Agriturismos in Italy: 2008
The Italian sun is particularly easy to enjoy when bathing in the hospitality of a rural farmhouse. What is your experience staying at Agriturismos in rural Italy? What is your favorite and why? Please include the REGION in the subject line.
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I wanted to tell folks about Cretaiole in the Val d'Orcia region of Tuscany. We spent a week here in July of 2008. I have visited Italy many times but our stay at Cretaiole was one of our favorite times! Isabella, your very gracious host, makes sure that you experience this beautiful Val d'Orcia. We dined at an ancient monastery with all our new friends that stayed at Creatiole the same week we did. We experienced life at a working organic farm. We did lunch right in the wine cellar(literally between huge wooden barrels) at a vineyard near Montalcino that makes Brunello wine.
At Cretaiole, Isabella and her huband, Carlos spent time teaching us about the region's olive oil. We had lots of fun tasting different olive oil and trying to classify it. You will never look at olive oil the same again after this informative session! We also learned how to make the area's traditional pici, homemade pasta. What a blast this experience was, with our new friends! Carlos grilled delicous homemeade sausage on the grill, while we sipped Luciano(Carlo's father) wine. Always wine flowed abundantly when Luciano was around, and he comes by a lot, after long hours of hard work in the fields of their farm.
I would not hesitate to visit again. I hope my family can soon, along with some friends. What a place to visit with friends, all the work is done for you, which allows you to experience the best of this magnificent region of Italy!!!
Underhill, VT USA Fri 12/26/2008
Poggiacolle In San Gimignano
When we went to San Gimignano, we stayed at a lovely Agriturismo called Poggiacolle, a working wine vineyard that also makes their own olive oil.
This Agriturismo is lovingly cared for & just magical. The views of town took my breath away, and you just never wanted the sunsets here to end. Stefano, who runs the place, was so gracious & truly went out of his way to accommodate all our special requests.
We were looking for authentic local experiences. Stefano, his family, & Poggiacolle did not disappoint.
Stefano was able to have his parents give me & my boyfriend a cooking class in town. Their place was off one of the main courtyards in San Gimignano, a place that's been in their family for many generations. In fact, one of the towers still standing belonged to their family, but alas, they traded it for the first car ever in town.
Stefano also arranged for a truffle hunt on the property of Poggiacolle. Our truffle-hunting dog was in training & ended up quickly eating the only truffle we found! Regardless, the experience here at Poggiacolle is one I'll never forget.
I know Rick Steves is not the biggest fan of San Gimignano, but if you stay at Poggiacolle, I am positive that you will have an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget that you'll want to relive over & over.
For a peek into our stay here, you can view the slideshow I put together for my friends & family. It's of our entire 2-week trip following Rick Steves' advice all the way. Our stay at Poggiacolle & San Gimignano was in the middle of our trip, and proved to be the perfect wind-down time after Florence & before Rome. I suggest that you watch it in "high quality" mode & then change the view to "full screen" mode to get the best resolution:
Here is Poggiacolle's website. Stefano is pretty fluent in English & was so sweet to help me with my novice Italian speaking. He is easily accessible via email to get your accomodations & requests set up: http://www.poggiacolle.com/
Seattle, WA USA Sat 12/20/2008
Ca' Monti, Emiglia Romagna
Family estate, owned and run by the same family since at least 1713. A very welcoming family-run farm and restaurant. Try their award-wining nocino (walnut liquor).
New York, NY USA Tue 12/16/2008
Masseria Il Frantoio, Ostuni, Puglia
Absolutely gorgeous and historically fascinating, with food to please discriminating connoiseurs. A sprawling farm that had been owned by a local family for about 500 years was bought and refurbished by a retired couple from nearby. Lots of agricultural products and produce for sale. Front desk is very helpful and guests are given welcome packets with itineraries and maps for wonderful places to visit and eat at. Horseback-riding nearby. We could easily have stayed here for a week-and-a-half!
New York, NY USA Tue 12/16/2008
Cretaiole was the perfect place to experience the food, people and beauty of Tuscany. We've been to Italy several times but this was a totally different experience, one I would recommend without hesitation. The Romitorio tour, the olive oil tasting, the Pici dinner were very special, and Isabella made us feel as if we were her very first customers. Luciano's sheep cheese and wine are to die for (we're still craving more)! He is extremely proud of his farm and its products; we very much enjoyed his company. We particularly liked the private dinner at the abbey and the private tour and lunch at the brunello winery, which would not have been possible without Isabella's assistance. We hope to return in the future, but for now we have wonderful memories and photos of Cretaiole and the surrounding area.
Batavia, NY USA Thu 12/11/2008
Agriturismo Casa Rondini, Umbria
We spent a wonderful week at Franco and Bozena's Casa Rondini. They were wonderful hosts, the 4 apartments (two of which we stayed in) were clean and spacious, and the farm was near a ridgetop so we had views of two small hilltowns right from our room/veranda.
