Under the Tuscan Sun: Workaway in Fivizanno

Ok, I have to admit that this post is WAY overdue...about 3 months overdue. Time is just flying by and our time in Fivizanno, Italy at our first Workaway feels like forever ago! When I wrote this post, it was just after we left our hosts Elly and Craig but we finally finished the video. We sat down with them and asked questions about their experience being workaway hosts, what it was like to leave their home in Scotland to pursue a new life in Italy, and their view of cooking and the importance of gathering around the table at the end of the day. We hope you enjoy! (p.s: the music in the background of the video is Craig on the guitar and Elly on the fiddle! And listen closely to the cracking of a few beers mixed in there too haha!)

Workaway: a cultural exchange between 2 parties where work is exchanged for food and lodging. AKA an amazing way to travel, meet new people, save money and have experiences that are once in a lifetime! 

When we made the decision that we were going to travel Europe for about 7 months, we knew that we had to be really frugal because Europe can definitely come with a hefty price tag. We started looking for ways to make our money stretch so I simply searched "working in Europe" without the intention of really wanting to make any money, but more so just a way to sustain ourselves during our time in Europe. The first website that appeared was www.workaway.info and from there, we were hooked.

Workaway is a site that is dedicated to connecting hosts with "workawayers" and giving people the opportunity to have experiences that are unique and awesome. Basically, hosts can join workaway for an array of reasons - they need help restoring their house, picking vegetables from their garden, up keeping a bed and breakfast, working on a farm, learning a new language or even childcare. So when I saw an opportunity that took place in Tuscany, we just could not pass it up! Ahhhh, the rolling hills, endless fields of grapevines, villas that had views for miles and miles and a piece of Italy what was completely new to Sean and I.

As we drove up to Tuscany from Naples, we could immediately see the difference in regions. Naples is crowded and loud and Tuscany was tranquil and quiet. It felt like we were driving through the movie "Under The Tuscan Sun" (which was really convenient because that was the book I was reading at the time!). After about 6 hours in the car, we approached the city of Fivizanno and we could feel the fresh air and the sounds of "home restoration" were calling our name.

We pulled into an old medieval village and from the balcony, we could hear the soft sounds of a guitar, a dogs tail wagging and a "hey there!" In a Scottish accent. From there, our adventure with Elly and Craig began.

Elly and Craig had moved from Scotland where they built their own home and cafe in the Isle of Skye to pursue a simpler life in Tuscany. They purchased an AMAZING home that they have been restoring for quite a few months with the help of workawayers and a lot of elbow grease! Let me just tell you - this home is incredible. Unobstructed views of the Tuscan hills, 2 terraces, beautiful original construction, a backyard full of fruit and nut trees and an outdoor pizza oven! Just to top it off, throw in their black lab, Angus and 2 kittens, Jack and Victor and we were in a Tuscan paradise!

During the 10 days we were there, our jobs took place in the backyard clearing their massive bamboo forest and helping build their pool deck! Oh, I forgot to mention they have a pool? Yeah. They also have a pool. We worked our little booties off chopping and digging and hammering and cutting - but the days went by fast because we were having so much fun while we worked with them! 5 hours flew by and before we knew it, it was "beer o'clock."

We spent our nights there sitting around the table, eating an amazing home-cooked meal made by Craig, drinking wine and just chatting about anything and everything. We learned all about their life in Scotland and they learned about our life in the states and the extreme differences between the 2. Around the table is where we truly got to know Elly and Craig and the wonderful, generous, and humble people they are.

After dinner, we bare witnessed the incredible musicians they are! With Craig on the guitar and Elly on the fiddle or piano, we felt like we got a free concert every night. We grew attached to a specific song "Lillian Diana" which they played BEAUTIFULLY (and is the background music to the video!). Elly even took the time to help Sean learn "Hallejuliah" as he played on the guitar and she figured out the cords on the piano. If we weren't listening to them play music, we were huddled around the dinner table playing games like Scrabble or the addicting "Pod quiz" which is basically just trivia but we are so hooked!

We are incredibly thankful for Elly and Craig and their generosity, hospitality, great food, for trusting us to built them a pool deck while giving us the opportunity to meet the other workawayers, Robyn and Jordan who are also from Scotland. We all had such an incredible time together and we made memories in Fivizanno that we will never forget. 

Cheers to Elly and Craig! We will see you guys in Scotland in just a few weeks!