248 – Autumn Visitors and the 2017 Olive Harvest

Over the Autumn we have had a string of friends and family members come and visit us at Tre Cancelle which kept us busy. First we welcomed our friends: Clive and Marilyn who used to live in Gaeta. For several years Clive used to help Paul a great deal in the olive grove before their move back to the UK. They treated us to a lovely meal at a restaurant in Gaeta named the Masaniello.


Clive and Paul



My cousins Cathy and Jeff from Australia came to stay for a a week and also Paul’s sister and her friend Linda. They also helped Paul to celebrate his birthday.


Cathy and Jeff


Annie and Paul


Annie, Paul, Cathy, Jeff and Linda


The Birthday Boy – Paul


A hand-drawn birthday card by Jeff of “San Paolo”

They also have us an amazing hand in clearing and preparing the olive groves for the harvest. Thank you all for you wonderful efforts !!!

No sooner had this party departed another arrived in the form of came our friend Kay and also friends Gerda and Adrian from South Africa who had recently got married.  The couple had been doing a 30 day whistle-stop tour of Europe visiting 5 countries, 22 towns and villages in Holland, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy.  And they still managed to fit in a few day’s visit to see us at Tre Cancelle. Amazing guys !!!


Adrian and Gerda from South Africa

We also welcomed two of Kay’s friends, Nicky and Simon. All had come to help with the olive harvest.  Our American friends from Minturno and  Nandi, Davide and their three children from Itri, Tomaso, Dante and Giada, also volutuneered to help for a couple of days which was fantastic to have some extra pairs of hands.

This year we had a decent crop much to Paul’s delight . Over a couple of weeks with our team of volunteer workers we managed to harvest 1000 kilos of olives which were turned into about 180 litres of November harvest extra virgin olive oil which was really good news. At the same time we also managed to prune some of the trees that were growing too far too tall.

















Our sincere thanks to all those who took part and helped to make it such fun. It was an outstanding team effort.





Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Holiday Apartments Near Sperlonga’s Beaches and Historic Itri

Discover Beautiful South Lazio



196 – Helping Hands In The Groves

A few days after Elsie’s party a couple more good friends arrived from Cardiff, Nicki and Callum, who had volunteered to help out for a week in the “Tre Cancelle” olive groves.  This was their second visit to Itri. 

Sadly this year once again we had no olives.  It is not just us, though, it is the same in many of the olive groves in Itri, because there were strong winds back in early May when the trees are in bloom and the flowers failed to set. 

We have recently got some workers in to help with some pruning in the lower section of the grove, and they had left behind piles of branches and twigs that littered the ground. 

Pruning Olive Grove Itri Italy

The job in hand was then to chomp out and separate the chunky branches from the smaller twiggy ones, called “frasche”, using pneumatically powered secateurs.

Then all the small branches have to be gathered up and burned.

Pruning Olive Grove Itri Italy

Bonfire Pruning Olive Grove Itri Italy

The burn ferociously because of the amount of oil in the sap.

We all got stuck in and worked our cotton socks off for several days and managed to clear several of the terraces.  In fact it became a quite a challenge as to how many terraces we could conquer.   Callum is only 14 but he worked so hard. Nicki you should be so proud of him.

Bonfire Pruning Olive Grove Itri Italy

Pruning Olive Grove Itri Italy

Pruning Olive Grove Itri Italy


Pruning Olive Grove Itri Italy

Firewood Pruning Olive Grove Itri Italy

Dog Max Olive Grove Itri Italy

Max Olive Grove Itri Italy

Sunset in Olive Grove Itri Italy

However, it wasn’t all work and no play that week.

We all went out for a special birthday meal at the “Casareccia” in Campodimele and were joined once again by our American friends from Ohio, Florisa and Patrizia.

Meal at  La Casareccia Campodimele Italy

Meal at  La Casareccia Campodimele Italy

Meal at  La Casareccia Campodimele Italy

Meal at  La Casareccia Campodimele Italy

Once again Maria served up copious amounts of wonderful handmade delicacies.

