Paolo’s creamy cappuccinos, home-baked cakes by Graziella, Giovanni’s distilled brandy: when Irene Berni paints a picture of Valdirose, it’s...
Sibilla, who are you? Can you tell us about your background?
I have been a happy countryside child, daughter of a hippie minded mother, a rebellious teenager, une italienne à Paris, a trend setter, a treasure finder, an improvised businesswoman and a farmer. I guess I’m still a bit of everything.
What is the story behind Ebbio? Why that name?
Ebbio started at the end of the 80’s from my mother’s dream of finding the ideal place to live in harmony with nature. Tuscany in particular, the area between Florence and Siena, is characterized by its sinuous hills, rich with history and agricultural traditions. It was the right place! Thanks to a lot of passion and commitment, Ebbio, has become a point of reference for people looking for a more conscious and healthy relationship with food and nature, a place for meditation, where to practice sustainable life methods. My mother Francesca, decided to keep the name Ebbio (from the Latin ĕbŭlum or ĕbŭlus) because Ebbio is a perennial herb in the surrounding land. This plant has small white flowers and black berries with a blood-red juice, and is still used in veterinary medicine as well as in folk medicine.
What made you change your life?
I did not really decide or plan to change life, it just happened to me. I guess that what was a mission to accomplish became a journey. I am a city-born who grew up in the countryside, went back to the city and to the countryside back again. If the country -life will ever stop giving me satisfactions, I know there is spot for me in my favourite buzzing cities, for a day, a week or longer. Likewise anyone needs a quiet place, I know an hidden paradise somewhere in the Tuscan hills called Ebbio and I can share its address. My life is both the countryside and the city, the simplicity and its opposite – I just need the right balance.
How do you want to support and develop your farm?
Ebbio a point of reference for people looking for a more conscious and healthy relationship with food, with nature, a place of meditation and in which to practice sustainable life methods! Therefore, I am trying to broaden the circle of Ebbio’s friends with the more traditional channels (including by word of mouth between nature and meditation lovers) and with the more modern ones. I am also concentrating to build durable relationships and collaborations with compatible companies and organizations.
Who is Ebbio aimed at?
Ebbio is the perfect spot for a group of 15 to 20 guests; a yoga retreat, a writing seminary, an art-workshop, a company teambuilding, a family and friends get-away, a place for celebrations, a km0, a venue for weddings, or a full moon party… Ebbio is a perfect place to get in touch with other people, with ourselves, and to find space, to laugh, to discover, to smell, to taste. I want enthusiastic guests, I want people that travel to discover, to relax, and have fun!
Tell us about your days.
They are never the same! If I’m not too busy fulfilling my guest needs, organizing a wedding, a retreat, or a workshop, or I am occupied with land operations, I often have new projects and obsessions, such as: adopting a new pet, constructing a tree house, planting some new plants and flowers, making a new outside lounge, or fantasizing about where would I build a natural pool if I’d ever got the authorizations…
What has been your favourite moment since you have been here?
It is so difficult, Every time we have puppies is such a joy! Every blossom season is such an excitement, but every time I find the perfect piece of furniture is also an indescribable sense of fulfilment for me! Not to mention the pleasure of receiving!
Animals, people: who is at your side at Ebbio?
At Ebbio all animals are friends, they are loved and free, we have 14 donkeys, 7 beautiful horses, Rico and Aisha (a couple of Bernese Sheppard), Baghi (my black tail-less cat), Pedro (the latest acquisition), geese, chickens, ducks, turkeys, peacocks, not to mention all the wild ones… wild pigs, foxes, dears. At Ebbio you will also find my mamma Francesca, known as Nirdosh, and myself. And also find Carmen and Costello, Tula, Dimitri and Mirco! This is Ebbio’s team. We often welcome Wwofers, voluntary workers that come To Ebbio to get a cultural exchange on an organic farm and become part of the family.
Photography: Constance Gennari – Text: Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily