Early January 2020 marks our 5th anniversary at Villa Rustica. Greg and I had thought about celebrating but, with bushfires burning uncontrollably in so many parts of Australia, we were in no mood to party. Our villa in the Northern Rivers of NSW was mercifully safe from fires but the smell of smoke lingered in the air and distant hills were cloaked in an eerie haze.
Looking back at our time at Villa Rustica, it’s been a crazy five years where we’ve set about restoring parts of the villa and built a new art studio. We’d love to say we’re nearing the finishing line but our list grows as new ideas take form. Aside from making friends with those who work tirelessly on the property, we’ve welcomed photography shoots for fashion and lifestyle brands. The most common question these visitors ask is whether we actually live here.
While everyone is fascinated with living la bella vita, our lifestyle is simple and far from glamourous. Unwanted animals are the biggest challenge! Our sleep is often interrupted by possums racing across the roof eager to sample the ripening mangoes and lychees growing in nearby trees. Python snakes have also been known to set up residence in our ceilings and we keep a careful watch on the chickens so they don’t become their prey! When guests stayed in the Jaipur Suite in summer, Greg and I would pray none of our “pets” would make an appearance!
This year we’re reducing our accommodation at Villa Rustica to focus on hosting “taster” artisan courses. Greg is a ceramic artist who conducts “Make a Plate” sessions and raku workshops. I’m teaching mosaic and candle-making classes – both of which have received a terrific response. Believing that working with craft is a calm and uplifting process, we enjoy offering these experiences in Villa Rustica’s picturesque surrounds. If these workshops appeal to you, please get in touch and we’ll add you to our mailing list.
Along with our revamped website, I’m aiming to keep our blog current with upcoming events and happenings at Villa Rustica. I’ll also be adding special recipes inspired by the produce grown on the property. We hope you can make it to one of our events or follow our adventures on Instagram. We look forward to welcoming you soon!
Jane & Greg
(and Rafa & Roger)