“Where would we be without salt?” James Beard We’ve been enjoying a good deal of Spannocchia’s salumi lately, from prosciutto to sopressata, and the Cinta Senese tours are underway for the season… all this got me thinking about the importance … Continued


una rondine non fa primavera “one swallow does not make Spring” While we await the much anticipated sun and sprouts of Spring, everyone at Spannocchia is preparing the interiors and exteriors around the property. As guests slowly begin filling the … Continued

Leeks and Leaks

… the alternate title Porri e Perdite was scrapped because it was missing the excitement of homophony…! Here at Spannocchia we have had our fair share of leeks… and leaks over the past couple of weeks. While the former has … Continued

New Beginnings

My first weeks at Spannocchia have been a glorious whirlwind of names, faces, and places. I am certainly still finding my footing and I have an enormous amount of appreciation for the patience and attention of everyone at Spannocchia as … Continued


My name is Jessica Haden and I am the new Education Director at Spannocchia. I have been graciously welcomed by everyone here at Spannocchia and I have especially enjoyed getting to know the talented winter volunteers over the last few … Continued


It’s a weekend of change in Italy. At national level, things are tense. Who ever wins the general election is likely to have his work cut out for him (yep, all the candidates are men). I have never met anyone … Continued

Waiter! There’s horse in my beef…

patrick meat from Sustainable Food Trust on Vimeo. In the appropriate cultural context, horse meat is a gastronomic delight. In Italy, the Parmigiani love it. About half way along Borgo S. Ambrogio, there’s a hole-in-the-wall that serves cavallo crudo. The … Continued


The weekend was chilly, granted, but it was bright and definitely snow-free. When the Farm School arrived last Friday, we were optimistic about the weather; schedules were made and activities were planned. Amber, Kim, Tess, Momoko, Aaron, Wm, and Andrew … Continued

Life OFF a Tuscan farm

So, for a little change, none of my ramblings about the importance of knowing where your food comes from, or how Cinta Senese are such a crucial component of the environmental history of this place, or how context should be … Continued


This recipe, requested by Cammie Townes Taylor, is manna to interns after a hard day chasing cows, weeding carrots or stacking a seemingly endless wood pile. When it comes to dinner, Wednesday nights are a little more special since we … Continued

Salame dolce

Even though this means ‘sweet salame’ in Italian, don’t be fooled! This is an addictive chocolate dessert that only looks like a cured pork sausage. Tiramisu is probably the only other dessert in the Spannocchia repertoire that rivals salame dolce … Continued

Lasagna al pesto

Kelsey was first to request this on Facebook so here it is! I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like lasagna al pesto at Spannocchia. It’s a winner for special occasions but if you want to make things easier for … Continued

Pâté di milza alla Toscana

Today’s recipe is spleen pâté. It’s one of our absolute favourites but can be a divisive dish when served in the Spannocchia dining room. Usually spread on toasted bread as an antipasto for Nostra Cena, this smooth umami dream topping … Continued

Pizza dough it is!

The first in our 5-part recipe share! Spannocchia’s (now-not-so-secret) pizza dough recipe. Comment on our Facebook page for tomorrow’s recipe! (Makes about 7 or 8 pizzas; a great dough for both conventional ovens AND wood-fired Tuscan ones!) 500ml tepid water … Continued

Misty Winter

Misty, rainy winter! But it is pretty beautiful, except for the mud of course. The pigs seem to like it though and Frodo too; his cute hairy face seems to be permanently drenched in some malodorous gloop – kind of … Continued

Olive my harvest memories

The following paragraph is an excerpt from Margot Denman’s Fall 2012 Pennato entry. After every session the interns submit photos, drawings and writings, which are compiled and published in an online newsletter. To read the rest of Margot’s piece, plus … Continued

Fiat Scientia

Soon after I had posted the above photo on Spannocchia’s Facebook page yesterday morning, a friend of mine linked me to this. As more of the world’s population consider meat-eating a right, supply channels struggle to keep up with demand. … Continued

On enlightened agriculture

Back in 2005, Colin Tudge (who I have mentioned here before) wrote what would have been a very polemical academic paper, except that it wasn’t. The essay, entitled Feeding People is Easy: but we have to re-think the world from … Continued

