March 1, 2023

Gianfranco is our local farmer and a wonderful kind man who lives with his brother Alessio and wife Mariarosa in the family farm in Gugliano. He used to be the patriarch of the village, head of the church and village but aged 83 he plays a lesser role despite being on the tractor every day. Although he’s recently had a couple of farming accidents he still incredibly strong & fit which he puts down to his daily intake of 1.5litres of his local red. He still hand milks his cows.

Mariarosa still wears a house coat and prepares most of the food in her outdoor kitchen; I would be surprised if they have hot water as many Italians don’t. They have a lovely family chapel which is covered in frescoes and now used by Gianfranco for his string & cardboard box collection – nothing is wasted. The Barsotti family graves and war memorial are on the bend in the road just above the village.

Gianfranco is usually seen wearing his black beret but wears a different job for each job. For vine work he converts two brown paper bags.

During Easter, he cuts and uses the willow shoots for tying up the vines. This is only practised in Italy but supposedly better than wire or string as they are stronger and more flexible.

Marcelo lives in the Corte up in Gugliano, opposite the Barsotti’s with his wife Yvana and is a wonderful sweet man; he has white haired with a fine moustache. He and his son look after the woods, repair the track, looks after our olive trees and has a wonderful veg patch. His vegetables, especially tomatoes are fantastic, unlike the awful ones we have in the UK.

Marcelo watching his son prune the huge oak tree by our barn.

Pierluigi is our gardener and pool man. He’s worked with us for 23 years. He is a lovely soul; his only sin is that he smokes and leaves his cigarette butts but that is a small sacrifice!! His catch phrase after cutting the lawns or strimming the olive groves  is ‘Troppo caldo!’ (very hot). In fairness, physical work during the summer is very hot. He lives with his mother and father, brother and wife in the white house across the valley, with better views of the beautiful mountains than the €2.5m house just below him, owned by a Belgium pharmaceutical tycoon.

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