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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

My first WWOOFing experience went a lot like my first Couchsurfing experience. It was perfect! Il Troscione is a small organic farm/agritourism site in the southwest of Tuscany. Fiorella and Igi own and operate this little slice of heaven. They are a wonderful couple that moved from Milan to Il Troscione 5 years ago to live out their golden years. Before retiring Fiorella worked in marketing for MTV Europe then owned her own Godiva Chocolate shops and Igi ran a glove company. Fiorella is gracious, welcoming, very intelligent and has a better grasp of American politics than most people in the States. Igi is an excellent host, a sports fanatic, a wine expert, and a true gentleman. I could not have asked for better hosts. They have one employee, Angela. She is really fun and nice and despite not speaking English, we got along very well. They produce and sell wine, olive oil, and preserves. There is a vegetable garden where much of the food they and their guests eat come from. Everything grown on the property is organic. They also have chickens, two very fat bunnies, a dog, and a small army of cats.
The typical work day is from 8-11, with lunch at 1, and dinner from 7-10. On most days I napped on a hammock (my office) for about an hour. Watering the plants and feeding the animals was part of the daily routine, then we would have a different task for the rest of the morning. The work varied, but it was always fun and interested. We bottled, corked, and labeled wine, skinned, seeded, and jarred tomatoes, worked in the vegetable garden, helped prepare and serve meals, and cleaned up after we ate. I was lucky enough to be there for the annual grape harvest. I got to pick grapes as well as participate in the early stages of the winemaking process. WWOOFers and guests are also welcome to cook. I made gnocchi with sage brown butter sauce one day for lunch that was a disaster, but redeemed myself with a very good spezzatino di chingiale for dinner later in my stay.
Not once did I feel like “the help.” All of us WWOOFers were treated like family. The guests that stayed at Il Troscione were really nice and interesting. Most of the guests were very into food as well and a couple even prepared dinner for everyone. People staying at agritourism places tend to be a different breed than you would find at, say, a resort.
Fiorella and Igi have an apartment in the town of Pancole, about 1 mile from Il Troscione. When there are more than a couple WWOOFers, they stay there. Just outside of the apartment is a piazza where the locals drink vino out of plastic cups and play bocce. I got to join in on the fun a few nights during my stay and it was beyond awesome. Pancole is a VERY small town. Everyone knows everyone and they don’t get many visitors. We were treated like rockstars whenever we showed up. Every night included lots and lots of vino and the first night also had BBQ suckling pig.
Sundays were our days off and we made the best of them. On my first day off, two fellow WWOOFers and I took a great car trip through the south of Tuscany. On my second day off, we went to Sienna and had an incredible lunch.. We went to the beach on my last off day.
My day-to-day life at Il Troscione was better than any holiday or day off. I was doing things that I really enjoyed, surrounded by amazing people, in a truly beautiful place. My two weeks there flew by and leaving was very difficult. I can’t say enough good things about Fiorella, Igi, and my experience at Il Troscione. If you are looking to WWOOF or partake in some agritourism in Italy, GO TO IL TROSCIONE!

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