It’s been almost a year since fellow blogger Orna O’Reilly, of Orna O’Reilly: Travelling Italy, and I joined our respective https:// together — we got married. A lot has happened since we exchanged vows, all for the better I might add. We bought a brand new home under construction, departed the Veneto for the warmer climes of Puglia in southeastern Italy and began collaborating on this new chapter in our lives.
Our little casa, Villa Allegra, is perched atop a hill in Contrada Cinera near Ostuni in the Valle d’Itria of the Alto Salento. More than just a small, bright-white house with Santorini-blue shutters, Villa Allegra sits on almost two acres of land and is fast becoming, like other properties in the area, an olive farm and orchard, with 80+ young, budding alberi di ulivo dotting the landscape, along with a good number of fruit trees.
Tasked with handling everything that’s not under a roof, I have become, as Orna notes, a reluctant olive farmer. “Oh woe is me,” I groan as I step into my rubber Hunter wellies and head back out into the rich, red earth.
Despite the hard work involved in managing this large parcel of land, we’re beginning to see good results from our labor and, thankfully, that of the hired help — Martino, Vito, Antonio, Eugenio, Angelo, Nico, Giuseppe, Alessio, Francesco, Luigi, another Angelo, etc. You know who you are.
We painstakingly pounded the earth transforming large rocks into fine powder, methodically dropped a pozzo (well) down some 340+m (70m of which are below sea level) to strike water, and turned the soil over and raked it relatively flat. Our “farm” is finally fully irrigated and I’m no longer strapped to nightly hand watering hundreds of trees, plants and shrubs. With few exceptions, I now just set faucet timers and let the internal clocks do their thing. Piece of cake.
Now, with a bit of time on our hands, at least for the moment, we’re really beginning to fully appreciate the peace and tranquility of our ‘hood around and nearby Villa Allegra.
It’s no wonder that we’ve gotten into the “healthy” habit of taking our evening rosato wine aperitivi up on the rooftop terrace and dinner outside on the veranda; we simply don’t want to miss a minute of gazing at the slow-changing, colorful skies as the sun gives way to nighttime here in the Valle d’Itria.
Our collaboration continues as this new chapter in our lives at Villa Allegra, tucked away in a quiet-as-a-mouse valley bookended by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, continues to be written. Much more back-breaking work lies ahead while additional improvements and enhancements are already up on the drawing board; so, stay tuned.
Ciao for now.