If you are planning a trip to Italy and looking for accommodations, you will probably come across the word "agriturismo". Agriturismo joins together the Italian words for ”agriculture" and "tourism" and usually refers to a farmhouse or a villa on a farm estate. Agriturismo in Italy isn’t just a way to experience a holiday or a rural lifestyle, it’s also a one-of-a-kind experience. In Italy, agriturismi (the Italian plural for agriturismo) are the perfect accommodation for families with children as well as couples looking for a romantic trip. An agriturismo is ideal for taking a break from the city and its stressful chaos.
Despite the traditional and rural name, many of the Italian agriturismi are designed to welcome foreign tourists who like the idea of a holiday in the Italian countryside, but prefer luxury facilities.
With Florence as its regional capital, Siena, San Gimignano… Tuscany is the cradle of the Renaissance, the perfect place to visit for those who seek culture and art, a fascinating region full of museums, cathedrals, medieval cities and historic villages.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, traditional small-scale agriculture in Italy became less and less profitable and farmers left their farmhouses to search for work in the big cities. However, agricultural traditions are of great significance to the Italians, mostly appreciated for the small-scale production of food such as cheese, wine and olives.
In 1985 Italian lawmakers issued an official definition of agriturismo, which includes the renovation of many abandoned buildings and rural properties. Some of these buildings have been turned into holiday homes and some others have been converted into agriturismi offering the tourists an exclusive experience, rustic yet elegant and perfectly integrated with the surrounding environment: vineyards, olive trees, and typical or unique Italian products.
After the agricultural exodus of the '50s -‘ 70s Montalto like many other estates had few people to carry out the farming activities. So the last members of the ancient Palmieri Family, Princess Sobilia Palmieri Carafa di Roccella and her sister Countess Vittoria Palmieri Forquet, ceded the castle to their cousin Giovanni Coda Nunziante, who was a professor of agricultural economics in Naples and was able to merge the agricultural activity with the renovation of abandoned buildings as holiday homes. Today this gorgeous estate stands out for its organic farming and for the beautiful agriturismo.
The current agricultural estate is organic certified and includes an area of 270 hectares, about 650 acres: two-thirds of them are woods, the rest is cultivated. The annual crops include wheat, sunflowers, alfalfa, canola, and others, depending on the year. A part of the land is planted in olive groves. The lands of Montalto are also used for honey production by local beekeepers.
Many Italian farmhouses serve guests with food prepared with homemade products or from other local farmers, tasty menus of local delicacies made by a local cook. Some farms allow guests to spend time with the animals and participate in the activities, such as picking vegetables.
Because of the rural nature of the accommodation, one might expect a rustic bed and breakfast, however many farm-stays are high-end and offer luxury services like pools and many other comforts as 5-star hotels do. Generally, accommodations range from single rooms with rustic decor and shared bathrooms to ultra-deluxe suites or apartments with many exclusive benefits.
The agriturismo system established by the Italian government, presented a real advantage for farmers who weren’t able to rely solely on the income produced by their farms.
Although the rural population in Italy has decreased since the end of the Second World War, the agriturismo system has given new life to some areas of the country where few industrial options were available. At least one million tourists visit Italy every year to enjoy the delightful countryside in agriturismi.
Farmhouses are so popular that there are also sub-categories of accommodation. For those who are looking for a 100% green holiday, many farms offer ecotourism alternatives completely surrounded by nature. Tourists who want to relax and unwind can experience a wellness farm experience in farm stays that offer exclusive services such as spa treatments.
You might choose a holiday accommodation that includes horse riding, climbing, walking, tennis, and other sports and activities. If you are interested in food, farm stays that also offer tastings and guided tours in the surrounding areas are available.
If you are considering going on holiday in an agriturismo Tuscany, you’ll find a whole range of opportunities. But whether you are looking around Siena, Florence, San Gimignano or in the Chianti hills, always make sure of the quality of the services, checking their website or Facebook page. Whatever farmhouse you choose, consider this: you will experience a journey into Italian history and culture that you won’t find anywhere else.
Montalto Castle is a charming agriturismo, located in an ideal position to quickly reach Siena, Florence, San Gimignano. Montalto Castle offers its customers a unique atmosphere in a real Italian castle full of history. Relax and unwind enjoying the beautiful landscape and the coziness of the villas, and have a great time enjoying exciting activities such as: practical cooking classes learning to prepare a great Italian meal, walks or bike rides, horse-back riding or dressage lessons, and occasional Italian lessons, painting workshops, chamber music concerts or choral singing workshops. Visit the villages, abbeys, museums, churches, archaeological sites nearby the Castle. Or try wellness treatments in thermal pools a short distance away.
Montalto Castle can organize for you wine and cheese tasting in local cellars, restaurants and trattorias for all tastes, or nearby village festivals. The local wines available are internationally known as there are some of the world's most famous wine producers there.