9 Jan 2013

Italy: making the most of the land

One of the advantages of living in a house that is built into the side of a hill is that we have a good view of the road (which was once a dirt track when we started the project) and, therefore, able to observe whatever is going on at different times of the year in the surrounding fields.  Everyone has odd pieces of land all over the area that are used to grow crops and are happy for animals to graze and manure the plots. One of the local shepherds can be seen every day with his small flock of sheep who graze in the meadows or on strips of grassland before these are ploughed and crops are cultivated.
Below our terrace and retaining wall is one such small piece of land where sheep graze. The shepherd sits or stands in the shade with his dogs.  It is the custom to offer a coffee or a glass of wine to passing neighbours and my husband stops his work in the garden to have a rest and talk to his friend, the shepherd, before he moves off to nearby pastures.
From the front window of the upstairs kitchen I watch the shepherd move on to a field across the way. It's quite boggy there because the water runs off the hills, but the land makes good pasture. The sheep are kept for the production of pecorino and ricotta cheese and for meat.

Above our house there is more rough land that is not cultivated, but individual horses graze there.
The horses are used for trekking in the mountains.  This lone horse is a regular and sometimes comes and eats the bramble hedge.
The strip of land below the house was ploughed up at the end of October.  The grapes had been gathered from our vines leaving a few table grapes.  Now the bare vines will need pruning.


  1. ditto what i said on the last post, how can you bear to leave this house... i love love love that view through the railing, the view and the railing and the photo.

  2. January in Italy looks stunning. Love your pictures.

  3. Such a beautifully scenic area.

  4. I'll bet you never tire of looking out the windows of your house. It must be a real blessing to watch the rhythm of life passing your house.

  5. What a beautiful place to live and work in, I bet once you are there it is hard to leave:)

  6. Oh Wow... Your Italian home is in a fabulous area --with so much to see. I think it's so neat that people stop and talk and bring coffee (or a drink) to the shepherds --or to those working outside. That is AWESOME. We don't do that here in our country.. In fact, many do not even know their neighbors...I'd love to visit you all in Italy... Wow!!!

  7. It is just gorgeous there. What a lovely custom to offer the shepard wine or coffee. I would love having the sheep come by for a visit too. This is just beautiful!

  8. Beautiful photos of a breath-taking landscape, Linda, and I love your glimpses of Italian country life. We have apple and cherry trees in our Normandy garden, but oh, to have my own grape-vines.....

  9. Exquisite views! I never put Italy on a list to visit until your posts. It's always been Ireland, Scotland,Wales, and England in that order and that was it! But Italy has been added and also Belgium thanks to another blog.
    I recently started making postcards and note cards with some of my barn photos (for my personal use and for gifts for family and close friends) and your last photo is just begging for a postcard on which to land (in my opinion). :>)