Wild Earth

Watching Perugia emerge from the clouds at breakfast.

After three weeks of olive harvest we’ve had some time to relax and truly enjoy (not that we weren’t already!) the fantastic setting of our Umbrian hilltop home, Terra Selvatica (Wild Earth).


Farmin' al Italia!
Enjoying a bit of agricoltura italiana! …shorts and t-shirt in November Amy, really?! 🙂

Following a few days of tidying up – pruning the trees, gathering the cuttings (used over winter to fuel the olive wood fired boiler) and cruising in the yellow Lamborghini (tractor!) we, and a few of our fellow olive pickers, took advantage of the November sunshine and spent a day following a section of the St Francis Way. This 550 km pilgrimage route – from Florence to Rome – snakes its way through the picturesque Umbrian landscape, taking in ancient towns, roman roads and, especially on the short section we covered, fantastic views to the Apennine Mountains.




Whilst hiking throughout our trip hunters have been a constant presence – from nearby shots fired seemingly at anything with wings, to close encounters with well-moustached wild-boar hunters. We have often too walked past old couples who, stopped at the side of a track are happily filling their baskets with wild mushrooms (we didn’t trust ourselves to try!), nuts and berries – the countryside here truly seems a giant free larder for those in the know! This walk however presented a first for us, and something that many tourists in Tuscany and Umbria pay a lot of money to experience…


A man feeding his dog some sausage, what is so special about that?!
The prize – a black summer truffle, fresh from the dog’s jaws!

In less than five minutes (entirely the work of the dog, the owner didn’t move!) three truffles has been snuffled out in return for sausage scraps – two black summer truffles and a prized white winter truffle. Not a bad haul when the black truffle fetches around €190 per kg, the white at least €4,000 per kg!

Timing things perfectly, we came back into Fratticiola Selvatica, our local village, just in time to enjoy yet another beautiful sunset – the “dot on the i” as our new Swiss friends say!




Enjoying the show – Amy with Barbara and Esther: veteran olive pickers, Swiss mountain farmers and mean dice players!

Our work here done, we’ve had time to squeeze in a quick trip to Rome (see our next post!), as well as a spot of baking…


An attempt to use up the excess of oil – orange and olive oil cake, yum!

…chilling with the dog…


Oh hey Toto!

…stroking the highland cows…


We hadn’t expected to see ladies like these here! Dorothy, Abigail and Liberty feel at home in the Umbrian highlands.

…and enjoying the local bar!


Remaining Crew
The remaining cast of our original crew of 16 olive pickers, from left to right: Patricia, Ester, Peter, Amy, Barbara, head chef Alan and Will.


We’ve had a fantastic time in Umbria – with the storms, earthquakes, scenery and sunsets, the aptly named Terra Selvatica has given us its all! If you ever want to experience an olive harvest, this is the place to do it.

Thank you to our generous hosts, Patricia and Peter – from whom we’ve learnt a great deal about organic farming as well as dice games, Swiss sayings and of course olive oil production. Many thanks also to head chef and chief-olive-tree-climber Alan, who’s nightly three course meals ensured we made it through the harvest! We hope one day to return to your little patch of Wild Earth!




4 thoughts on “Wild Earth

  1. Sooo much love this article!! It was sooo great having you with us!
    Would you mind, sending me the fotos of Toto on the olive field, Abigail, Barbara-Esther-Amy sundowner and the bar picture ? Would love to have them as a souvenir…
    Take care, Patricia

    1. Ahh, it’s Abigail – we weren’t sure who it was! Toto knows how to pose too hey?? Of course, I’ll send them over to your email this evening.

      Hope you guys are enjoying a bit of peace and quiet now!


  2. Great picture and a good memory to a wonderful week – it was good to get to know you two, hope to see you in Sevilla!


  3. Looks amazing guys! – especially while we bask in -3 to -5 degrees of sunshine in a Bath winter….glad site is back up..


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