Spannocchia has offered a unique farm internship program for more than 25 years! Three sessions are offered per year (spring, summer, and fall). Eight interns per session work alongside our Italian farm staff to help run our diversified organic farm and agritourism in rural Tuscany.
Our farm internship program is dedicated to enriching the lives of young people by providing them with a unique, educational experience on a community-oriented organic farm in Tuscany, Italy. Participants learn about Italian language, local cultural history, conservation, maintenance and restoration, animal care and organic farming.
Interns acquire knowledge and practical skills through the involvement with daily operations of Spannocchia.
When I arrived at Spannocchia I was put to work in the orto with Carmen. The most experience I had with horticulture up to that point was buying and subsequently killing a basil plant. But under Carmen’s unfailingly patient tutelage, I began to learn the joy of seeing something start as a tiny seed and grow into our dinner. My time at Spannocchia taught me to appreciate where my food comes from and how important it is to teach future generations to treat the food we eat with respect,Laura McMahon
Interns will spend a portion of the workweek participating in various planned educational activities. These activities are interspersed throughout the week and include educational presentations such wine tastings, olive harvesting and salumi production as well as field trips to local areas of interests. Trips may include a visit to nearby Siena to experience the famous Palio or a visit to a local cheese farm to test their nuovo pecorino. Site visits to neighboring organic production facilities, farms and vineyards are carefully selected to provide Interns with the opportunity to learn about traditional Tuscan values of food production as well as new techniques utilized to help protect and conserve land in the area.
Italian classes are held twice a week for a total of two and a half hours weekly. The classes are geared mostly toward beginning conversation/grammar and enable interns to communicate in Italian more effectively both at work and while traveling.
All meals are provided Monday through Friday, and most Sunday dinners as well. Our interns eat dinner in the main dining room of the Villa, along with various community members and guests. Meals encompass the farm-to-table experience as vegetables harvested in the garden are generally served that evening for dinner. Wednesday evenings are particularly special at Spannocchia with pizza night from our outdoor fire brick oven or nostra cena, a traditional meal focused on a seasonal product.
The three months of my Spannocchia internship were an education. I learned that the difference between two identical slabs of prosciutto can be discovered by sniffing a hollow horse bone inserted into the center. I learned that knowing where your food comes from can be as simple as a square of red earth. Most importantly, I learned that there is a pace of life that can just feel right and that I would want to make it my job to find it for myself one day,”Patrick Schultz
Interns live in double-occupancy rooms, share all meals together, work together, and often spend free time together.
The interns have use of a vehicle one afternoon a week for a trip to neighboring town of Rosia for grocery shopping.
There are a number of recreational possibilities at Spannocchia including hiking trails, dirt roads for running, forests for foraging wild herbs and mushrooms and a swimming pool. Interns also enjoy learning to cook Tuscan cuisine and making homemade preserves from fresh fruits on the farm. The views of the countryside and surrounding farm inspire painting, drawing and other forms of artistic expression.
The farm internship program is based on a 45-50 hour week. Approximately 35+ hours are devoted to farm/maintenance work and 10-15 hours are devoted to the educational component of the program. Interns rotate helping with dinner service and weekend duties.
|8:00 to 1:00||Farm Work||Farm Work||Farm Work||Farm Work||Field Trip||Free Time||Free Time|
|1:00 to 2:00||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch||Lunch||Picnic|
|2:00 to 5:00||Italian Class
|Farm Work||Farm Work||Italian Class
|5:00 to 7:00||Free Time||Free Time
(Van available for trip to town)
|Free Time||Free Time||Free Time|
|7:00||Wine on the Terrace Dinner||Wine on the Terrace Dinner||Wine on the Terrace Dinner||Wine on the Terrace Dinner||Wine on the Terrace Dinner||Wine on the Terrace Dinner|
The major areas of the operation are: animal care (working with pigs, cows and donkeys), vegetable gardens (planting, watering, hoeing, harvesting), vineyards and orchards (weeding, tying, pruning, harvesting) and maintenance (landscaping, stacking wood, pool maintenance, building repairs). Interns are assigned to a specific work area for the session and devote most of their time there.
From daily dinners, adventurous leftover lunch experiments, made-up holidays, never-ending aperitivos, stolen cake from the kitchen, late night cheese plates and pizza nights with tears, food at Spannocchia changed my life. But mostly it was the people I shared it with. Our community and our work gave me the feeling of being part of something important. This group of people with such different backgrounds and cultures – but united by their love for food and motivated by the example of a better and sustainable world of food – showed me that with passion and solidarity we can make our global food system a better one,Lea Ligat
Application deadline: Friday, November 30, 2018
Notification date: Monday, December 17, 2018
Deposit Due: Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Balance Due: Friday, February 1, 2019
Application deadline: Monday, February 11, 2019
Notification date: Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Deposit Due: Friday, March 15, 2019
Balance Due: Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Application deadline: Friday, May 3, 2019
Notification date: Monday, May 20, 2019
Deposit Due: Friday, June 1, 2019
Balance Due: Monday, July 2, 2019
There is a one-time program fee of $1500 (€1000 for EU residents) to participate in Spannocchia’s Farm Internship Program. Upon acceptance, applicants are required to pay a $250 deposit (€200 for EU) to confirm their participation in the program. The remaining balance is due approximately 30 days prior to the arrival date for their program. Friends of Spannocchia will provide participants with access to an online system to fundraise for this fee. The system allows participants to create a unique webpage to distribute to friends and family to receive donations to cover the program fee.