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An Agriturismo in Italy

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There are hundreds of farms and rural homes in all parts of Italy that welcome travelers. Agriturismos offer guests a first-hand opportunity to experience local culture as well as a chance to sample home-cooked regional foods and to sleep in authentic country homes, many furnished with local antiques. They are an inexpensive yet culturally rich alternative to hotels.

Some of our more interesting stays were at agriturismos with English speaking hosts, with whom we had many enjoyable conversations. At the agriturismo Trinita, the owner showed us his exotic garden on the slopes of Mt. Etna. He produced grapes, citrus fruits, and wonderful preserves and jellies in the shadow of Europe’s most active volcano.

Another memorable stay was at an agriturismo in Italy’s province of Marche. The owners of Azienda Caravanserraglio were a Renaissance couple in a province rich with Renaissance history. She was a Dutch art curator who had designed the web site, took care of bookings and guest relations, and decorated the beautiful rooms. He was a jack-of-all-trades who planted the gardens, cooked gourmet meals for guests, and designed and built the impressive accomodations.

Agriturismo association web sites give the traveler a chance to see a picture of the property, find out a little about the accomodations area, and get a price quote. Actual bookings usually must be made by phone, but agriturismos in more popular parts of Italy often have their own web sites or email addresses for bookings.

Most agriturismos charge between $20-$40 per person for one night, including breakfast. Half board can run another $15, and often includes fresh country wine. What one gets at particular agriturismos varies considerably, although the best values are usually in rural areas.

For more information, visit the following web sites: www.agriturismo.com, www.sardinia.net, www.agriturist.it, www.terranostra.it.

JOHN TENNANT lives in Elkridge, MD.