The last hurrah

The end of November marks the end of the guest season at Spannocchia and a winding down of operations in anticipation of winter. The interns are packing up and preparing for subsequent adventures. The lemons tress have been moved inside, … Continued

The eggs and the chickens

The life cycle is something we get intimately acquainted with at Spannocchia, but never quite used to. Truth is, it’s really not very nice to see an animal lose its life. In fact, no matter how adamantly I tell you … Continued

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…

Fibonacci was born in Pisa. Romanesco is in season. In researching this fractal vegetable, I fell into an internet super mega black hole that, after one hour, I have only just crawled out of. As I wipe the perspiration off … Continued

When rain stops play

From now, right through next Spring, rain shall be a pretty consistent feature during the Spannocchia work week. Today, the heavens opened and the interns got a very real insight into what happens when water falls out of the sky. … Continued


Mushroom hunting in Tuscany, while maybe not cut-throat, certainly stokes a fire of primordial passion in those who do it. The rules are simple: 1. NEVER share your hunting grounds. Look, this isn’t KMart on Black Friday. The last thing … Continued

Il pranzo della vendemmia

It took all of one day to get the red grapes in; and as they macerate and ferment in a big oak vat, we celebrate the end of the vendemmia (grape harvest) with a lunch of epic proportions. Fennel salad, … Continued

Ant sitting on pink shiny lips
Munching on maggots

While perusing the Guardian newspaper online over the weekend, this lacquered smacker caught my eye. Though cerise is one of my most favourite lipstick shades, what I was most intrigued by was the ant. Turns out that the photo is … Continued

Restocking from the landscape

It’s the second week of the Fall internship and the new crew are still learning the ropes: pizza fires, castrations, gramignia, dinner duty, the caldaia, Cecelia’s woodpile, field trip Fridays, the wall, trash duty, the pigeon poop courtyard, Coop trip … Continued

Sterilisation day

If the title is enough to make you squirm then, really, don’t read on. Pigs, social animals that they are, have sex quite a lot. Adult female swine (gilts and sows) begin an estrous cycle every 21 days (though this … Continued

Life on a Tuscan farm is…

…too hot! When I sit down to write a blog post, it’s inevitable that I go with something that has been permeating my thoughts in the preceding hours, like Kanye and Kim, asparagusic acid or kindling. Anything, really, that in … Continued

A little bit of common morality

Farming designed to maximise wealth is diametrically opposite in structure and technique to farming that is intended to feed people. – Colin Tudge Common morality. It’s a nice term, don’t you think. I came across it, and the above quotation, … Continued

Sweetness and light

Gabriello had successfully centrifuged our honey so when we got the call to go collect it, the interns and I piled into the van and headed for Pievescola. It was a hot and sticky Tuesday afternoon that turned into a … Continued

A noteworthy post

The young musicians of Music Adventure (NOTEworthy post… geddit?!) arrive tomorrow and we are all pretty excited to welcome them back to Spannocchia for their 4th summer programme. Everyday, faculty members Eric, Katie, Jarek and Teri lead their talented students … Continued

Grazie mille Apogee

If you have read this post, you’ll know why a big stack of kindling is essential for Spannocchia during the winter months. Yesterday morning the Apogee kids helped out big time by venturing out into the Spannocchia forest to break … Continued

Tomato Trellising

I know it’s a bit late in the season to start erecting trellis around mature tomato plants, but a ‘how-to’ request from a Spannocchia guest has resulted in this blog post: a DIY veggie garden project for next year. Having … Continued


In December all we had was radicchio. In May, it was asparagus and our pee stank – though only a few of us could detect it. Tangent: Funky odors in our urine can be whiffed as little as 15 minutes … Continued

Tutto Fare Tete à Tete

After a brief hiatus, we’re back! How’s this for an intro… I was reading an interview the past weekend with none other than Kim Kardashian. You know, Kim Kardashian; the one who is famous for, erm, yeah, her. Anyway, it … Continued


Aside from the fact that they look like pickled Barbie brains, I quite like the line up of bottles on my bedroom window, don’t you? The interns (well, 3 of ‘em) and I ventured out under the hot Tuscan sun … Continued