Meal at  La Casareccia Campodimele Italy

Meal at  La Casareccia Campodimele Italy

Callum is a keen young cook and whilst staying at Tre Cancelle he made a fabulous chocolate cake.

Chocolate Cake Tre Cancelle

Chocolate Cake Tre Cancelle

You can come and stay again Callum !!!

On their last evening we took Callum, Nicki and Kay to the Bellavista.

Here Callum had a one to one lesson in art of pizza making, by the expert himself – Massimo !!!

Making Pizzas at La Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Making Pizzas at La Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

It’s not as easy as it looks !!!  It is all about stretching the dough.

Making Pizzas at La Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Callum made a special pizza for his mum ……

Making Pizzas at La Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Making Pizzas at La Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Making Pizzas at La Bellavista Restaurant Itri Italy

Making Pizza at Bellavista Restaurant Itri Latina Italy

Pizza at the Bellavista Restaurant Itri Latina Italy

Bellavista Restaurant Itri Latina Italy

Bellavista Restaurant Itri Latina Italy

Bellavista Restaurant Itri Latina ItalyNicki, Anna and Kay

Thank you Kay, Callum and Nicki

for all your support and hard work during that busy week. 

We couldn’t have done it without you !!!

#olives #gaetaolives #itriitaly #lacasarecciacampodimele #bellavistaitri



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments

Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

171 – A Busy Busy November

At the beginning of November our friends  Kay and Elsie arrived from Wales, they regularly come to help us out at this time of year, which is normally the beginning of the olive harvest.  


Firstly we celebrated Elsie’s birthday with our friends at the Bellavista Restaurant in Itri


Pietro had previously discussed with us the possibility of bring two more horses to graze at Tre Cancelle, in particular those which had been born earlier this year and were now ready to be separated from their mothers.  After a day or so’s warning Pietro arrived with horse-box in tow and the two new members of the Tre Cancelle “Neigh-Gang” !!!  Pino was well intrigued !!!


The new arrivals were somewhat shaken up by their long bumpy ride and needed a great deal of coaxing to get them to come out of the horse-box.


The first to emerge was black in colour – a young female, who we have named “Lola”.


The second was a tan coloured young male, who we have named “Vinci”.






Gradually they were introduced to Pino. 


Aww Bless !!! They seemed to be missing their mothers so much and it gave the impression that they were trying to cuddle each other.


Pino soon told them who was boss but after a few days they seemed to have settled down.   I think he enjoys the company.

A few days later  Emma and Aneurin, our youngest grandson, arrived also.  Emma was also champing at the bit to get back to work in the olive groves.


Our American friends Patrick and Mindy, and along with Mindy’s Mum Donna, came over one day with her mother to help with some olive picking, however as I mentioned previously this year the harvest was not good, but we worked together to gather what olives there were by hand.




Paul and Patrick being tall were good at reaching the high ones.

Of course Aneurin helped too.


We were able to take advantage of the mild sunny weather by eating lunch together on the terrace. Not bad for November.




Many of our trees still need pruning to keep them from getting too tall and leggy and thus less productive.  Our dear friends Clive and Marilyn, Brits who currently live in Gaeta,  regularly come to help Paul with pruning duties. Clive is especially enthusiastic about our special Extra Virgin olive Oil.



Regrettably, last spring whilst pruning trees Clive lost his footing on a ladder and had a nasty tumble, falling awkwardly.  Sadly he managed to break both his ankle and shoulder, which incapacitated him for several months.  Needless to say, we felt dreadful about the accident.  It just goes to show how easily accidents can happen, and the importance of tying the ladder to the tree.  Thankfully because he is such a fit and strong individual he seems to have made a good and swift recovery.  This Autumn Clive was keen to get back to work in the groves, Marilyn however has now banned him from climbing ladders, but he is still eager to do all he can at ground level.

Clive brought Marilyn and old friend from the UK knick-named “Smiffy” to work up at Tre Cancelle for a couple of days – Everyone worked so hard – pruning, chomping out and cutting to size logs, and burning the debris.    Once again here in Bella Italia we could enjoy sitting outside for lunch.



