… And beyond the courtyard: the town of Calceranica!
The farm is located in the historic center of the town of Calceranica al Lago, inside a “peasant court” with a typical local structure.
In fact, with some exceptions, here the peasants did not live isolated in the countryside, but mainly in the villages, building houses, granaries, barns and stables attached to other houses. And so did my family, nicknamed “the Barberini”, who have always lived here.
This is why our farm is located in the village: the structure was a stable, cellar and space for the breeding of silkworms. And it is attached to our house, which was once a shed, barn and granary.
We have chosen to recover this piece of urban history, which otherwise would have been lost, and in this way we have not consumed even an inch of precious agricultural land.
The context around us is simple, peasant, and unfortunately partly abandoned: a fate that affects many of our countries, which are emptying.
But ours was a conscious choice. Restoring was a difficult and expensive undertaking, and cost us dearly in many ways. The architectural choices were bound by infinite structural and bureaucratic limits. And even the space in which we find ourselves is limited by narrow streets and sometimes uncomfortable passages.
We believe in the historical value of a building over three hundred years old, and in the importance of recovering what already exists instead of continuing to consume the new, especially if it is fertile land.
In the courtyard we collected and exhibited some of the tools and instruments used for working with the earth: the wooden cart, the working tools, the leather ropes, the old plow, the “aréle” where silkworms were raised.
Today, well-being makes us forget how demanding the life of the farmers was, and how much hard work it cost to produce the food they put on the table. These simple tools help us to remember, and to give a value to certain things, still precious today even if the work is easier, at least in part.
Alongside all this, of course, there is room for innovation: in the parking lot we have set up a connection for charging electric cars, and we have an area where you can leave your bicycles, with charging for e-bikes.
In our courtyard you will see a large part of our business take place: here we organize the work that we will then do in the countryside, we bring the products collected in the gardens here and we prepare them for sale in our small shop. Here we host the projects of social and solidarity cooperatives we work with. The people who collaborate with us, here come and go, because there is always so much to do on a farm … but they are happy to stop and chat, if you are curious!
This is who we are, and we don’t want to talk about being different because we don’t like “glossy” things. This is our home, this is our work, and here we offer simple peasant hospitality: this is free from stereotypes and superstructures that do not belong to us, but is full of life and heart!
(And no: there is no sauna, no open bar, and no swimming pool …).