Well, well, well, what have we here? This stone round conceals part of the pump responsible for bringing Spannocchia’s water from its aquifer. The well shaft (all 500 feet of it) was drilled during the winter of 2010. It took … Continued

And here they are…

After a 6am start this morning, most took heed of my advice and had a little nap this afternoon, so sharp pencils and sharper minds were at the ready for Italian teacher Valeria at 4pm. As part of their class-based … Continued

Not just any old Tuscan farm

Quite a lot of guests to Spannocchia arrive as part of an educational/recreational programme with a specific focus for their stay. Sometimes, these programmes are affiliated to an institution of learning, but often, they are a simply a group of … Continued

Transition town

At Spannocchia, certain words and phrases (originally introduced by just one or two people) tend to stick around for quite a while. It’s an interesting thing; to chart the flux of folk at the farm based on the community’s lexicon. … Continued

Seasonal changes

If the concept of seasonal meat-eating seems like a ridiculous subjugation of your liberties and tastes, you may need a reality check. We now eat – demand to be able to eat – more meat than our ancestors ever did, … Continued

The bee hive as social commentary

Andrea Battino’s English is really very good, but I don’t consider that the main reason behind his superbly evocative bee discussions. When Andrea speaks about these insects he uses words like: society, alien, organism and hierarchy. These are impressive words … Continued

Primo Maggio

On Tuesday we danced, we ate and we drank. One of us was even wooed by a sage old Tuscan with a paucity of teeth. We did a lot of fun things we usually wouldn’t do in celebration of the … Continued

Driscoll Reid

In the Fall of 2010, ex-intern Driscoll Reid returned to Spannocchia with a special mission. We rarely saw Driscoll, or heard him for that matter, but in two weeks he managed to create a series of beautiful short films inspired … Continued

Not quite Noma

Daniela relieved me of my charges last Friday and took the interns on a foraging expedition. They rooted and picked an entire lunch (almost!) from the fields and terraces at Spannocchia. They spent all morning at it and while the … Continued


It’s a busy day here on the farm! We have lots of new guests arriving today and lots of work to do before the rain arrives tomorrow. Since the snow melted, we have only had one significant downpour. Our crops … Continued

M.F.K. Fisher

[…] double-cream, soothing as a baby’s fingertip. I came across this line the other day while photocopying some of Fisher’s essays for the interns. I typed the line, as I did above, and emailed it to my friend Chris S. … Continued


It seems that quite a few of you are yellow with envy over our limoncello postings on Facebook. Well, of course we’d much rather have you here to share it but until then, here’s the recipe! LIMONCELLO Ingredients: 1 litre … Continued

First Field Trip Friday

Every second Friday, as part of the educational component of their internship, I take the interns on a field trip. The focus of each field trip varies, though it usually involves a rad picnic on the side of gorgeous Tuscan … Continued

Out standing in his field

It’s been a quiet and solitary chore, but Angelo has almost finished the potatura (pruning) in the vineyards. The gnarly trunks are naked now – last year’s leaves, fruiting canes and discarded bunches are slowly becoming one with the soil … Continued

Sono Arrivati

Bienvenuti Drew, Phillips, Mia, Hannah, Miki, Laura, Julianne and Kathleen. I am happy to report that Spannocchia’s Spring 2012 interns arrived safe and sound last Friday. After an intense weekend of orientation, they reported promptly for work this morning. Miki … Continued


I ran into Cody on Monday afternoon. Fondling his (own) facial hair in the corridor, he appeared flustered and asked; Have you seen Angelo? He’s looking for you. On the Urgency Scale, Cody’s voice registered about 6.2 – a fairly … Continued

The Farm School

Every February, a group of students from the Farm School in Athol Massachusetts arrive at Spannocchia. The Farm School is our first programme of 2012, but this lot are a little different in terms of how educational programmes usually unfold … Continued

Good husbands

Dear all (concerned), Okay, okay. I think I need to come clean. We’re really not in too bad a way up here. The snowy buccaneer that has kept us marooned hasn’t quite seized our ability to feed ourselves. Though we … Continued

Still snowed in

The volunteers and I are going to try to make a break for it later. Most of us have not left the property in 9 days. Only tractors and 4x4s can manage the snowy driveway and such vehicles have been … Continued

