Travel blog

‘Mama’ Etna and Farm B & Bs

By on April 9, 2013
As some of you know, we’re staying at a very honest-to-goodness ‘agrofarm.’ Typically in Italy, an agrofarm is simply a B & Bs that farms land and sells products from it. This one is the mother of all agrofarms, with no ‘aggro’ attached. Grin.

A little backtracking is in order. Armando’s finding his roots, his father’s side, in this visit to Sicily. But just before we came here we had an oddity that rarely happens: several clients simultaneously paid late.

We opted to find another masseria/agrofarm/whatsit while waiting for our funds to flow.

Enter: our first officially misguided ‘agrofarm.’ We arrived at night, found the place but couldn’t actually find it specifically.

After waiting some time, we met the owners.

I won’t give details about them due to what I’m going to say next: they thought we were some type of traveling charity sector, that would a.) reinvent their online image b.) rework their website c.) not do our actual jobs (no WiFi, but they wanted us to rehash their FB page…?? Crikey) and d.) do it all for something close to less than nothing.

We extricated ourselves to go and meet a vintner, who was about 10km away. He’d just started his B & B a year ago and wanted to move forward. His wine, family name/business at Agricola Dell’Arneo were sound. He was brilliant. A lovely intelligent fella who works at a military airport, Massimo and his business partner Valerio were welcoming.

The accomodations (read: shower facilities) were not only clean and fresh, but they’d made sure they were handicap-friendly. So rare these days. The room was beautiful, but we didn’t make use of it beyond Armando watching a favorite program.

Unfortunately, before we had a chance to fulfil our end of the bargain, there was a death in the family. We’ll be going back at a better time. They were generous, and caring. Massimo even burned us a ‘Digital Nomads’ keychain to say goodbye.

We came to Sicily, Armando has already written about his family things. It’s amazing how emotional history can make you. Even when, like me, you’re not a direct part of it. It affects you.

We tried the (ahem, ‘apparently most beautiful city in Italy,’ cough, cough) Taormina vibe for… dunno, anything cohesive? What we met: tourists, souvenirs including the ‘Eye of Istanbul’ and ‘Grecian Tragedy Masks.’ For tourists.
I’m really not much of a shopper-shopper. I like quality, I like classic, I’m done. Get me into an old book store

and hope to find me in a few hours. It was like walking through plastic, with dolls passing by with full shopping bags and vacuous grins. Not our scene, at all.

A message came from an agrofarm, Il Rustico, saying they’d be interested in a trade.

That’s where we are now. I can hear the llama’s munching close to us (it’s too dark to see them).

We love the fact they’ve apparently adopted a gazelle.

Personally, I’m fascinated and have a fixation on the Cassowary bird. She seems lonely and deadly. Reptilian yet…sympathetic. There are over 200 different animals here, and we’ve been loving every minute.

We’ve got to enjoy it, since Thursday we’ll be off to a posh spa/agrofarm that is fairly unbelievable. We’ll be better at posting, it’s just so easy to get distracted by adorable piglets.

Ciao from the edge of ‘Mama Etna’ (the locals all have their windows facing her, to see her mood and guage how their day will go). We’ll be in touch soon.

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