After having lived in four continents and travelled to many destinations we decided to move back to our family country home in Cortona. With backgrounds as a certified Yoga instructor and jewellery (Josiane), import export jewellery and strategic consulting (Pietro), two children, and after having lived near Sydney, Australia for ten years this move may have been a naive decision! However naive, it was a decision that has brought us to live in a more sustainable, conscious way in a pristine environment.
The main building at Antica Quercia Verde has an almost timeless history and has been rebuilt and adapted many times during the centuries. Antica Quercia Verde was bought as an old “rudere” abandoned ruin in 1982 by Pietro’s family. With no electricity, telephone, road, or running water much imagination was required to see the beauty in the wild bushes, old stones, and small hidden spring with flowing water for most of the year. More than thirty years ago this home was renovated with the intention of maintaining its original form and heritage. But after thirty years, both the house and the two adjacent buildings were in need of attention. Additionally, the land surrounding our home, blessed with untapped fertility under the Tuscan sun, had been abandoned. With its historical old stone terraces, great effort and commitment is required to farm this land respectfully – as has always been done here – without the use of herbicides, fertilisers or any other chemicals. Inspired by the hills of Tuscany, we embarked on a major project transforming our home into an agriturismo, giving us the opportunity to share our rustic Tuscan oasis with travellers from around the globe. It took us four years, a lot of energy, perseverance, and imagination. Initially the main building was refurbished including the addition of new and more efficient, electrical and heating systems using only materials that would respect the local traditions whilst having environment friendly characteristics. Our goal was to maintain the old character of this typically Tuscan farm while bringing its functionality into the current millennium. We then went on to refurbish the two adjacent buildings, giving them all the characteristics of modern, very efficient, environmentally friendly homes. Finally we built an in-ground swimming pool and pergola for ultimate relaxation. The gardens and outdoor areas have been carefully planned to create enjoyable spaces with native plants and convenient paths leading guests from their cottages to the pool and playground.
Year after year we have rediscovered, cleared, and pruned dozens of olive trees that we did not know we had. We have rebuilt old “dry” stone walls with the wonderful help of many friends coming from all over the world. The work isn’t totally finished – Rome wasn’t built in one day – however we are well on our way to creating an environmentally friendly, historically respectful Tuscan oasis that will make our children proud.