Book review

We feel very strongly about olive oil at Spannocchia. Specifically, we feel very strongly about good olive oil because it’s what we make ourselves, drizzle on our bread and offer to our guests. Bad olive oil, like bad wine, should … Continued

Competition time

Our blog’s masthead photo has been around for quite a while, so we have decided it’s time for a change. Friend the Spannocchia Foundation on Facebook and submit your favourite photo of Spannocchia using the ‘competitions’ tab in the left … Continued

The Breads of Others

Last October I wrote a post about bread. This week I find myself at the centre of an expanding dough debate. It seems that I have become some sort of agony aunt for amateur bakers, when truth be told, that’s … Continued

Yes, it really is this beautiful

There’s a reason why so many visitors to Spannocchia return home with a shot similar to the one on the left. Perspective. Brunelleschi would have you know that perspective allows the viewer to more accurately, or realistically, appreciate an image … Continued

New Year’s New Arrivals

At home in Ireland for the holidays, I was reading the newspaper on January 1st. Most of the front page was given over to the babies born in the opening hours and minutes of 2012. Pictures of ruddy-faced babies and … Continued

1- 2011 fourchette-dates euro gusto
Euro Gusto

Riccio and Piero are just back from Euro Gusto in Tours where they represented Spannocchia in the only way they know how; with a salame in one hand and a glass of Château Margaux (?) in the other. Euro Gusto … Continued

A Pressing Matter

Last week, the interns and I made our final trip of 2011 to the frantoio in Murlo. Check out our YouTube channel for a video of Spannocchia’s extra-virgin olive oil as leaves the final extraction tank. A presto…

Avis Studio
Pizza Workshop

As part of our Food and Wine programme this November, Daniela and I introduced a new component – a pizza workshop. Phylis, Alan and Judy joined us in the villa kitchen after lunch where we got started on the dough. … Continued


So this should have been a post about olives, but it’s not. It’s about bread, in all its metaphysical greatness. In June I ate a slice of Gracie’s bread that cracked one of my molars. It was a small price … Continued

A Helping Hoof

Far, far away, in a land with a questionable internet connection, interns turn to more rudimentary forms of entertainment. This is Cody making tea, though not with his own hand. Can you guess what appendage he has employed for the … Continued


Yup, it’s on. Look at these beauties hanging out in the laboritorio (grazie for the pic Paul Avis!)… These white bunches are destined for vin santo. First however, they must be allowed to dry out for a few months indoors. … Continued

And then it was fall

All it took was a stormy Sunday night. The surface of the pool is covered in leaves, the driveway’s no longer dusty and the interns are arriving at the wall looking like models from LL Bean’s current catalogue. It’s the … Continued

They Made It!

Benvenuti Kiyomi, Courtenay, Sarah, Jorge, Lauren, Natalie, Cody and Aleta. The Fall intern group has arrived and mi piacciono molto – after just 4 days! Record? Maybe. Today, Sarah scrubbed the meat slicer like a pro. Jorge and Lauren welcomed … Continued


Last Saturday Daniela gave me a bag full of cucumbers. She claims not to like them so much, though I can’t understand why. Daniela’s cucumbers, wholly imperfect spiky batons of racing green and chartreuse, are extraordinarily good. They crunch, sluice … Continued

Bambini in Cucina

At Spannocchia we understand the importance of experiential learning, especially for the littlest of hands. We have designed a new cooking class for 6 to 10 year olds that encourages them to form deeper relationships with their food, the place … Continued

Good Table Manners

The worst way to eat is with your mouth alone. I love to remind visitors and interns at Spannocchia about the formidable ignorance that accompanies mindless consumption. Eating needs to include your hands, your eyes, your nose, your ears, your … Continued

Italian Life Expo!!

We are delighted to announce an exciting event that the Spannocchia Foundation is co-organizing with the Institute for Italian Studies. The Italian Life Expo will bring together the best of artisan food and crafts from Italy with the best summer … Continued

Andiamo a Spannocchia!

