A Volcanic Miracle in Bolsena: The Italian Version of “PERMACULTURE, A DESIGNERS’ MANUAL” by Bill Mollison (1988)

Next September 11th the EUPC (European Permaculture Convergence) will take place in Bolsena, Italy.

Touristic info about this city are given at the end of the article, however Bolsena is not too far from Rome, so you can really get there from anywhere around Europe – since Rome is connected pretty well – but not so easy to reach when you are in ROME because if you do not have a car, you need to change a few means of transport in order to get there. It’s not a big deal for tough people like us.

More information on how to get there can be found on the website of the EUPC ( or just drop me a message and I will give you a short cut ;)

Back to the EUPC – this acronym stands for European Permaculture Convergence, which is a series of conferences taking place any other year where Permaculture experts coming from all over Europe share their knowledge, experiences, methodologies and projects concerning Permaculture and its related fields.

The EUPC recurs every two years and lasts 5-6 days: the first 3/4 days are usually focussed on the Convergence, whereas the last day is dedicated to the Festival.

During the Convergence Permaculture experts are coming from the host country, organize other events, such as conferences, workshops, briefings, storytelling, lab sessions, shows with music and dance. All of these are in compliance with the ethics and principles of Permaculture.

Any European country can host EUPC through its associations of Permaculture experts by submitting a request to the Council of Permaculture (, an umbrella organization which has organized 12 EUPC conferences since 1992.

1992 Germany EUPC 1
1994 United Kingdom EUPC 2
1996 Prinzhofte, Germany EUPC 3
1998 Slovenia EUPC 4
2000 Czech Republic EUPC 5
2002 Slovakia EUPC 6
2004 Czech Republic EUPC 7
2006 Brno, Czech Republic EUPC 8
2008 Hostetin, Czech Republic EUPC 9
2010 Nethen, Belgium EUPC 10 report
2012 Eschenrode, Germany EUPC 11
2014 Batak Lake, Bulgaria EUPC 12

Now that I´ve told you what an EUPC is and how it works, I can explain why it is going to be so special for Italy this year.

As a matter of fact Italy has the honour to host this EUPC for the first time in history and its organisation is all in the hands of the Permaculture Italian Academy, a non-profit organisation officially founded in 2006, with its main purpose being the promotion and dissemination of Permaculture principles and spirit as well as supporting the educational path of students that wish to obtain the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design.

Please check their website for more information:

Anyway there is also something special coming along with the organization of the EUPC and I have the honour to introduce it to you and to all the Italians who already are or wish to become part of a movement which is getting viral around the world.

Indeed the first Italian EUPC will be remembered for ever – and for sure I will never forget it! – because of the launch of the upcoming publication and relevant crowd-funding campaign of the Italian translation of “PERMACULTURE A DESIGNERS’ MANUAL” written by Bill Mollison.

Yes, you´ve got it right!

Italy is about to be the third country in the world (after Russia and Germany) to have challenged the translation of a textbook which is made of 14 chapters comprising 576 pages, 333,325 words and 2,021,911 characters. According to the contract signed with Tagari Publication the Manual will be translated for the first time into a Romanic language, i.e. Italian, within a time frame of 12 months.

I have used the word “challenged” because I can assure you it is not an easy task, which is proved by the fact that over the last 30 years this volume has been translated into 2 languages only.

The book we are talking about is the definitive Permaculture design manual in print since 1988.

A Volcanic Miracle in Bolsena Manual

It is the textbook and curriculum for the 72-hour Certificate course in Permaculture Design.

Some of you may have read it, some of you maybe haven’t yet.

Written for teachers, students and designers, it follows on and greatly broadens the initial introductory texts, Permaculture One (1978) and Permaculture Two (1979) both of which are still in demand.

Very little of the material found in this book is reproduced from the former texts. It covers design methodologies and strategies for both urban and rural applications, describing property design and natural farming techniques.

This book is about designing sustainable human settlements as well as preserving and extending natural systems.