The farm just felt "good" as soon as we arrived, but I attributed it to having been out of Rome only a few hours, with all its hustle and bustle.
But the longer we stayed, the more I liked the place. Very peaceful. Being high, the farm provided wondrous views of the Milky Way, and sunsets were spectacular from Montegabbione, a tiny hilltown just a few minutes up the road.
It's roughly 10-15 minutes off of the A-1 Autostrada, but in a world of its own. It's on the western edge of Umbria, so Tuscany is easily reached. Casa Rondini is near Fabro Scala.
A lovely place in a lovely setting. But the real reason to stay here is for Franco's cooking.
If you stay at Casa Rondini and Franco is cooking, come back from your adventures in time for dinner. Thou shalt not regretteth it!!!!!!!!!!
There's a modest fee for the dinners, which last a couple to several hours, and there's a different menu for each, changing according to season.
In our week's stay we ate at all 3 dinners Franco prepared: pasta night, meat night, and seafood night. During warmer weather there's also pizza night, done at a covered kitchen outside. All meals were delicious, and I don't even like fish, so they were that good!
Bozena graciously came to our aid in phoning ahead to our pensione at Vernazza, letting them know our approximate arrival time so they'd hold the room.
Both Franco and Bozena speak English well, which was a big help as my work schedule shortened my Italian lessons.
You also can take fresh veggies (free) in season to use in the kitchen of your apartment, and you can buy farm-fresh eggs, wine, pesto, saffron, and olive oil, all produced by the agriturismo.
In Fabro Scale, there's a Coop foodstore, ATM's, and gas stations.
Great accomodations, great food, great setting, great location, but most importantly, great hosts.
We'd go back in a heartbeat if we could.
Renton, WA USA Sun 11/30/2008
Agriturismo Cretaiole Tuscany
4 couples went to Italy in September and stayed at Cretaiole. We had a fabulous time. Our hosts were unbelievable. They planned or provided several excursions for us.The accommodations were wonderful. If you want to really experience Italy, not just be a tourist, this is the place for you. You will find an authentic lifestyle which will make you want to return again and again. Please feel free to email us with questions about our stay. We would highly recommend Cretaoile
Batavia, New Yo USA Tue 11/25/2008
Agriturismo Cretaiole - Bellisimo
Having loved Italy since our first trip in 2000, we have stayed in several areas and been delighted with them all. It will be hard to top our stay at Agriturismo Cretaiole on the next trip, though!
The previous reviews have sung the praises eloquently, and there is probably not a lot I can add, except to say the reviewers are not exaggerating the charms of Agriturismo Cretaiole and the Famiglia Moricciani.
The drive the short distance from Pienza afforded magnificent views of the Val d'Orcia, and the entrance flanked by cypress trees couldn't have been lovelier. Then, seeing the 14th Century farmhouse high on the hill overlooking the sweeping vistas was all that we had anticipated.
Our apartment, Il Granaio, was spacious, beautifully rustic with modern conveniences. We enjoyed preparing light meals there on the evenings when we wanted to stay in--sometimes by the fire. Since we were there in November, we did not miss air-conditioning at all.
The warmth of Isabella, Carlo and Luciano added to the experience of a lifetime. Their enthusiasm for this beautiful area and for their home and their farm brought everything to life.
My husband and I have learned that you don't fill every waking moment on a trip with things to do--that you need to spend some time just "being" instead of "doing", or as the Italians say, "Il dolce far niente" (the sweetness of doing nothing). We were able to do that at Cretaiole and enjoy every minute. On the other hand, when we did want something to do, Isabella had prepared a lovely agenda filled with experiences typical to the area instead of just more touristy things to do. The beauty is that you can pick and choose which suits your wishes, and know that if you decide to take part in one of the recommended activities, it will be something that will help you understand the character of the region and the culture of the wonderful people of Val d'Orcia. To me, that is what makes an unforgettable trip.
I am a painter, and I can't wait to get out my paints to try to capture this incredible landscape on canvas, and the people who live there.
Austin, TX USA Sat 11/22/2008
Can't say enough about our wonderful stay at the Monticino Agriturismo, La Crociona. We had 8 fantastico nites, Lots of walking trails in the area, we even followed a sheepherder for awhile. There is free parking below the town and a handy co-op for all your needs. Fabulous dining in walking of the agriturismo, and paople to help you at every turn. And the price is right to boot!
Bainbridge island, Wa USA Wed 11/19/2008
Agriturismo Le Manzinaie - Montepulciano Stazione
We just returned from a wonderful vacation in Italy. The beginning of our visit was a week's stay at an agristurismo in Montepulciano Stazion called LE MANZINAIE.