There are several opportunities to visit Spannocchia this year. If you are seeking a pre-arranged trip to Italy that combines relaxation and inspiration then consider participation in one of our educational programs. This season we offer a range of programs … Continued

Il Giardino Segreto

While Erin was working feverishly in the office (baby in one arm, keyboard at the end of another), Gail and I had a mobile meeting in the secret garden. What began as a leisurely stroll soon became a finger pointing … Continued

Ciao Ciao Cauliflowers

The Cauliflowers have just left. Confused? We were too, at first. They arrived at strange hours, in stranger outfits, and crammed themselves into two of Pulcinelli’s seven rooms. Interns were displaced and mattresses materialized. Pig legs were shoved into the … Continued

Milling is fun

Past interns, volunteers and just about anyone who has worked on the farm here at Spannocchia: rejoice!! The new mill is up and running. For those not in the know, it has long been the task of many an able … Continued

Marvelous Museo

What do we do here all winter? Get things DONE! Spannocchia has long been home to an impressive collection of Etruscan artifacts, as the Etruscan Foundation called the farm home for many years. The Museo, just over the limonaia, has … Continued

Happy Winter Time!

It’s been over a month since the fall group of interns has left and how time has flown. Things have been especially joyous on the farm this winter with TWO impressive snow falls, the birth of a baby calf, Christmas … Continued

Let it snow…

We, like everyone near-ish to the Atlantic it seems, got dumped on this weekend! And it’s gorgeous. We’ll let the pictures do the talking! Next up, our team of winter volunteers gets introduced to the blog world. Exciting! A presto…

We’re Hiring!

We have some exciting news for those of you who are interested in sustainability and farm-based education in the Italian context…Spannocchia is hiring!!! Please visit our website for more information on the position and how to apply. We look forward … Continued

Turkeys in Italy

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!!! Spannocchia celebrated with a feast fit for a king…or pilgrim as tradition would have it. As happens every year on the farm, guests, friends, interns, volunteers and staff convened in the villa dining room to celebrate the … Continued

Olio Nuovo

It’s HERE!!! The best time of the year has arrived…first press 2009 olive oil is on our tables! After a week of on again off again picking due to rain, team Spannocchia headed to the mill to oversee the pressing … Continued


Fall in Tuscany is synonymous with mushroom hunting. Every local seems to have a secret spot and know just when to head out into the woods to find these treasures of the season. Though porcinis are most commonly known in … Continued


Two major events have occured in the greater Spannocchia area within the last couple weeks, giving everyone lots to talk about. First, a couple Fridays ago the new Coop opened in Rosia. For those that have not had the chance … Continued

Farm-Based Education Association Conference

The Farm-Based Education Association is putting on it’s first ever conference this November at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in New York State. Register to attend and participate in workshops, field trips and round table discussions focusing on … Continued


We’ve started! Vendemmia (the big grape harvest) at Spannocchia comes a bit later than in some areas of Tuscany and is initiated by the picking of grapes for our Vin Santo. For those unfamiliar with this Tuscany libation, Vin Santo … Continued


Followers of this blog will remember our trip up to Genova for Slow Fish, a conference dedicated to sustainable fishing and issues surrounding food and oceans. This past week, Slow Food International put on one of its most personal events … Continued


Our wonderful garden manager Carmen has finished the massive, and beautiful, project that is the Spannocchia Erbario. The Erbario is made up of wild herbs, collected by Carmen on the Spannocchia property, which have been carefully cataloged (including the latin … Continued

Wedding Season

Spannocchia played host this past weekend to a gorgeous event…the wedding of Catherine Detalle and Antoine Carle. Following a service at San Galgano, the happy couple was joined by 120 friends and family, most of whom made the trek down … Continued

Winter Volunteers

Spannocchia is looking for long term winter volunteers! This winter we will be taking three volunteers for both farm work and salumi/butchering experience. Farm volunteers will stay the duration of winter (3 months) while butchering volunteers will stay on for … Continued

Spannocchia in the news!

