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"Il Filo d'Erba" Altaura e Monte Ceva - Padova - Veneto - Italia
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Articolo che parla della Fattoria Altaura su stampa internazionale

CASALE DI SCODOSIA – The story has all the elements of a classic fairytale. Set in the ancient and history steeped lands of the Veneto Region, there is a young girl who lives in the noble city of Padova. The young girl is the only child born to a hard-working family of successful farmers. The girl’s parents believe in traditional values and strong education. They raise their daughter to study well and achieve excellence in her schooling. Many years roll by, and the young girl blossoms into Maria Dalla Francesca, a learned woman of science. Maria’s prolonged efforts within the halls of education have borne fruit. She has attained the title of Nuclear Physicist, and Maria begins a teaching career in the same. Additional decades pass in which much remains as it always had been. But, the steady march of time has now brought Maria’s parents to their twilight. Faced with the sadness of her parents passing, Maria now finds herself at an important crossroads in her own life. As her parent’s only child, Maria is now the sole benefactor of the family farming operation. These farms are no mere homestead, but a large company which had been under the direction of the Dalla Francesca family for 100 years. Staunchly proud of their heritage, generations of Dalla Francesca’s had take care to farm their lands using traditional techniques which they then handed down to their next of kin. Maria Dalla Francesca is that next of kin. “I had a decision to make.” Says Maria, “I now needed to decide whether I would create an administration for my family’s company, sell it, or make a career-change and run the company myself.” Believing in her roots, Maria made the brave choice of turning her back on a 20 year career in teaching so that she could devote all of her energies to running the family farms. Her choice meant much sacrifice but, Maria had some ideas of her own to go along with her decision. “When I was a child, for a single month each year, I was sent to live in the countryside.” Reminisces Maria,” I have never forgotten that during that one month a year, I enjoyed the freedom to do even that which was normally forbidden to me. I would crush grapes with my bare feet and ‘swim’ inside a huge tank of warm corn - thresh for hours with only the sun’s rays to dry me after. I took fishing trips. I ate sandwiches in the open air, plopped upon the grass rather than sat properly at a table. I was allowed to get dirty.” The farms of family Dalla Francesca, called Altaura and Monte Ceva, were about to take on a new direction. Maria Dalla Francesca believes that the ability to taste and experience all of those sensations that only nature can provide is a privilege indescribable by words alone, and she set out to share that privilege. “It is now my inner-most wish to share joyous feelings of fun and well-being with the public by inviting people of all ages to join me in the countryside on my farms.” Says Maria, “Over the course of years, I have begun to view my sentiment towards nature as a useful objective, for I now feel it is necessary to provide people with the same opportunities to be distracted and stimulated by nature as I have had in my own life. The countryside is a font of inexhaustible knowledge that I wish to assist people in experiencing.” Starting the in the year 1998, Maria began a conversion process which would re-invent her farms. And, in the year 2000, the Altaura and Monte Ceva farms were opened to the public as ‘Educational Farm Schools’ under the namesake; Il Filo d’Erba - esperienze in fattoria. “The activities and courses offered to the farm’s visitors are intended to contribute to the diffusion of patrimonial knowledge in the areas of environment, agricultural landscape, and the traditions associated with them. Through experimentation, we gain appreciation and enjoyment of the values and sensations stemming from the agricultural world.” Explains Maria. Altaura and Monte Ceva farms now host rustic accommodation for guests to the farm, organic restaurants, and the facilities for direct vending of locally grown bio-products to the public. As proprietor, Maria has also taken steps in her organically themed enterprise to enlist the aid of (and aid in) several like-minded organizations around the world. Her participation with these associations and consortiums help to generate awareness for the principles and new ideas of the bio-ecological farming community. These groups include: Agricoltura Biologicatorie, Fattorie Didattiche, the Earth Charter, Chaine de Rotisseurs, and WWOOFing International. Maria’s Farms hold a certification with the ICEA and an association with the AIAB as well. Today, and year-round, any and all are welcomed upon the farms of Altaura and MonteCeva. Guests to the farms experience the traditional hospitality and cuisine of the Venetians set among lands which flourish with native flora and fauna. Volunteers to the farm gain hands-on knowledge and experience pertaining to the cohesion of all life within nature and man’s place in that intricate mosaic. Maria’s vision is that of adults and children alike re-discovering the natural processes of our ecosystem, so that we might give back to our environment which has already given so much to we as a species. And all of this, so that future generations may be able to enjoy the same wonders of nature that we know today. {P.M. Fadden is a travel journalist with a decade long career of international exploration and learning.}

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