Saturday Stories from Monestevole, Italy: Matilda and Rose Hips

Today, before kitchen duty, team water went to gather some stories from Monestevole.

Meet Matilda the Pig:



Matilda was born three and a half years ago.  She was the runt of seven piglets and very tiny and frail.  They believed she wouldn’t survive so they took her into the house to care for her.  At first, she was frightened of the humans and  would cry out when people would try to touch her.  But then, she quickly grew accustomed to human affection and would suckle  on everyone’s toes.  She was particularly attached to Marisella, the owner of Monestevole.  When new guest were around, Matilda would nibble on strangers’ toes but when she would realize that the toes were not attached to Marisella, she would run away squealing.  It was a struggle to reintegrate Matilda.

When Filippo and Marisella would go to check on the other pigs in the pen, Matilda would follow closely behind as if she was a dog. She never wanted to stay or even mingle with the other pigs but would follow her owners back to the house every time.

Because Matilda identified as a dog, she often played with the neighborhood canines.  This usually went well for her, but one time a dog bit into her leg and broke it.  Filippo took her to get the bone set, and the veterinarian was perplexed as to why they didn’t just slaughter her for food.  When Filippo and Marisella told them that she was their pet, they found it ridiculous and hilarious.  They sent multiple photos of Matilda getting cared for like a dog.

Pigs live in a matriarchal society, so Filippo and Marisella had to wait until Matilda was the largest female.  They kept her in the house until she was too big to live their sustainably.  She actually got into the habit of pushing large stabilizer stones off of the balcony of the house and began causing some problems.  Integrating Matilda went well because she went from being the runt to the alpha-female, a status that she maintains to this day.  Matilda is the big shot in the pig pen until a larger female takes over some day.

Rose Hips


All around the farm, there are these beautiful bushes full of what appears to be bright red berries.  Upon further inspection, we notice that these are rose bushes, full of similar leaves and thorns as the flower we all know and love.

Nicolo told us that these are wild rose hips, and are actually an incredible super food as nutritious or even more beneficial as goji berries.  The bushes are local and wild.  They volunteer all over the property and are very hard to control.  That being said, the offer an incredible product and the kitchen staff create and can a wonderful and nutritious jam every season which is full of anti-oxidants and can be used year round if we pick enough.





One thought on “Saturday Stories from Monestevole, Italy: Matilda and Rose Hips

  1. Pat mc Donald says:

    Enjoyed this interesting, educational and fun story. I loved learning about the rose hips because I have seen them but didn’t realize they could be made into food.


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