A nice piece in the Christian Science Monitor about environmental/experiential learning in the US and beyond using Shelburne Farms as an example and including a nice bit on Spannocchia as well…read it here! EDITED to include: Spannocchia is on the … Continued


Life on A Tuscan Farm is going to try something new…job postings! As we get them in, we’ll post them here. All posts will be categorized (‘jobs’) making them easily searchable. We hope to post all sorts of positions although … Continued

Palio and the 4th

The first week of July was a busy one. Between the Palio, a traditional American Fourth of July celebration, farm chores and the firing of the kiln for the ceramics group, everyone at Spannocchia had a lot to do. For … Continued

Field Trips

Summer interns kicked off their exploration of Tuscany with trips to two lovely little towns a hop skip and a jump away from Spannocchia. Interns hop in the big white van and head out on field trips about every other … Continued

…and hello summer!

And just like that, the new interns arrive! After a week sans interns, Spannocchia welcomed the new group of eight with open arms. There was much waiting to be done for Cashel, Kat, Karla, Annie, John, Pearce, Jess and Nick … Continued

Goodbye Spring!

Spannocchia said goodbye to the Spring 2009 intern group last week, just as the weather starts to really heat up. The last few weeks were busier than ever and introduced plenty of new chores to the team. There was tons … Continued

Primo Maggio

As frequent visitors to this blog are well-aware, Primo Maggio (May Day) is a hotly anticipated event here at Spannocchia. The farm welcomes a group of wandering minstrals, as it were, who spend the day traveling from farm to farm … Continued

Slow Fish, Genova

What better place to spend a weekend immersed in fish culture than the Ligurian coast? This April, interns and volunteers had the opportunity to attend the 2009 edition of Slow Fish, an event dedicated to the study and consideration of … Continued

Dining at Spannocchia!

Some spring rain, cooking classes and our wonderful chef/volunteer Jay means tons of delicious meals at Spannocchia as of late. Although eating exceptionally well here is far from rare, the onset of spring has sparked culinary creativity in everyone. With … Continued

Bagels and Babies

Babies abound at Spannocchia! Much to our interns’ and guests’ delight, the farm is teaming with lambs and piglets. Although we do not intervene in the birthing or rearing process until weaning, Greg, Kate and Max (with the help of … Continued

The Farm School 2009

Yet another successful session with the wonderful people from the Farm School has come to a close. Spannocchia is lucky enough to have an on-going partnership with this forward-thinking organization located in Western Massachusetts where students spend a year learning … Continued

The Great Wall

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but visiting former intern Adam and friend Whitney along with present interns Tyler and Gabe and volunteers Jane and Paul were able to rebuild a section of stone wall in about 6 days. The … Continued

Turkey Day in Tuscany

This Saturday, a few days ahead of the actual American Thanksgiving, we celebrated Turkey Day Spannocchia style. The feast began with lasagna but then came the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and peas. No Thanksgiving would be complete without a little … Continued

Celebrating the Harvest

All the hard work is rewarded with a celebratory lunch where the whole community comes together to enjoy good food, good company, and of course….some good local wine. A presto!

Making the Wine

Angelo and Annamarie oversee the fermentation process. At times, it is a very fine line between hard science and pure magic!

Gathering the Troops

Spannocchia Interns get their instructions from the Vignaiolo, Angelo. In pairs, they work a row making sure not to miss any of the juicy grapes.


The annual grape harvest is a highly anticipated event at Spannocchia. The harvest came a little later than usual this year, but all signs indicate that the quantity and quality of Spannocchia’s 2008 wines will be strong. By June of … Continued

Waste not, Want not

Many Spannocchia Interns have spent time working on the Laghetto, Spannocchia’s natural waste water system. It is not often characterized as the best job around here, but working on the Laghetto is rewarding and this work is one of the … Continued

Waste Equals Food

The fruit trees are not the only beneficiaries of the rich compost that is being generated from the by-products of Spannocchia’s natural waste water system (see preceding blog entry). This past summer, Spannocchia welcomed 30 laying hens to the farm … Continued

Fruits of the Farm

Making Jam White plums grow in abundance around Spannocchia. The interns and farm workers often grab a couple to stave off the hunger until lunch time. There’s nothing sweeter than a plum picked from the tree, eaten on the spot. … Continued

One potato, two potato

Spannocchia enjoyed its largest potato harvest ever this summer. Carmen, Spannocchia’s dynamo Garden Manager, says that the significant rain that fell between March and June has resulted in some terrific harvests thus far. All seven of Spannocchia’s Farm Interns were … Continued

Francesca’s Haying Quaff

Haying – a rite of passage if you are spending time on a farm during the summer. You’ve got about a thousand little cuts on your legs and arms; shards of dried grass are sticking through your socks, pricking your … Continued

Baby Matteo!

