Boggioli is situated at an altitude of 460 metres above sea level, at the end of a dirt road that winds through chestnut woods and olive groves. I bought the farm in 1975 and have gradually increased the size up to the current area of about 42 hectares (c. 100 acres). A little less than 4 hectares of land are planted with olive trees. One of the first major projects was carried out in the late 1970′s, which was the reclamation of fields and terraces to push back the encroaching borders of the surrounding forest.
Another big decision made at the outset was to eliminate the small vineyard to focus entirely on the olives, because the soil and altitude were not, in fact, well suited to grape production.
Boggioli is the name of a small locality, smaller even than a hamlet, about 3.5 km beyond Montegonzi and lies on a ridge overlooking the valley of the Arno. It consists of a main house, a restored barn and two outbuildings. The earliest records of habitation go back to the 12th century CE, although it may date from Roman times. It is difficult, though, if not impossible, to say with any degree of certainty whether any parts of the structures date from that far back; what is certain is that it has been almost continuously inhabited and, like most Tuscan hill farms, was virtually self sufficient.
I bought the property in 1975 and have gradually increased the size of the holding until today it covers 42 hectares (about 100 acres). Of this total area only about 3.7 hectares (about 9 acres) are planted with olives. One of the first tasks that we undertook in the late 1970′s was the reclamation of fields and terraces from the invading woodland. Another early decision was to eliminate the small vineyard and to concentrate on olives, as the terrain and elevation are not really well suited to grape production. This led to considerable replanting to bring back the total number of olive trees to about 750.
In 2009 we decided to look into how we could meet some of our energy needs by using renewable resources. The result was a photovoltaic installation positioned in a field about 100 m away from the entry point of electricity from the grid. We have been pleased with results so far. The proceeds from selling back to the grid the electricity that we produce but don’t use, together with the government ‘incentive’ paid for each kW that we produce, have reduced our energy costs, and the installation should pay for itself in another five years.
In the spring of 2003 the first part of a new olive grove of 1 hectare (2.5 acres) was planted with 250 young trees. The last part of this new grove was planted in 2013, which gave us a total of 1100 trees.
The next project was to see how we could heat the house and hot water by using renewable resources.. We already used wood from our property for a cast-iron Vermont wood-burning stove that keeps us warm 24 hours a day during the coldest parts of the winter, so we looked at wood- and pellet-burning boilers for central heating and hot water to replace our old LPG-based (and very expensive) system. Eventually we decided on a system fueled by pellets, and this became operational in 2013. We are pleased with the final results and decided to go one step further in 2015 by installing solar panels on the roof of the main house, so all our hot water in the summer is now heated by the sun.