What about becoming inseparable friends of a robin, what about coming back home tired after spending a day picking olives and enjoying a bean soup, with the deep satisfaction of a day spent entirely in green nature? Find out that your life could be really like this!

The benefits of living in urban green

Green spaces that surround us in the city or in the countryside grant us physical and mental health.

A recent study, which was attended by more than 10,000 adults living in the UK, has shown that living near parks and forests reduces cardiovascular risks, depression, and weakness of spirit as well as it destroys the disparities in health status between different social classes.

Between 1991 and 2008, participants answered questionnaires on their psychological well-being. British researchers have for the first time-correlated these data with the movements of the participants towards the greenest areas.
The author of the research is Mathew White and it seems that the benefit that you get from living in contact with nature is remarkable, it even may be compared to that obtained from situations of life as important as, for example, having a satisfying job or a happy marriage.

“We have noticed that living in an urban area with relatively high levels of green has a significant beneficial impact on well-being, approximately equal to a third of that given by married life – White says – Such data must be taken into account by politicians when they decide how to invest public resources”

The most curious thing is the demonstration that the inequalities in health status between subjects with different incomes can be overcome thanks to more green.

Usually, people who live in poor areas get sick more easily, have worse health conditions, and have a lower life expectancy.
This British research overturns the syllogism: even residents in poor areas, in a state with very low income, can enjoy better health. The difference is made gardens and parks.
A small park in the heart of the city, says the research, even if stuck between asphalt and smog is a powerful social leveler, able to reduce disparities.

The positive impact of contact with nature

What about those who decide to live in a small corner of the country? Well, the benefits would be even more obvious. The contact with nature brings man to a state of relaxation and harmony, in order to help many people anxious and depressed; gentle therapies such as horticultural therapy are extremely effective.

Even the physical appearance benefits from living in the countryside: skin and hair look brighter and the direct cultivation of vegetables and fruit leads the person to eat in a genuine and controlled way.

The internal distension procured by nature also helps the social relations and the desire to be with others, this is the reason why many people transform their country activities into a ‘ B & B ‘ or a farm.

San Severino Countryside, Italy, ph. by gigi 62, via flickr
San Severino Countryside, Italy, ph. by gigi 62, via flickr

The voice of two real country inhabitants: Bruno and Marilena

Bruno and Marilena, two common, but very special people; they manage the organic B&B La Fanciullaccia, in the countryside that leads from Pisa to Volterra, where they live in a rural fairy tale: they started trying to make possible an eco-friendly home and lifestyle.

The idea of a B & B started some years ago, thanks to the economic crisis which has also affected their family, they decided to best use the “heritage” at their disposal, creating this little bucolic corner, completely organic. ” Bio” is their photo on the ID card, their sign of recognition.

” We have been living here for 14 years, and from the beginning, we tried to produce our food, then we had to change the boiler for heating and we have put a fired condensing LPG, then there has been the installation of photovoltaic system and the system for collecting rainwater, and now we are back in “transition” with the heating because by the end of the month we will install a thermo wood stove (wood burning, for now, is collected for free, by the pruning of a gardener); in the meantime we changed the outdoor,  planting various fruit trees, making the synergistic garden, trying other types of natural farming, learning to use a lot of wild plants for food. ”
Yes, Bruno and Marilena have made their accommodation their home (or vice versa) …

Bruno e Marilena
Bruno and Marilena

The room they have made available (which, from next season, will be joined by the second and last one) is a room in the house, not something detached from the rest of the farm.
In addition to eco-sustainability, the hosts are particularly attentive to the concept of “hospitality”.

This is, once more, one of the greatest gifts that country life can offer to man: the exacerbation of social interactions, the strong desire to share the fire, heat, even human ones.

“Tourism – explains – Marilena should contain all the main aspects of the” journey “, not only through a camera lens, but maybe just through a cooked breakfast together, or sharing a glass of Vin Santo coming back home from a visit to Volterra. ”

But the comfort? The lure of progress? Well for Bruno and Mrilena fatigue is not a problem at all. They do not feel the effort to cultivate a vegetable garden if comfort is going to buy vegetables; After that they are able to develop skills that are extremely rare in the city: being able to ” take” from what surrounds us only what we need, moving through the ground with the idea of being custodians rather than owners.

The main ability of these gladiators of green are simply respect and observation and the use of senses, touch that is buffeted by the north wind, the view is lost behind the stunts of a snail, smell that makes the turn into the valley, where are flowering acacias who carry the spring…

What we can really see in these people who have chosen such a life is their immense tranquility, a sense of confidence and wellness: they move people to know their point of view … they talk about sustainability, rural, choices, they guide you in a walk among the aromatic plants, followed by cats … the hospitality becomes a relationship, they keep in touch with those who return home, we will exchange photos and emails …

” Even though we have lived in the country for many years (Bruno has always lived in this area, Marilena lived here for more than 40 years ), we are aware of the positive aspects of living in this way. Usually (and it is a question we are often asked by our guests) we think that living in the country means difficulties, isolation, lack of opportunities. Despite of that, we do have a good circle of friends and a network of direct relationships; every week we have dinner with friends, the tv is non-existent but we know how things are going, we do not need to go running in the park to have a little contact with the life of plants and other animals… We seem to have greater contact with LIFE, in a broad sense, to appreciate both our own one and the one we are immersed in.”
” We changed our lives by choice: we would like to live in a place surrounded by green where we can relax. We have made this choice, as others choose other things, according to those that were (and remain) our priorities, and on these priorities, we have invested our time and our resources, because once you enter between those cypresses on the road, you could really feel at home “.

More convincing than any survey or research, chatting with Bruno and Marilena has convinced us of how green is therapeutic for the mind and body.  Why don’t we really change our lives, turning our city style into a farm, eco-friendly mood?

la fanciullaccia Pisa
Bruno & Marilena’s House, B&B La Fanciullaccia, Pisa, Italy

Author: Angela Sebastianelli

Angela was born in Parma, she has a Law degree, a job as chief editor and an MBA running out. Then, three compulsive passions: writing , painting and enjoying her life with animals. In 2004 she started the very first collaboration with a blog, after that a cascade of collaborations with several sites and publications (PAIS, Total Free Magazine etc.). Every day she tries to make up new stories: this is her calling that she keeps on chasing on http://mystreamoffecklessness.wordpress.com/ Nature is her compass, green, sunsets that ignite the horizon, all filtered by the attentive ears of a horse, his tireless companion. Green Travel Blog is now a window on a world of beauty and silence, to think, write and talk about ecology, sustainability and animal rights. A convinced animal rights activist, frank and sincere. Just like people who really live with animals.
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