The second day of a farmer in the South of Italy

Dirt under our nails, muddy shoes and dusty clothes, this is how we, the international volunteers at Agriturismo L’Arca in Belvedere Marittimo look today.

Hiding in a valley between the hills of Calabria, away from the main road and the train rails, yet separated from them by just one row of hills, the “agriturismo” L’Arca is a jewel not many have discovered yet.Agriturismo L’Arca

“Agriturismo” is similar to a hotel or B&B with an attached farm. The farm here is on the hills and the accommodations are in modern rooms, each with its own bathroom. The restaurant can host up to 200 people and the terrazzo (patio) has a view that no words will do right to justify. The top of the surrounding hills are covered with old and older buildings (fortress and castle like walls included) clustered like grapes. They look like they all had to climb there for some obscure and secret reason.

Agriturismo L’Arca PonyL’agriturismo L’Arca farm is on a lot of land and in my three days here I have still not discovered it all. It has green houses (with a lot of plants and fruits), fruit trees, a small pond with ducks and a lot of animals. I have discovered so far that a peacock, a pony, pigs, rabbits, sheep, goats, chickens, dogs and a cat share the address here.

The building with the rooms and the restaurant is the highest building on the farm, while the pool area below that provides as much pleasure with its view as it does refreshing enjoyment in the summer’s sun. The lounge chairs by the pool are made to spoil and too soft and comfortable to leave.

Agriturismo L’Arca

Below the pool area is the pizza restaurant surrounded by a garden on three levels. The two upper levels are for tables and chairs while the bottom one is designated to music and dance. The place will open on Friday and gelato was made and tasted today. I love the pistachio one!

Most days we start at 7am picking eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers and fruits. Today that would have been OK if not for last night’s old movie with Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins dubbed speaking Italian. I absolutely had to see how it ended, as Brad was going to take Anthony with him to the land of death. My problem was that he did not do that until midnight. My few hours left to sleep made me grouchy in the morning but I guess that watching a young Brad speaking Italian was worth it. Was it?

View from a L’Arca terrazzo Belvedere Marittimo italyThe man working here starts his day even earlier in an effort to escape the summer’s hot sun. They hoe the soil, weed, dig for potatoes and tend to the animals. We all eat half an hour past noon and clean after that. The afternoon is ours to explore, relax by the pool, connect with friends and family through the Internet, watch movies or simply sleep.

Anna, the owner, is smart, friendly and very much liked by her employees. She loves the animals and the farm, and envisioned and built the whole place from the ground up.

She seems to concentrate on the farm more than advertising for tourists and the L’Arca website does not do her much good, as even the pictures do not depict the whole and real beauty of the place and the area. Her site needs a lot more work and I do not really know yet why she chooses to overlook that. I am newly arrived and I do not know her business and struggles just yet. It amazes me the huge project she took over. I admire her greatly. She is modest, unpretentious, real,  hard worker and smart. I hope that I will be able to help somehow.

Agriturismo L’Arca, Belvedere Marittimo, Italy travelswithmihaI am now in a wonderful place, a corner of paradise, surrounded by nice people, many of them Romanians. Funny, as I came to Italy this time to learn Italian. I avoided volunteering in hostels again, as last year I spoke too much English with guests in the hostel I volunteered at. A farm should have been a safer bet to meet and interact with locals. You think? Now I speak more Romanian and English and we are like in the tower of Babel as the translation goes through three languages at times.

The roads of life’s adventure are amusing and unexpected. LOL

8 Responses to “The second day of a farmer in the South of Italy”

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  1. yvonne says:

    Thanks for sharing your lovely story the place looks so beautiful and peaceful!

  2. Titiana says:

    Ceau draga, cu adevarat foarte frumoasa zona, si asta trebuie ca e agroturism daca te-a atras pe tine din State. Si la noi se incearca conceptul asta, in zonele pitoresti Maramures, Bucovina, marginimea Sibiului.
    Inghetata autentica de fistic, verde, cu gust pronuntat…minunata !
    Iar filmul cred ca e Meetig Joe Black, mie mi-a placut tare mult desi are un scor mic pe imdb…ca sa nu mai zic de Bradisoru plus Sir Anthony…Spor la treaba , la plantat si ce o sa mai fie, te urmarim cu drag.

    • Miha says:

      Mersi Titiana. Esti o scumpa. Lucrez de zor… dar si maninc! Mama Mia! Si pizza si ingetata … sa nu mai zic de nelipsitele paste si piini proaspete! Despre Brad … da era frumos ca Joe Black. LOL

  3. Titiana says:

    se face de servici si la bucatarie ? asta inseamna retete autentice de pizza, spaghete si paine ?
    asteptam retete si poze…

    • Miha says:

      Da, lucram si in bucatarie dar mai putin. Exista o bucatareasa angajata si doar uneori ajutam si noi. Ne tot miram insa cite feluri de rosii si vinete sint aici si cite feluri de retete. Cu vinete mai ales. Si sint bune! O sa fac deci poze si la vinete. Si se gatesc si florile de dovleac. Bune si ele. O sa aflu reteta. Se face si gem din dude. Asta ma incinta caci in tara se strica pe marginea drumului si sint fructe bune.

  4. James Given says:

    Hi Miha, That was a wonderful story! L’Arca looks beautiful. Sounds like you are having another spectacular adventure. Marco Polo has nothing on you :) You have been to so many different countries it boggles the mind. Sorry you haven’t been able to practice your Italian, but now that you have found yourself on the Ark maybe you can learn how to talk to the animals like Dr. Doolittle. Enjoy the farm life, it does wonders for the soul.

    All my best,
    James

    • Miha says:

      Thank you James.Coming from you it is a high compliment! You have traveled a lot, even to places I had not even dreamed of. As for the farm life, I am starting having enough of it. LOL The Italian practice is my main issue. We are the Babel Tower and I find myself speaking Romanian with the English speakers and asking Italians if they understood when things were said in their own language etc. My head is spinning, and not in the right language! LOL
      Please keep in touch. I really appreciate your friendship.
      Good luck with all your plans and dreams.
      Love, Miha

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