It covers aspects of designing and maintaining a cultivated ecology in any climate: the principles of design; design methods; understanding patterns in nature; climatic factors; water; soils; earthworks; techniques and strategies in the different climatic types; aquaculture; and the social, legal, and economic design of human settlement.

It calls into question not only the current agriculture methods, but also the very need for formal food agriculture if wastelands and the excessive lawn culture within towns and cities are devoted to food production and small livestock suited to local needs.

The world can no longer sustain the damage caused by modern agriculture, monocultural forestry, and thoughtless settlement design, and in the near future we will see the end of wasted energy, or the end of civilization as we know it, due to human-caused pollution and climate changes.

Strategies for the necessary changes in social investment policy, politics itself, and towards regional or village self-reliance are now desperately needed, and examples of these strategies are given in this book.

It is hoped that this manual will open the global debate that must never end, and so give a guide to the form of a future in which our children have at least a chance of reasonable existence.

So this is indeed the foundation of Permaculture and I believe that – ideally – each single country should have a version in its native language.

After reading the whole book and a full understanding of the permaculture movement all over the world I have realised how important it is to get others to read it. I am not talking about random people whom to suggest a book to read at night before going to bed, but I am talking about people who are willing to design their life into this movement, a movement which pursues an organised and wise way of living on Earth, respectful of any living thing.

It is crucial and basic for the movement to have understood that knowledge.

Myself, after having lived for 9 years between London and Australia, I have found that reading quite difficult and on my side I have also my university studies into agriculture, so basically I have already studied most of the scientific things the book is talking about.

Imagine someone who does not have that background and does not even speak English.

I believe that this book, translated into as many languages as possible, could speed the process up and take all of us to a common understanding of permaculture which is still, in some cases, misunderstood or even not known yet.

Thanks to Geoff Lawton I met Bill Mollison in Tasmania (Selfie with Bill Attached) and when I worked close to him and his wife Lisa, I realised how important it would be for the benefit of the next generation having this book translated into a language that could be easily understood from anyone.

When I asked Bill to sign a copy of the book, I told him to write there anything he liked. He took his pen and wrote: “Anything I like”. Then while he was still smiling with the pen in his shaking hand he said – and you can easily understand that he was no longer joking then – that he would have loved to read that book during his younger years.

A Volcanic Miracle in Bolsena Bill&Iggy no spot

I can’t forget that day. I can’t forget his face. I can’t ignore the words of the Master.

I should just do whatever I can to make this book possible for young people, for the next generation. Because after all, another way in order to speed up this transition process would be simply to educate young people and so making this reading possible for them.

Australia has been a very good place to me. Staying with Bill and Lisa Mollison, Geoff and Nadia Lawton, Michelle and Jude Fanton plus all the other folks I met along the way has been great. I also had the chance to stay there for longer, but I felt on a mission since that chat with Bill, so I went back to Italy and started to build a team in order to translate the Manual.

What a big project! A real endeavour! At the end of my first PDC in October 2013 I was already talking about it with Rhamis Kent and I have always thought that I could have the chance to make it, but I knew I could not go anywhere by myself. A challenge too big for one person alone, too complex for a single permaculture spirit. A team was needed, so I started talent scouting people during the PDC’s organised by the permaculture association called Mediperlab that I personally run.

Please visit the following link for more information (hoping it is going to be ready by the time you read this):

However in my next article, after the EUPC, I shall tell you how I have managed to get to this stage and the story of a beautiful group of people who put their energy together to contribute serving and preserving this planet.

Stay tuned and I will keep you updated on our work.

It would be awesome if you´d decide to meet us at the EUPC in Bolsena. You would be more then welcome!


PS: Below here some info about Bolsena worth reading and some photos.

PPS: When in Bolsena, if you want to grab a bottle of wine and some snacks to bring with you and sit romantically by the lake then you should visit Roberta (photo) at the grocery IL CASTELLO, she prepares wonderful panini!!! You can’t go wrong with this wonderful lady!

