove and is directed around the base of some of the olive trees. The farmhouses are supplied with eco- washing up liquid, clothes washing liquid, floor cleaners, surface cleaners - free of charge. The local cleaning company also use eco-cleaning products.

Heating: During the colder months, the farmhouses can be heated with wood which we offer to guests free of charge (this is in addition to gas central heating).

Local people and amenities
Local employment: The solar panels were fitted by a Pisa firm and the project was designed by our neighbour, Tommaso. As a rule any works needed are done by either ourselves or local firms/suppliers. The cleaning firm are from the local village. During the restoration and any further works we have always employed a local builder, Salvatore, along with plumber Massimiliano and architect, Alessandro.

Shopping locally: If you choose not to hire a car, or even if you do,prior to your arrival we’ll do your main shopping for you; just send us a list a few days before you arrive and we’ll provide you with the goods and receipt upon your arrival. Daily provisions can be purchased in the village a 30 minute walk away – or indeed, catch the bus and walk back (or vice versa!)

Using public transport: Using trains and buses one can easily get to Pisa and Lucca, and from there onto Florence, Siena, Vinci, even Rome and Venice and many many other wonderful places. We live in a separate house on the land and are often on hand to help our guests in every way possible. From booking a table at a restaurant, to helping out with tickets for the many and varied sights the area has to offer, and general guidance on how to make the most of your holiday.

Nature
We are completely organic. For fertilizer we use the wood ash burnt from the winter. This we store and use periodically on the allotments. In addition, we use locally collected horse manure. Our hillside is in an environmentally protected zone. There is no heavy industry nearby.

Seasonal and organic fruit and veg:
- Winter/early spring fruit and veg: Oranges, Lemons, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Fennel, Leeks, Winter Salad, wild asparagus
- Spring/early summer: Lemons, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Salad, Tomatoes, Fennel.
- Summer/early Autumn: Tomatoes, Aubergines, Salad, Peaches, Pears, Apricots.
- Autumn/early winter: Olives, Lemons, Pears and then back into the winter cycle of brassicas etc.
- All year: herbs – sage, rosemary, parsley, wild fennel (similar to dill), wild mint. Seasonal – oregano, thyme. Medicinal – Aloe Vera

Wildlife: We encourage wildlife by not blocking it or poisoning it; our land is not fenced in. We are on the lower slopes of a hill covered in acres of olive grove; above us is forest. We have birds of prey, wild boar (shy creatures who don't tend to bother us). There are a few deer on the hill, even if glimpses are infrequent. We cut the grove grasses late, after they have flowered to encourage the insects; in May and June the place is a riot of fireflies by night.

Nearby is the lagoon lake of Torre del Lago, a bird sanctuary. We have learned a lot about the trees from a now good friend Massi Giusti, also a fine artist, sculptor and didgeredoo player! Talking to the local guys about the land has helped us enormously in working the allotments. Chatting with Mauro at the bottom of the hill is always useful for tips about when to plant, when to prune and when to take cuttings.

We hope and believe our enthusiasm for what we do rubs off onto our guests and vice versa as tips from our guests are always welcome. Looking over the guests comments book attests to this.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

We always use local skills for everything we do. Local builders, local plumbers, local help for the olive grove. We source locally all our foodstuffs and wine. We support local restuarants , local guides, local suppliers. We also support Wwoof. 'Worldwide organisation of organic farmers'.

Climate

6 Reviews of Tuscany farmhouse accommodation, Italy

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 29 Aug 2015 by

It is a holiday that none of us will forget and we will definitely be back in the future. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 May 2014 by

Loved it! Really chilled out & has everything you would need and more. Just go! Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Jun 2012 by

The views are stunning, the smell of the jasmine and the evening fireflies are memories we shall savour. This was a laid-back and relaxing holiday, packed with fantastic places to visit. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Apr 2012 by

The accommodation is the perfect getaway with easy access [by car] to deserted beaches, Pisa and the relatively less crowded Lucca. The kids loved the freedom and security of the land around the house. We weren't bored for one minute and came home restored and ready to start the grind again. Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Oct 2011 by

The view from the farmhouse was most memorable, so beautiful.10/10 fantastic and plan to return. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Aug 2011 by

The view from our bedroom window was most memorable: we could see the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and all the way to the sea. We saw some migrating European bee eaters. We really enjoyed it. Colin and Luisa were friendly and helpful above and beyond what was necessary. Read full review

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