Agritourisms in Italy, sustainable and unique

Lizet Wesselman - 01/03/2024

Agritourisms in Italy, sustainable and unique

Lizet Wesselman - 01/03/2024

You may have heard of them or even come across some on a tour of Italy: agritourisms. They are everywhere and a popular aspect of the Italian tourism sector. Nowadays, you can find them in several countries, but this form of accommodation originated in Italy and is an authentic way to make your trip to Italy more sustainable. But what exactly is it and why are agritourisms sustainable?

The origins of agritourisms

Agritourisms emerged after World War II as a means of extra income. Thanks to the war, many farmers suffered from scarcity and had to find other ways to generate income. One solution to this was to open their doors to tourists, who wanted to experience what it is like to live in the countryside and always have access to fresh, local produce.

So despite the beginnings of agritourisms dating back to the 1940s, the concept only gained recognition in the 1980s through regulations that officially allowed farmers to generate extra income by hosting tourists. Since then, agritourisms have grown into a thriving industry and a well-known piece of Italian culture. Tourists from all over the world flock to these agritourisms for an authentic Italian experience. They are so popular that they are now increasingly found in other countries as well.

What are agritourisms exactly?

Traditionally, agritourisms are farm accommodations where you stay with the people themselves and help out on the farm. For example, collecting eggs for breakfast or harvesting vegetables for dinner. Then there is often cooking together. These days, of course, this has been adapted a bit to suit all the different travellers. Many are still B&Bs, though, where you can eat with the family.

In some you stay in the same building, but some have now transformed their farmhouse into a villa with swimming pool and all the trimmings. So if you really want an authentic experience, choose the agritourism that really belongs to a farm or vineyard. If you mainly want to be in the great outdoors, you can go for a luxury version. Converted or not, most of them are still family-run businesses, so you still stay with locals.

Since you are staying on a farm or vineyard, you usually have several opportunities to learn about local farm life. Think about a look in the kitchen of winemaking, a wine tasting, a cooking class or a lesson in cheese making. At some agritourisms, these are extra activities for which you pay extra. At others, you are expected to cook along, as was the intention in the origins of agritourisms.

Why are argitourisms popular?

Authentic experience: For travellers looking for an authentic experience, agritourisms offer a glimpse of real life in the Italian countryside. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind for family accommodation with communal meals surrounded by nature.

Local culture and traditions: Staying at an agritourism is often so much more than just a bed to sleep in. You often help cook authentic dishes, learning how pasta is made, for example. But besides this, the owners are only too happy to show you their beloved surroundings. They will tell you all about the village and if there are local events, these are the people to tell you about them.

Culinary experience: There is simply no better way to get acquainted with the local cuisine than to eat a home-cooked meal in people’s homes. You certainly have that chance at agritourisms, and then also with local ingredients. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What makes agritourisms sustainable?

– That authentic experience can only be maintained if there is enough money to keep a farm running. Agritourism is a form of extra income, for those who can no longer live off their farm alone. Without the option of renting out part of their home to tourists, many of these farms might no longer exist. So by booking a stay at an agriturismo, you contribute to the preservation of farms and the piece of culture attached to them.

– Moreover, Italy is working hard on new, sustainable machinery and ecological farming. Most agritourisms are therefore particularly sustainable. Add to this the fact that all meals are prepared (mostly) from their own produce or else from farms in the area, which also means that meals are sustainable and without processed or imported ingredients. And, of course, your stay also ensures that there is more money to keep the farm running, allowing other people in Italy to enjoy this delicious fresh food as well.

– And ultimately, staying at an agriturismo is a learning experience, bringing you a little closer to nature again. Especially if you come from a big city yourself, you may have lost the connection with nature a bit. Not in the sense of “we should go barefoot through the forest and hug trees”. But a farm, where you grow your own food and live with animals that provide you with food, gives a whole new insight into where our food comes from and what nature can do for us if we treat it correctly.

Perhaps you will learn how to keep your herb plants alive from now on, or learn to appreciate nature around you more. Appreciating nature more, automatically means we make more effort to protect it. In any sense. Whether you decide to take part in tree-planting projects or you just pay more attention to what you leave behind after a picnic, it creates an awareness we can all use from time to time.

How to book agriturisms?

You can book agriturisms in different ways. Many have their own websites, so a little googling or searching google maps and you will come across quite a few. Direct booking obviously makes the most impact for these companies, because then they don’t have to cede commission to other platforms.

Do you find that a risk or can’t find anything? Then you can also book agriturismos through the well-known platforms. For example through booking, Belvilla or Eliza was here. But also on platforms that focus more on sustainable accommodations, such as Nature House, or of course simply the Italian website