Lake Bolsena: A Volcanic Miracle (see pictures attached)

Bolsena is a ‘miraculous’ lake in the Tuscia area, between Rome and Tuscany, which is dotted with enchanting towns that dominate the ‘path of the Etruscans’. Rarely overcrowded, and abundant with beautiful black volcanic sands, it is the largest volcanic lake in Europe, with a circumference of 43km, and an incredible history. 370,000 years ago the collapse of land following the eruption of the Vulsini volcano (active until 104 BC) formed a caldera which then became the bed of Bolsena’s lake. There are two islands, Bisentina and Martana, in the southern part of the lake which were formed by underwater eruptions following the collapse that created the caldera.

A Volcanic Miracle in Bolsena Bolsena 1

The area was part of the Etruscans territories in central Italy, a dominant culture in Italy by 650 BC. Needless to say, it’s dowsed with tribe upon tribe which left their mark on this mysterious area.

Today the lake and the medieval town with the same name on its shores are best known for a miracle that occurred in medieval times in 1263.

The Miracle of Bolsena

In 1263, a Bohemian priest, Peter of Prague, was tormented by the doubt as to whether Christ was actually present in the consecrated Host and went on a pilgrimage to Rome to strengthen his faith. On his way back, he stopped in the church of Saint Christina in Bolsena, and while celebrating Holy Mass above the tomb of St. Christina, he had barely spoken the words of Consecration when blood started to seep from the consecrated Host and trickle over his hands onto the marble altar and the corporal. The priest interrupted the Mass and asked to be taken to Orvieto, the city where Pope Urban IV was then residing. The Pope listened to the priest’s account and absolved him. When, after an investigation, all the facts were ascertained, he ordered the Bishop of the diocese to bring the Host and the linen cloth bearing the stains of blood to Orvieto.

A Volcanic Miracle in Bolsena Bolsena 2

The day archbishops, cardinals and other Church dignitaries brought them to Orvieto, the Pope met the procession and had the relics placed in the cathedral. Apparently, Pope Urban IV was prompted by this miracle to commission St. Thomas Aquinas to compose the Proper for a Mass and an Office honouring the Holy Eucharist as the Body of Christ. One year after the miracle, in August of 1264, Pope Urban IV introduced the saint’s composition, and by means of a papal bull instituted the feast of Corpus Christi.

In Bolsena, in the beautiful Church of Santa Cristina, there is a reliquary containing the marble, stained with blood, while the blood stained linen (exposed during the annual procession for the Feast of Corpus Domini) and the holy corporal are kept in a golden shrine in the Cathedral of Orvieto. After visiting the Cathedral of Orvieto, many pilgrims and tourists go to visit St. Christina’s Church in Bolsena to see the place where the miracle occurred. However, Bolsena is rarely overcrowded and an absolute pleasure to visit.

A Miracle of Nature

Covering an area of 113.5 km2, it is considered Europe’s largest volcanic basin. It is Italy’s fifth largest lake and the biggest in the Lazio region. The lake is simply unique, with its black volcanic sands and beaches stretching for several miles, and it is an ideal destination for swimming, picnicking, water sports and fishing. It is also a bird watchers’ paradise: black redstarts, pochards, red crested pochards, coots, great crested grebes, little grebes, egrets, and grey herons have all been spotted in the area. Sedentary birds include doves, seagulls, and swans. Then there are herons, reed warblers and great reed warblers.

A perfect off-the-beaten track location

In between Rome and Tuscany, it’s a gastronomical treat for the taste buds, without blowing the budget, with the bonus of being off the beaten ‘Tuscany’ tourist track. Boasting a multitude of day trips to blow your mind, you would want a weekend and a car to make the most out of this discrete destination. Bolsena Town, Montefiascone, the Monaldeschi Fortress, Capodimonte are all interesting places to visit around Bolsena Lake for their history and their local traditions. The lake is also a stop on two major itineraries: Via Francigena (Bolsena was an important post/stop) and Sentiero dei Briganti – the “path of brigands” – that visits places of outlawry from Vulci to Acquapendente.

A Volcanic Miracle in Bolsena Bolsena 3


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