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Travel News Agritourism: The 10 Best Italian Farm Stays

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Agritourism: The 10 Best Italian Farm Stays

The original farm-to-table establishment, an Italian farm stay is a holiday unlike any other.

Seeking a romantic countryside getaway, a taste of regional cuisine and culture, or a gadget-free family weekend to reconnect with nature and a simpler way of life? An Italian farm stay—agriturismo—has something for every kind of traveler.

What is an Agriturismo?

An agriturismo, by definition, is a working farm. A concept that combines agriculture and tourism, it came to fruition in the mid-1980s when the Italian government—to help struggling farmers—created a network of approved farms and allowed them to use part of their properties for tourism purposes. The goal was to bring more visitors, and thus awareness, to Italian farms by offering guests inexpensive lodging and meals, first-hand experience of farm life, and the chance to meet the dedicated people preserving local farming practices, traditions, and cuisine. 

Accommodations & Amenities

Passed down from generation to generation, these farms are often family-run. Many, however, are in the hands of equally passionate newcomers.

Accommodations range from a simple, whitewashed room with a bathroom in a centuries-old farmhouse or other repurposed buildings, a converted stable perhaps, to cozy self-catering apartments and romantic cottages. It’s not all modest; however, some farms boast separate luxury villas with spa facilities, infinity pools, and even a personal chef.

You’ll likely find internet access in most places, but it might be limited — welcome news for those looking to unplug completely. Likewise, air conditioning is not guaranteed, but keep in mind that thick stone walls and ceramic floors keep the rooms cool, even under the most blazing Tuscan sun.

Activities

On-site pools, playgrounds, bike and hiking trails that take you into nearby towns, hills or woods are common on these farms. Other activities include feeding farm animals, cooking classes, picking fruit and vegetables, truffle and mushroom hunts, and wine and olive oil tasting. Your host may offer to take you behind the scenes to witness the production of local cheeses, salamis, and other products. Some farms even offer yoga and meditation classes.  

Farm Stay Meals 

While the food offerings vary, a significant percentage of the food served on the farm must be prepared using the farm’s own products. When necessary, the menu can be supplemented with typical products from the surrounding area.

Some farms only serve breakfast, while others will provide all meals. There might be an onsite restaurant or a dining room where an intimate breakfast, lunch, or dinner is shared with the family. 

Breakfast usually consists of home-baked cakes, cookies, and breads. Farm eggs, cheeses, and cured meats may also be offered.  

Some farms raise livestock, while others only cultivate vegetables, fruit, and grain. What’s presented on the table depends on the regional flavors and the farm’s specialty, for example, cheeses, cured meats, wine, flour, legumes, grains, olive oil, vinegar, honey, and jams. 

Top 10 Italian Farm Stays

1. La Polledrara (Lazio)

Nestled on top of a hill, with views of the neighboring town of Paliano, this lovely agriturismo is just 35 miles from Rome. Sleeping quarters are inside a restored stone farmhouse. Surrounded by green plains and rolling hills of the Roman countryside, you can take a dip in the pool, bring the kiddies to the playground, or pick vegetables in the garden. Take part in a pasta-making class using La Polledrara’s prized flour, or sample the local wines. Then take a stroll on the vast grounds before a delectable dinner.

2. Agriturismo Fontanaro (Umbria) 

If you think Italian farms are quaint, think again! Fontanaro is a stunning 40-acre organic farm that features cottages as well as fully-equipped villas fitted with infinity salt pools with views on the Sangiovese vineyards, fruit orchards, and olive groves. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a basket of the farm’s very own vegetables and fruit, extra virgin olive oil, and honey. 

3. Podere il Casale (Tuscany) 

Just outside of Pienza, it doesn’t get any more idyllic than this beautiful Tuscan farm. All menu offerings are from the farm or locally produced, and the dishes speak to the region’s traditions and flavors. Experience first-hand the process of cheesemaking, from milking to aging. Likewise, you can go on a truffle hunt and then savor your finds on a handmade pasta or sprinkled over the farm’s eggs. Want to spend the night counting the stars over Val d’Orcia? Make sure to bring a tent to Podere il Casale.

4. Masseria Il Frantoio (Puglia) 

Gorgeous whitewashed rooms with high-vault ceilings and wrought iron beds, an authentic, never-ending menu of Pugliese specialties, olive groves, and orchards as far as the eye can see, and with the sea just a few miles away, Masseria Il Frantoio, a 500-year-old farm just outside of Ostuni, is paradise on earth!  

5. Agriturismo Garuti (Emilia Romagna) 

Among other delicacies, Emilia Romagna is a region known for the sparkling wine Lambrusco, balsamic vinegar, both of which you can sample on the Garuti winery and the Aceto Balsamico aging cellar. The rooms are simple and sparse, but the homemade Modenese cuisine is anything but; cured meats, handmade pasta, succulent meats, and homemade desserts.

6. Tenuta La Pila (Veneto)  

Surrounded by fertile fields and orchards where, depending on the season, you will find apples, peaches, kiwis, wheat, cabbage, beans, and more, Tenuta la Pila is a 108-acre picturesque farm that whisks you away from the chaos of everyday life. Enjoy horseback excursions or a bike ride before sitting down to a hearty meal of Venetian cuisine, then retire to the tastefully restored rustic room of exposed brick, high beams, and antique furniture. 

7. Le Campestre (Campania) 

About an hour’s drive from Naples takes you to Le Campestre, a family-run farm famous for producing a rare and highly coveted ewe’s milk cheese, conciato romano, that’s aged in terracotta jugs. There are just three simple rooms. But, the real treat is outdoors and in the dining room where the fruits of the olive orchards, citrus groves, and pastures arrive on your plate, prepared using traditional methods that venerate the Campania cuisine. 

8. Duca di Castelmonte (Sicily) 

A family affair for over three centuries, the ancient barns and stables have been converted to lovely Mediterranean rooms. For those looking for something extra special, Duca di CastelMonte offers glamping stays where you can fall asleep in fully-equipped tents among fruit trees and olive groves that overlook Mount Erice. There is an onsite pool, playground, and tennis court, which you will likely share with the free-roaming farm animals. More? How about learning to prepare Sicilian recipes, including pizza, pasta, and pastries from the Trapani region using the farm’s crops.  

9. Locanda della Valle Nuova (Marche) 

The Marche region is still untouched by mass tourism, which means you’ll discover unique and authentic experiences. Environmentally conscious Locanda della Valle Nuova is all about the green with solar panels and renewable energy sources. It goes without saying, then, from cows and chickens to grapes and legumes, it’s all organic! Cooking classes are available as well as trips to local farmers and artisans. Explore the estate on horseback, bike, or on foot, in case you get tired of lounging by the pool.

 10. Agriturismo Casa Clelia (Lombardy) 

Casa Clelia was one of the first agriturismi that opened in the mid-90s and it remains the area’s best. The property dates back to the 11th century, when it was a convent, and has undergone a meticulous restoration process. The rooms are spacious. Some boast a gaping fireplace. Surrounded by woodland, gardens, and orchards, it’s an enchanting retreat made all the better by the magic that happens in the kitchen when you combine local flavors and the farm’s produce.  

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