The Artistry of Sustainability

Cascina Rodiani, Drezzo, Italy

We are so thoroughly entangled in the web of the world that we are blind to the unfolding world there before us.”  ~ John O’Donohue

 As a child – whether I was cuddled in the branches of a tree, dipping my hands into the water surrounding entwined cattails to explore the ever surprising embodiment of a frog in pollywog stages, or lying in a meadow mesmerized as a hawk glides upon invisible air currents – I was at one.

Never separate.  Always connected.  I was nature and she was me.

For me, this relationship has never changed.

Yet now we see and feel the crises our planet is in because of humans forgetting this basic interconnected wholeness.

Underneath the global crises we all face we are being asked to focus on ways of living, thinking, stewarding and taking action woven with nature’s wisdom.

It takes an embodied artistry to travel these natural pathways back home to union with the natural world, and solid intentions to live and travel with our values.

Green technology partnered with the natural world is one way we can return to once again embodying this interconnection – lost or forgotten by so many a very long time ago.

The unfolding artistry of nature stuns with its deeply interconnected communion – perhaps the greatest masterpiece of all – a constant reminder of our aliveness…and our mortality.

Recognizing that we are not only the guest of nature – we are inseparable from nature!

In the lake district of Northern Italy, near Switzerland and above Lake Como, on a hilltop overlooking the little town of Drezzo, surrounded by Spina Verde Regional Park, one can find the artistry of sustainability at the Eco-B&B – Cascina Rodiani ( who offer what they call Green Hospitality.

From the first moment of driving up the winding cobblestone road to the top of the hill where the 400 year old Cascina rests, peace and a touch of magic might possibly reach into your heart and immediately create spaciousness to simply be.

The abundance of the natural world embraces you as her guest.  You simply cannot ignore that connection immediately asked by some unseen forces to simply surrender your feeling of separation.

The statement “We are guests of nature” on the home page of their website speaks to the deeper vision and mission of the owners and managers of the Cascina – Samuel, Mimma and Ruth.  Partnering the best of green sustainable technology with nature, and warm attentive Italian hosting sprinkled with beauty everywhere.

From the very first moments, you are welcomed into the family of the Cascina, who always place well being as a priority.

Cascina Rodiani The attention to detail from breakfast served at a small table right outside your room on a sunny portico each morning; the tailored suggestions of how and where best to explore this stunning area and the means to get you there to include walking, electric bikes and/or electric cars; providing a picnic lunch for an outing; supplying a map of the multitude of trials for walking in the national park bordering the Cascina; surprises of  Italian homemade delights and a selection of organic wines; firing up the wood burning sauna;

….or simply allowing the privacy and space to drink in the gifts of sustainable artistry… enjoying deep sleep within the stone walls of a 400 year old building, each room furnished with recycled material and old furniture.

You may even experience a moment in time as I did, while lying by the natural lake. Trickle of water moving, wind rustling the giant bamboo, a cuckoo bird singing out, church bells chiming the hour from the valley below…..and the sound of your breath connected with it all.

Cascina Rodiani Sustainability

The artistry of sustainability at the Cascina includes thermal solar energy; a large biodynamic garden space and on going land stewardship; sustainable forestry; a green house where herbs & veggie starts dwell in the winter and lemon trees are protected;  water recycling using a phytodepuration system which is inclusive of 100% drinkable water efficiency; a natural lake; home grown olives and pressed olive oil; beekeeping and the resultant honey; composting and recycling; fresh eggs from the chickens…and always an awareness and devotion to living sustainably with natural resources.

Cascina Rodiani Lake & Sauna

Just a 10 minute walk down the hill (everything is either down or up!) is the small down of Drezzo. One of my favorite memories of this trip outside of the Cascina, resides at the restaurant – Rossodisera – with it’s attention to artistic presentation, outstanding risotto, sparkling Italian wine, and of course the creme brulee studded with fresh berries.

One of the servers in the restaurant spoke some English and my Italian was not fit for consumption (even though I had taken online Italian lessons since January!), so the feeling of being single and alone had me in it’s grip.

All of a sudden an entire table of two families including two little girls turned around all at once, raised their glasses to me and said Saluti! with smiles on everyone’s face –  turned  around to confer with each other –  then faced me again, raised their glasses and said “Cheers” which made my smile grow even larger…and my feeling of being alone vanish!

Drezo, Italy

When the waiter came to me with a small red box and presented it as if it was the most treasured of gifts I actually thought they were giving me something special for being such a wonderful patron and enjoying my dinner so much.

Well, it was the bill, but surrounded with small dark chocolates to take home and enjoy later.  And I did feel very special filled with the artistry of beautiful food and welcoming Italians.

Como Italy

Cascina Rodiani is only a 20 minute drive to Como resting beside beautiful Lake Como with stunning views of the Alps, lush gardens, open markets, cultural history and art, and travel up a hillside by tram to see the spectacular view from above.

Ferries will take you around the very large lake to whatever small town you would like to visit, perhaps to the spectacular Botanical Gardens at Villa Carlotta where I visited, or the “crowing jewel” of Lake Como – Bellagio – which I did not.

Lake Como italy Delights

For those that wish to actively explore this diverse area filled with culture and history there is also the artistry of the Slow Lake Como guides who, through their story telling, take you on mini-adventures experienced with all of your senses – where the “normal tourist” does not go!

Though enjoying the small excursions I did take while in this area, it was so incredibly restful to return to the Cascina and drop back into the peace and stillness there.

It was difficult leaving Cascina Rodiani at the end of my stay there, though I know I always have an Italian “family” to come back to – and a resting place to restore in after a day walking in the Spina Verde Park, exploring small towns, or witnessing an area so rich with history, culture…..and beauty.

Arreviderci to Cascina Rodiani – Samuel, Mimma (and Ruth) – Molto Grazie!

Arrivederci to Cascina Rodiani

When you make your reservations please let them know Gaye sends Molto Amore!


36957665_10216959478557119_2689410213248761856_nGaye Abbott adores the adventure of travel and learning about the people, culture, language, history, landscape and artistry of an area through the road less traveled. She travels with her values, and most probably will be found out in nature, in the countryside, dancing, or in small towns and villages connecting with farmers, artisans, and anyone who tells unique stories, with a sense of humor….and are not afraid to transparently show up as they are!






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Gaye Abbott

NATURAL PASSAGES CONSULTING Inspiring New Possibilities, Living From the Heart of Life While Co-creating Well Being of Body, Mind, Heart and Planet….One Breath At A Time. Gaye Abbott, is a wild and free soul who just so happens to LOVE writing, playing with energy, ecstatic dance and free form movement, living and breathing in nature, her 3 sons and 3 grandchildren, communing with friends and global community, organic food and cooking, creating home sanctuaries to live within, a lack of material possessions....and laughter every single day! As a wise elder of 72 years she feels decades younger....and acts it too! Devoted to being of service to the Earth and all living beings Gaye seeks the peace of mind and openness of heart that provides the foundation for effective action in the world and her community. OTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT: Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview, Reviews and purchase links can be found here:

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