Etruscan Agriculture at Baratti Bay

August 5, 2014 / Local Interest
Stazione di Populonia, Tucany

Frida van der Horst is Dutch and studied in Rome. She was living in northern Tuscany when she heeded the call to “move on”. She set out by train and when passing the area of the Bay of Baratti knew she had found the place to pursue her mission in life.


Fates were with her and she found a plot of 7 hectares, called Piscine degli Olmi (Pond of the Elms), with its own water source overlooking the beautiful Bay. Steeped in the history of the Etruscans and her love of nature she wanted to try to return to their planet friendly agricultural methods.


Frida formed an Agricultural Association and is a member of Donne in Campo. As her success in farming grew using ancient Etruscan methods she found the need for storage (a barn!) and soon the task of learning and developing Earth Architecture was underway. (A note on Frida’s fascinating construction efforts coming soon.)


The virgin land she discovered, having lain fallow, was full of indigenous herbs and medicinal plants (Bach flowers abundant!), and under Frida’s determined hand soon produced flax, Italian hemp, arundo donax and other perennial species that had been farmed in Etruscan times. She hand picks her crops and makes ethnic gastronomic and therapeutic specialties.


In September Frida was featured as an inspiring woman in “Ode aan de Vrouw (Ode to the Women) by Patricia Blok, published by House of Books in Holland.

Visit Frida’s website for more info and photographs!


Road to the Sea

Pat Carney

by Pat Carney

Pat Carney-Ceccarelli ( happily divides her time between Campiglia Marittima and Cambridge, UK.

8 Responses to “Etruscan Agriculture at Baratti Bay”

  1. Amazing what one woman can accomplish! It’s as though that piece of land was waiting for her to come to life again. Is there a market for her products? How beautiful for her. She is a modern pioneer in an Etruscan element. Thanks Pat for sharing.

  2. Pat, your story resonates within me. Regardless of gender, your article sums up what life should be like for any of us when we are in the right place doing the right thing. Life will spring forth as we cultivate our environment but life does not come naturally if we are in the wrong place attempting to do the right thing. No matter how noble the cause, when we are not connected… life and life abundantly will simply not come. I applaud Frida for being brave enough to follow her heart. For in the end does not the heart lead us home anyway.
    Great article, it reads like a history book brought to life.

  3. Linda Boccia

    I too applaud Freida for her tenacity and compassion for the land. And the sentiments of Tom are equally mine as well. Follow your passion, yet plant in places of potential good harvest and you will have abundance in all senses. We are all connected, yet some disconnect through distractions and placing their energies in soil that is literally and figuratively not going to bring abundance! Follow your dreams yet temper them with changes as they occur. Life is abundant!!

  4. Linda Boccia

    GB is it possible to assemble, for sale of course, a directory of interesting places to visit in Rome and Italy in general, that have been contributed over the years by readers? I can not remember all the interesting places to see and would like to visit some of them in person if I could recall where they all are. Grazie, linda

  5. Very inspiring life she leads, thanks for bringing it to all of us. Appreciate the sentiments of Tom as well.

  6. Wow, what an inspiring story, and thanks too, to Tom and Linda for great comments. Linda, I think I’ll add my Encouragement to GB for that idea of putting some of these in booklet form to make it easy on travellers to carry with them. I tuck the ones that I plan to visit away in a special file folder on my laptop so I can easily print them out when we’re headed to Italy again. Trouble is, I’m beginning to save more and more and more!

  7. Roberto Mangan

    Living part-time in the Southwest US, I am used to adobe dwellings and to think the Etruscans and Tano peoples used the same materials to build is amazing!


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