The Potentino Valley Project (PVP) is designed to support the environment surrounding Castello di Potentino through conservation and agriculture. Land husbandry has been a part of Monte Amiata since Etruscan times. However, diminishing numbers of people are implementing these agricultural traditions – much of the fertile zone is being abandoned. Miraculously, the Valley has been sheltered from the impact of modern farming and the intensive use of chemicals. It continues to host extensive biodiversity and the landscape has not been significantly altered since medieval times. This is an exceptional situation in modern-day Tuscany.
Potentino has been pumping up the strength of this ecology by planting fruit trees and a sacred ‘bosco’ or wood which has a rare selection of indigenous trees. We are also increasing the bee presence with over 40 hives. A whole series of bat boxes have been placed along the valley and in the olive groves. We have been grazing sheep and geese in the fields. We are also studying the flora and fauna of the valley in order to document the presence of rare examples which will be published in a book as a guide to the valley and will create walks in the area focusing on interesting historical or natural features.
The PVP intends to preserve this unique place and the vestiges of its ancient heritage by making its produce and way of life more accessible and appreciable to a wider range of people. Education is a central PVP goal. Castello di Potentino has worked with young people through WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms) for over 15 years, and will continue to give volunteers a chance to learn about farming through first-hand experience. About 5,000 volunteers in total have come to experience the magic of Potentino and continue to maintain a strong connection with the Valley to this day.