Down on the farm, Italian style

Posted by on Oct 13, 2011 | 0 comments

Italy excels at agriturismi, which at their best offer travelers an opportunity to vacation on a working family farm, potentially participate in farm activities, and enjoy and sometimes help prepare traditional and wholesome farm-to-fork recipes honored by the host family for generations. Agriturismi are scattered throughout the Italian countryside and can offer travelers a wonderful break from the jam-packed chaotic urban tours of Florence, Venice, and Rome. Farm accommodations are always comfortable and sanitary, as there are strict standards for a farm to obtain permission to host visitors. They are normally quite affordable, often costing no more than 60 or 70 euros a night with breakfast included, and the all-you-can-eat farm dinners are fresh, authentic, and delicious.

It is not always easy to find a truly authentic agriturismo experience, however, so a little research is essential when planning a vacation. As their popularity grows, many wealthy entrepreneurs from urban areas with little agricultural experience have decided to jump on the bandwagon while the trend is hot. They renovate an old farmhouse, buy a couple of chickens, and pay someone to plant a couple of olive trees to give the illusion of a traditional family farm, while in reality it is just a rural hotel. Don’t get me wrong–you can still have a wonderful and experience at these places. If you are looking to gain knowledge and perspective of rural Italian family life, however, these “poser” agriturismi can’t give you that. Be sure to read up on the history of the agriturismi you are interested in before making a decision.

For more information on agriturismi, The Italian Farmer’s Table by Melissa Pellegrino and Matthew Scialabba is a fantastic reference. They describe various agriturismi they visited around northern Italy and give recipes collected from each farm. The website agriturismo.it has a great deal of more general information on farm accommodations around Italy.

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