Agriturismo: Farmstays in southern Italy

Olives awaiting harvest in Abruzzo

To enjoy the atmosphere of a working farm, the rural setting and fresh foods, try a farm stay. WARNING: There are many listings at www.agriturismo.net but not all are working farms. They have a wide variety of amenities, so read carefully and search for the kind of place you want to visit. Some have spa facilities, some are country bed and breakfast properties with limited agricultural production. Others offer cooking classes, boating excursions, swimming pools, or children’s programs.

As I browse the various listings, a question comes to mind: How difficult is it to find a native (or at least fluent) English speaker to review the content of a website? The market appears to be wide open for this kind of service. It’s easy to find listings like these:

(Various kinds of spas therapies) “are the ingredients of our relax.” “It is possibile to have breakfast, lunch, or supposer in the farmhouse.” “As of 1754, the owner’s family give birth to the ancient farm building where oil and wine have been produced with their own traditional tools.”

Of course, I did appreciate the full disclosure of this description: “This place is not recommended to those who want to enjoy only the ocean or only the mountain, or are unable to live without the new technolgies, or are scared of farm bugs, or are unable to handle the fireplace or the wood-burning stove.”

Here are links to a couple of olive farms that appealed to me: First, the Agriturismo Madonna Incoronata, named for a 17th century church on the property. Located on the south side of the Gargano peninsula, they offer cooking classes, boat trips to private beaches, and an ancient olive mill and museum highlighting the history of olive production–which continues on the property today.

Near Matera, L’Orto di Lucania offers a varied farm stay. They grow and process organic wheat, olives, artichokes, eggplant, and tomatoes. They also have a beautiful swimming pool, as well as cooking classes, and bicycles for rent. Guests can take part in farm activities, or simply observe. And unique historical sites like the city of Matera (an ancient cave dwelling site), Castel del Monte built by Emperor Frederick II, and the trulli houses of Alberobello, are all easy day trips from the farm.

Have you stayed on a farm in southern Italy? Share your experience in the comments!

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