Spannocchia welcomed a new member to the farm recently…no not a piglet, not a calf. This new arrival only has 2 legs. Giuseppe and Carrie Sacco proudly announced the arrival of Matteo Francesco Sacco on Saturday, May 31st at 3:15pm, … Continued

I Ragazzi

After about a month of learning the ropes, Spannocchia’s Summer Interns have found their stride on the farm and in the castello. It’s a busy time: we have over 100 hungry pigs to care for; it’s time to make hay … Continued

Primo Maggio 2008

Yesterday (the first of May) we celebrated Primo Maggio at Spannocchia. The celebration featured Tuscan folk songs and dancing and drew a crowd of over 100! The musicians sang a special song for the bride, Erin, who will be getting … Continued

Alice and Justin’s Wedding

On Thursday, Alice and Justin, two intern alumni who met at Spannocchia during the Spring 2005 Internship Program, were married in Siena. The ceremony was held in the Siena town hall in front of over 40 of their family and … Continued

La Carbonaia

Over the past week, if you were lucky enough to take a walk in the Spannocchia woods, you might have come across a very interesting project to make wood charcoal! Rusty Lamer, Spannocchia’s Intern Program Director from 2002/2003 came back … Continued

Going Electric

Last week Spannocchia got its first ZERO emission car: a red and white battery-eletric car called a GEM (Global Electric Motocar) by Daimler-Chrysler. The car can seat two people and has a large area in the back for transporting goods. … Continued

Spring Arrivals

Spring is the time of new arrivals. Lambing season has begun and daffodils add a touch of yellow throughout the property. The newest faces around Spannocchia are the Spring 2008 farm and guest services interns who arrived on Friday, March … Continued

Farm School Arrives

The group from the Farm School arrived on Wednesday, February 13th and will be busy helping kick-off the farm season at Spannocchia for the next three weeks. The 10 student farmers, accompanied by Farm School staff Patrick and Jennifer, will … Continued

Terra Madre Toscana 2008

Last weekend Spannocchia Farm Manager Riccio and Castello Director Daniela attended Terra Madre Toscana 2008. The conference, held in the Siena province in the town of Chianciano Terme, was attended by farmers and producers, Slow Food convivium leaders, important regional … Continued

Spannocchia and Chattanooga

The guest season has finished at Spannocchia, and the interns have gone home, but there is still a lot of work to keep us busy on the farm! Winter is the prime butchering season here at Spannocchia and we will … Continued


The newest, and most beautiful, crop to be grown at Spannocchia is saffron or zafferano in Italian. The crocus bulbs are planted in the very early fall, and in just over a month beautiful lavender crocus flowers push their way … Continued

Green Jobs!

Just a quick note to share a few websites that we have come across for people looking to find a green job. “Green job” could mean that your work focuses on renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, or recycling or it could … Continued


This year we hired a new bee keeper named Gabriele to help us produce our delicious millefiore miele (thousand flower honey) at Spannocchia. Besides taking care of our bees, Gabriele has his own bee hives on his nearby farm and … Continued

Vin Santo and the Vendemmia

This monday we started the vendemmia (grape harvest) at Spannocchia. Over the past few weeks, Angelo and Riccio have been repeatedly checking the sugar content of the grapes (high sugar equals good alcohol content after fermentation) and they were deemed … Continued

Living Green

Earlier this month, Spannocchia was featured in a very interesting green-focused blog, Living Green. The entry is a question and answer interview with Spannocchia Foundation members’ the Stearns family, who just got back from a trip to Spannocchia.

2nd Spannocchia Walk

On Sunday, July 29th nature/history guide Lorenzo Anselmi led the second in a series of three walks originating from Spannocchia. We began by heading through the woods to Stigliano, once there we went across to Torri to visit the famous … Continued

Organic Bookmaking and Ceramics

The second half of July at Spannocchia has been filled with creativity. We have had two new groups staying on the property, one doing organic paper and bookmaking and the other doing ceramics. Both have produced an amazing amount of … Continued

Siena, Sustainability, Spannocchia!

