As 2021 winds down, we undoubtedly have much to be grateful for. We’ve been able to engage our community both online and on-site in Italy this year, and we’re now busy preparing for next year’s programs.

When we redesigned our logo several years ago, we chose three words central to Spannocchia’s mission to support the image: Learn. Grow. Sustain. As we’ve spent this past year reflecting on and reevaluating our work, never before have these words held as significant meaning for our staff and board.  

  • LEARN: In what ways does Spannocchia offer invaluable learning opportunities for our community? What have we learned from the pandemic experience, and how can we improve Spannocchia and our educational programming as a result? 
  • GROW: How has Spannocchia stretched and grown during the last two years? How do we foster an environment that truly values and promotes the growth of our interns, program participants, guests, staff, and residents? 
  • SUSTAIN: Moving forward, how can we continue to serve as a place that sustains others in so many different ways? What can we do to deepen our commitment to sustainability and conservation in the current face of climate change? 

Despite the uncertainties that remain, we are looking toward a promising future, thanks largely to the sustaining generosity of the Cinelli and Stratton families, our dedicated Italian staff and US-based board, and YOU—our loyal donors.

Your support makes our work possible. Please, help us continue our commitment to learning, growth, and sustainability by making your membership gift to Friends of Spannocchia today.


In 2008, I got the phone call writers dream of: Bon Appetit wanted me to go to Tuscany for two weeks and stay at a tenuta, indulge in all the food and classes offered, and write an article about it. Before you could say prosciutto, my family and I were on a plane to Italy. From the moment I arrived at Spannocchia, I was enchanted. One night, enjoying yet another fantastic meal, I looked around at the late sunlight casting a golden glow everywhere, and thought: I need to bring writers here.

And so I did. The Spannocchia Writers Workshop lets two dozen writers come to Spannocchia to engage with award-winning, bestselling writers. And while participants learn how to bring their ideas alive on the page, we all—students, faculty, and I—learn so much more. We learn about sustainable farming and gardening and how salumi is made. We take a cooking class, meet the Cinta Senese pigs, and watch the interns, staff, and owners make this amazing place work.

That’s why I come back year after year. To teach. To learn. To grow.

Kaushalya Patil (Mumbai, India)
Summer 2019 Farm Intern

Waking up to chickens clucking and birds chirping on a farm in the heart of Tuscany is truly a gift. Being part of the Orto (Vegetable Garden) Team at Spannocchia gave me first-hand experience of seeing where food comes from.

As a chef and baker, food is an integral part of my life. Growing, cultivating, and nurturing my own food made me realize how precious it is and how broken our food system really is. My internship at Spannocchia not only taught me how to grow vegetables, but also how to grow ideas to make the world a better place. It’s something I will cherish forever.

In his book Slow Food Nation, Carlo Petrini writes, “We cannot ask everything of politics, we must begin to behave differently, starting with our own little everyday acts. Everyone must take on this responsibility, everyone can make their contribution.” Spannocchia gave me the foundation to grow this belief for myself and apply it to my own family farm a short drive from Mumbai. Whenever I pluck a mango from our farm tree, it reminds me of Spannocchia.

Richard Olken (MA, USA)
VP Friends of Spannocchia Board

My wife Vicki and I first went to Spannocchia in 1984 to visit our friends Francesca and Randall, as they were clearing overgrown gardens on Francesca’s ancestral property. Little did we know that these initial efforts to beautify the property would lead to their life work of sustaining Spannocchia and the agricultural and social history of rural Tuscany.

In 1997, we returned with our extended family. We enjoyed pizza night with visiting musicians while the youngest Spannocchians danced in the moonlight. My mother, a world traveler, declared it the most wonderful of all her adventures—a demonstration that this authentic place and its traditions are worth sustaining and sharing.

Visiting Spannocchia with our grandson and his parents in 2006, we saw the full effect of what is achieved there—the living example of rural Tuscan life, agriculture, conservation, and education—sustained for future generations. Experiencing the wonder and delight of a young child at Spannocchia reinforced for me that our work is critical. In this ever-changing modern world, we continue to value and sustain Spannocchia’s centuries-old connection to the earth and our mission to preserve it through agriculture, education, and reverence.

Become a Member

Agriculture and tourism are only part of what we do at Spannocchia. Our primary mission is for the estate to serve as an international model for sustainability and an educational center for responsible farming and tourism practices. Through membership donations, we are able to create a place for people to experience the authentic history of rural Tuscany as well as modern sustainable farming practices at work.

Donations through memberships help us preserve the estate, run educational programs and underwrite the costs of our internship program. We wouldn’t be Spannocchia without a little help from our friends.

In return, we promise that once you stay at Spannocchia, you’ll always have family in Italy!

Become a Member!

Benefits for Members

Through membership donations, we are able to create a place for people to experience the authentic history of rural Tuscany as well as modern sustainable farming practices at work. Donations through memberships help us run educational programs, underwrite the costs of our internship program, and preserve the estate.

Membership at any level allows you to participate in an on-site educational program or reserve accommodations through the agriturismo for a visit with friends or family. While you are here, you’ll also enjoy:

  • 10% discount on all of our store products.
  • Special discounted pricing for tours and activities, including cooking classes and tastings.
  • A FREE historical tour of the Castello.
  • A complimentary copy of our printed Guest Book that includes helpful suggestions and recommendations for day trips, restaurants, and tours.

Members continue to enjoy a variety of benefits after (or before!) their visit:

  • Ongoing participation in our international community, including information about the organization and upcoming programs, classic Italian recipes, virtual programming, and sustainability news.
  • Access to imported Spannocchia products in the U.S.
  • Special members-only travel offers for discounted farmhouse rentals or B&B stays (certain membership levels only).
Intern holding a baby pig on her shoulder

We wouldn’t be Spannocchia without a little help from our friends. In return, we promise that once you stay at Spannocchia, you’ll always have family in Italy!



  • All Standard benefits listed above
  • Benefits apply to the individual donor
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  • All Individual benefits, plus:
  • Benefits extend to entire family
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$100 / $10

Annually / Monthly
  • All Family benefits, plus:
  • Special travel offers
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$250 / $25

Annually / Monthly
  • All Friend benefits, plus:
  • Free “Benefactor” gift
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Many “Friends” of Spannocchia choose to support us with donations to our general operating fund, often in addition to maintaining an annual membership. These gifts, of any size, provide necessary support to all aspects of our organization, and we are so truly grateful.

A volunteer harvesting grapes off the vine as part of the vendemmia.

To donate online: Visit our giving site and select “Operating Contribution” in the campaign dropdown. You can then enter your desired gift amount.

For gifts of stock: The end of the year can be a great time to give gifts of appreciated stock. If you are interested in exploring this option or to receive instructions for making a stock transfer, please email Sarah Allenby at sarah@spannocchia.org.

To make payment by check: Any type of donation, including membership, can be paid by check if you prefer. Please make checks payable to “Friends of Spannocchia” and mail to: PO Box 10531, Portland, ME 04104.

Benefits for Recurring Members



  • All Family benefits, plus:
  • Special travel offers

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  • All Friend benefits, plus:
  • Free “Benefactor” gift
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Frequently-Asked Questions