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Maurizio – Il Mandorleto Agri-Tourism and Equestrian Excursions

September 30, 2012

Il Mandorleto

What does an IBM IT programmer, project manager and data base administrator do when he realizes stress has taken over his life?  He moves to Sicily, takes over his wife’s family land and starts a new business immersed in nature.  That is exactly what Maurizio chose to do eleven years ago.  Upon arrival at Il Mandorleto, as I met Maurizio, his sparkling personality and demeanor proved the energy behind this man’s life.  His warm welcome and mannerism puts the guest immediately at ease.  We sat at one of his picnic tables, under the trees, and started talking about the history behind Il Mandorleto.  Maurizio used to spend weekends at this family location flying in from Rome where he worked at IBM until, one day, he realized this was the place where he needed to be.  It was a bold decision as he mentioned most of his family members thought he was out of his mind in considering such a choice.  He resigned his job in Rome, and arrived in Sicily with his children, a dog and a cat.  His wife helped him get started, but she now commutes between Sicily and Rome as she still holds her job in Rome. Today Maurizio grows almonds on forty hectares of land, runs an agri-tourism on the property, and offers equestrian tours taking groups to the surrounding areas. 

  Maurizio mentioned the main obstacles he had to overcome in starting this business. At first, his parents and in-laws did not believe in his project; however, over time, he has proven to be successful and is encouraged by the positive feedback he earns from his guests. Another obstacle in this business is the amount of time it demands and how one needs to find a balance in allotting time for the family. Maurizio insisted on the importance of avoiding family anxiety; everyone needs to be happy and especially Mother as he put it: “When Mother is happy, everything goes smoothly.” He added that a balance needs to be found in order to avoid the anxiety. This type of activity requires the family’s collaboration and in his case, his sons are actively involved in the daily tasks.  The older son, a student at  Scuola Alberghiera, helps out in many ways among which in the kitchen and the younger son helps out at the stables.

The main business is growing almonds on the 40 hectares of land, which lie across the street from the agri-tourism and stables.  As this is September, he mentioned it is a busy time for this business, as it is harvesting time. His distribution network is through the GAS, the goods purchasing coops, and he sells his almonds all over Italy.

Old Almond Storage Facility on Property

 The other business Maurizio runs on the property is the agri-tourism; his guests are both horseback riders seeking a place in nature and the opportunity to take trips on horseback, as well as guests that have no interest in the horses at all.  At the agri-tourism he promotes local agricultural produce and food, so his menu offers and promotes a variety of local foods one of which is as the Nero dei Nebrodi, a local ham from the Nebrodi.

Horse Riding Arena where he Holds Riding Lessons

Next, there is his horseback riding business, which is a member of Fitetrec-Ante, respectively a horseback riding federation and association both operating at the national level. More information on the facility at www.ilmandorleto.it

 It is obvious how much Maurizio loves the equestrian part of his job and he mentioned how taking a ride around the neighboring areas with their breathtaking views just allows him to totally get lost in the beauty of nature and its peace.  Maurizio concluded with the following line, spoken with a Roman accent, and I quote in English:  ῝I cannot complain – I chose all this!”

From → I Siquillyahni

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