An article by Portland State University Geography Professor Tom Harvey appeared in the online scholarly journal A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments. The article entitled “Siena & Sustainability: City and Country in Tuscany” focuses on the medieval … Continued

4th of July

We celebrated 4th of July Spannocchia style yesterday with hotdogs, hamburgers and sausages to start and then coleslaw, potatoe salad, chips and the grand finale of desserts including gooey brownies, rice crispy treats in red, white and blue, cookies, apple … Continued


Today we did a taste test of Spannocchia’s organic Cinta Senese salami with the maker of a special ecological machine that helps to age salt cured meats quickly and reliably. We tried four different Spannocchia salami of different ages which … Continued

Sunday Trekking

Yesterday, Sunday, June 10th we had the first of a series of three guided walks at Spannocchia provided free to the local community and guests on the property. The hike, lead by naturalist and historian Lorenzo Anselmi began at the … Continued

Summer 2007 Interns!

The summer interns are here! They arrived on May 25th and will spend the next three months working hard and enjoying the Tuscan sun (if it ever comes out – it has been raining for a week!). Here is a … Continued

“Energia e vinci” Awards Ceremony

Yesterday, Spannocchia was the location for the award ceremony of a special contest called “Energia e vinci”. The contest was for high schools in the province of Siena to sensitize students to the issues of renewable energy and conservation. The … Continued

Casetta del Bosco Inauguration

Today we inaugurated the Casetta del Bosco, the small interactive nature collection located in Spannocchia’s Secret Garden. This once chicken coop was transformed over the last 6 months, by opening it into one room, re-doing the roof and floor and … Continued

Bottling Vino

New for this year we are professionally bottling and labeling all our red and white wine (vino) at once. The rented wine bottling/labeling machine arrived yesterday and Angelo, Roberto, and the interns helped set it up in the Spannocchia cantina. … Continued

Nella Cucina

At least once a week at Spannocchia the kitchen is transformed into a classroom as guests learn the art of preparing a Tuscan meal. Using fresh ingredients, such a spinach from the garden for raviolifilling or our own ground beef … Continued

The Farm School Arrives at Spannocchia

The 2007 farm season has kicked into high gear at Spannocchia! A group of 8 apprentices and their leader Patrick arrived yesterday from The Farm School (Practical Farm Training) in Athol, Massachusetts. The apprentices have been very busy learning the … Continued

Thanksgiving – Ringraziamento

This Saturday, November 25th, we celebrated Thanksgiving Spannocchia style. The turkeys were already in the oven at 4am and all morning the wonderful aroma filled the air, prompting nostalgic sighs from ex-pat Americans and interns alike. The meal, hosted by … Continued

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About Castello di Spannocchia – Staff

Castello di Spannocchia is the nonprofit education center located on the property at Tenuta di Spannocchia. The Castello hosts a wide range of educational activities including a residential internship program, education and enrichment programs, school visits for local children from … Continued

Terra Madre

Buono. Pulito. Giusto. Good. Clean. Fair. This is the three legged stool on which the food of the future should be firmly based according to the 2nd edition of Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference. The event brought farmers, producers, cooks … Continued

Mondo Agricolo

Yesterday we had Stefano Cantiero and his film crew from the Italian TV show Mondo Agricolo (Agricultural World) at Spannocchia. They were filming for a special section on local Tuscan products such as wine, cheese and, in the case of … Continued

Funghi Fever!

Porcini! Porcini! Porcini mushrooms are popping up all over Spannocchia, their brown heads pushing out of the leafy understory. The last few days, the fall group of interns have seen the Italians heading into the woods and returning with baskets … Continued

Fall 2006 Spannocchia Vendemmia

The grape harvest at Spannocchia has begun! The staff has been diligently checking the sugar level of the grapes, and decided yesterday that indeed the white grapes were ready to be harvested. The schedule was cleared of all other activities, … Continued


Welcome to the Spannocchia weblog – “Life on a Tuscan Farm” – where we will share news, updates, and anecdotes about life at Tenuta di Spannocchia, an organic agricultural estate and education center located in the rolling hills near Siena, … Continued