A “Big Thank You” to every one who has so kindly given us their time, energy and enthusiam to help us progress on the upkeep and maintenance of the olive groves at Tre Cancelle. xxxxxxxx

Kay and Elsie’s holiday unfortunately soon came to end, however Emma and Aneurin were staying on for a couple more weeks.

We spent a day helping our neighbour Luca and his Mum to gather his olives, he did have a few more to harvest than us.



And of course Aneurin helped too  !!! – By turning his jacket around back-to-front and using his hood to put olives into !!!



How lovely it is to have a like-minded neighbour who prefers to use natural methods of cultivation rather than the often over use of  chemical agricultural products. Well done Luca, we wish you well in your endeavours !!!

All photos by me  Louise Shapcott (NonnaLou) and Kirsten McRobbie


Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

170 – More Young and Keen Volunteers

Disappointingly Autumn this year there were very few olives.  It was not just us, but many of the local olive farmers found themselves in a similar situation.  Back in May, when the olive trees were in flower, there was a cold spell with strong wind and heavy rain, so because of this the olive flowers had not set to form their miniature little olives.

Yet there is always work to be done in the groves.  This Autumn we welcomed three more young keen volunteers to help out, Kirsten, Kay’s daughter, and two of her good friends Kyle and Jessica.  They had wanted to help with the olive harvest, but Paul soon got them to work pruning around the bases of the trees where unwanted shoots grow and making bonfires  with the debris.

Kyle took many photos of their stay.  I think they had fun !!! 

I will let his photos do the talking ….













Kirsten and Kyle, the mad fools, were determined to take a dip in the pool. It was somewhat nippy at this time of year !!!



Kyle and Jessica even managed to fit in a day trip to Rome on the train.







All photos above by Kyle Blannin



Thank you so much guys for all your hard work.

It was so appreciated.


Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

152 – La Racolta And The Return Of The Belly-Dancers (part 2)

One lunchtime we all ate together with the builders on the terrace, Saverio’s wife had kindly prepared a delicious meal for us all.




We explained to the lads that Elsie, Karen and Bobbie belonged to a troup of Belly-dancers, which performs regularly in South Wales.  Suddenly Karen and Bobbie rushed off only to return a few minutes later fully dressed in their dancing attire.





The builders were transfixed by their whirls and twirls !!!


One evening we all went out to our favourite restaurant, where the girls, this time including Elsie, put on another colourful show-stopping performance. 

Here I’ll let the photos do the talking ……..







Well done girls (and Gian-Carlo)   Bravissimo !!!


Bobbie, Karen and Elsie

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott


Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

151 – La Racolta And The Return Of The Belly-Dancers – (part 1)

Just where does a year go !!! November – Olive Harvesting time again. 

By the end of October a good proportion of trees were heavy with olives.


Our friends Kay , Elsie and Karen are regular visitors to “Tre Cancelle” and had volunteered once again to help us out.  This time they recruited a new member for their team, Bobbie, who was eager to experience the harvest.

Unfortunately,  at the beginning of their stay, the weather was not so helpful, as there were several days of rain and strong winds which scuppered our plans. Thankfully as the week went on the weather began to improve.  The girls were keen to get stuck in.


On the first terrace, we spread out the nets around the bases of the trees.  Elsie commenced on the higher branches using the mechanical shaker.



Meanwhile the rest of us girls gathered any olives that which we could reach and pick by hand.

Some of the trees had grown over tall, so Paul set about killing two birds with one stone, giving the lofty bushy branches a good prune, which then allowed us to gather the olives from them more easily.






We also set aside the thicker branches which could be used as winter fuel for our wood-burning stove.


The olives were poured into plastic crates to take down to the local olive mill in Itri.





I sorted some lovely plump olives to be cured in brine to make into delicious table olives.


Paul was unable to overdo things, because of his heart condition.  He was finding  that he tired very quickly. Thankfully, on several days our builder friends also offered their services which was grand as they are a very fit and strong gang.






All photos by me © Louise Shapcott


Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy