It is a beautiful region in Umbria that is one of the most sought-after destinations in Italy. It is home to a stunning array of medieval towns and verdant hills, which they don’t call ‘The Green Heart of Italy’. The region also boasts an earthy, delicious cuisine that highlights seasonal, foraged specialties such as wild mushrooms and truffles. This rustic experience is possible by choosing an agriturismo in Umbria.
It can be difficult to choose the right one among the many Italian agriturismi scattered throughout Umbria’s countryside ( Tuscany and Le Marche). If you use these simple tips, you can find the ideal place to enjoy a memorable vacation.
What is an Agriturismo?
Agriturismo can be described as a farm that offers self-catering accommodation or bed and breakfast rooms for holiday stays. Plato’s famous proverb “Necessity, the mother of invention”, perfectly describes how Italy’s rural accommodation system was created.
In response to the financial crisis of the late 1990s, farm stays were initially created. Many small farms, rural villas, or ancient castles were left without income sources. While the Italian economy was in decline, the international tourist economy was growing. These family-run businesses saw an opportunity to tap into this by providing unique accommodation in Italy. A vast number of family farms were saved from certain death by turning themselves into agriturismi. Agriturismo allowed owners to make extra income and provided incentives for hundreds of historic buildings to be restored and preserved. Many of these buildings had been abandoned for many years. The business model for the Umbria and Umbria agriturismo has been a huge success for both owners and tourists.
Agriturismo in Italy is a type of rural lodging that meets certain criteria.
- Farmers must be the owners
- The main source of income for the property must be from agriculture
- Accommodation size can not exceed a certain percentage of total farm acreage
Is it better to stay in an agriturismo than in a hotel?
An Italian agriturismo is a better option than a hotel because you can rest assured that you’re supporting local businesses. This is a huge advantage for anyone who loves slow travel.
American Rebecca Winke, an American, has operated Brigolante guest apartments since 1997. It is a stone farmhouse located outside of Assisi. Her family is passionate about protecting Umbria’s agriturismi, as they believe they are an integral part of the country’s rich, national identity.
Winke states that the most important thing I can tell potential guests about staying on an Italian farm is that it’s a sustainable way of traveling. Agriturismo is a better choice than a hotel because you are directly supporting a family-owned business and contributing to Italy’s cultural heritage and world heritage. This heritage includes the land, its culture, and the old traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.
There is no shortage of success. Although most farmhouses are simple and rustic-chic, Italy has seen an increase in the number of luxury villas with full-service in recent years.
Before you make a decision, it is a good idea for you to think about the type of holiday that you want. Renting a car is a good idea if you intend to use Umbria’s agriturismo for day trips. The farms are often far from the nearest town and not accessible by public transport. It is possible to drive 40 minutes from the main highway along a dirt road (stradabianca) and get there in about 40 minutes.
Perhaps you enjoy spending your lazy days by the pool, reading a romance novel. A resort-style country estate may be more your style. Numerous upscale agriturismi offer concierge and other pampering amenities, such as on-site restaurants and wineries and cooking lessons.
Insider’s tip: Some farms allow guests to harvest grapes (vendemmia), and olives (raccolta) if they are there in the autumn.
Details are where the devil is
Before you make a booking for an Umbria agriturismo, we recommend that you do some research on rental options. To get a sense of the place, visit websites and view photos. Take note of the amenities and read reviews from previous guests. One bad review doesn’t make a place a favorite. Nearly every accommodation receives a negative review from time to time. What you want to see is if there are a few bad reviews that mention similar complaints. Are the positive reviews praising the same things? You can often get an idea of the type of experience an Agriturismo offers by reading at least five reviews for each accommodation.
These are the 6 fundamental questions we ask before booking an Agriturismo:
- Take a look at a map. Are you far from the nearest grocery stores, gas stations, coffee shops, and restaurants? This is particularly important if you plan to stay long-term and want to be self-sufficient.
- Is the owner able to arrange for airport or train transfers? While we usually drive to an agriturismo when we are there, it is important to know that you have options.
- Is the meal included? Or is it self-catering (with or without a kitchenette) This is a matter of self-sufficiency?
- Are you looking for something that is family-friendly?
- Is it permissible to have pets?
- Is there a minimum time limit?
You’ll be more likely to make the right choice for you and your travel companions if you have all the information you need. You’re about to embark on the most memorable holiday experience of your life, no matter which farm you choose.