I can't recommend this place enough! The Grassi family (Marzia, Alice and Fiore) who own the farmhouse, live upstairs and have 4 independent apartments on the ground floor. There are also 2 separate villas that can accomodate 4-6 people each.
Each apartment has a fully stocked kitchen/living room and separate bedroom with a hugh bathroom. Each bathroom has a jacuzzi bathtub, shower, toilet and nice sink area. We stayed in the apartment "Rose" which Marzia hand painted with great detail. The apartment was very clean. The family supplies you with a welcome basket and refrigerator stocked with breakfast foods.
Marzia is an excellent cook and you have an opportunity to attend a cooking lesson. She teaches how to make homemade pasta and we made a fabulous dessert.
One night during your stay, you are invited to have a family dinner with all of the guests. Since we went off season, we had the place to ourselves! We had dinner with the Grassi family in their apartment upstairs, instead of the main dining hall since it was just the two of us. Marzia's meal was absolutely the best meal of our trip! Delicious! We had great food and a great time with Marzia, her husband Fiore, and their daughter Alice.
Alice handles most of the communication before arriving: emails, reservations, deposit, any questions, etc. She is excellent at her job. I usually had a reply the following day after I would send an email.
The location is excellent! We were 1.5 km from a grocery store, bank, etc. yet felt secluded when we were at "home".
Alice gave very helpful suggestions for places to visit, maps, restaurant recommendations, driving directions, cell phone help, or anything else we needed!
If we ever return to Tuscany, Le Manzinaie will definitely be where we would stay again!
Regina and Greg McCaffrey
Brookhaven, MS USA Sun 11/16/2008
Our stay at Agriturismo Frallarenza near Orvieto, Italy was wonderful. Serena, Francesco and their son, Giorgio made us feel very welcome. The apartment was spotless, quiet, and very comfortable. Their special treats in the refrigerator when we arrived were delicious and perfect for a relaxing eveining after driving all day. Francesco's advise on places to visit was also very helpful and their crafts are beautiful. I recommend Agriturismo Frallarenza to everyone.
Seattle, WA. USA Sat 11/15/2008
Agriturismo Tenuta San Carlo, Tuscany
Our stay at Tenuta San Carlo was nothing less than magical. The sweeping beauty of the pine forests, marshlands and Mediterranean Sea held us in a kind of a womb in which we could let go of all of our worldly concerns.
Michael and Cathy Shea
Juno Beach, FL USA Fri 11/14/2008
Le Casine di Castello near Pienza, Tuscany
We have recently returned from a four week vacation in Tuscany and we could not be more thrilled with our experience or with our choice of accommodations. We stayed in the small hill town of Castelmuzio (Castello to the locals) at Le Casine which we had arranged through Isabella Moricciani. Le Casine is composed of two apartments, Il Cielo and Il Nido and we had the opportunity to stay in both during our vacation. It would be difficult to say which we preferred; Il Cielo was larger and had a beautiful sun deck while Il Nido was more intimate with a great bath, shower and private shaded patio. There is a very informative website (www.lecasinedicastello.com) which gives a complete picture of the town, the surrouding country side and the accommodations. However, these aspects alone did not make our visit the outstanding success that it was.
The majority of the credit for that must go to Isabella, her husband Carlo and father-in-law, Luciano, all of whom made our visit to a European country seem like a trip to another state in the US. The Tuscan region is magnificent and beautiful with so much to see, to taste and to do. Trying to manage this on our own would have been an exercise in futility. Isabella guided, arranged and counseled us on what to see, where to go, where to eat, where to shop, etc. and, just as importantly, what to avoid and why. We invariably found her guidance objective, accurate and economical. She also arranged group visits to wineries, farms, cities, places to eat and sites of general interest and we were free to participate or not as we desired. We had a cooking class to learn to make the local pasta, Pici, and we enjoyed our creation afterward, along with copious amounts of wine, grappa and Vin Santo. One of the areas where we did not "star" was in olive oil tasting. Our tastes must be dulled by too many years of "the other olive oils" and we could not perceive a difference in the best (and normally more expensive) oil compared to the worst (and normally less expensive)oil. However, I believe in every challenge there is a gift and our gift is that now we will have more money to devote to the excellent Tuscan wines!
We cannot wait until 2010 when we are planning a return to our new friends in Italy.
Beverly & Regis Rocco
Powell, Ohio USA Sat 11/08/2008
Agriturismo Marciano - Siena - Great
If you want your stay in Siena Italy to be a home away from home, then Agriturismo Marciano is the bed and breakfast for you. Nadia, her brother Dr. Christian Betti, along with their uncle and Nadia's husband, make you feel that way in their lovely establishment surrounded by wine vineyards and olive orchards. The rooms are very clean and comfortable and the views are exactly what you would want in Tuscany. Gathering with the other guests in the family room for wine in the afternoon makes it feel like your own home. You are sure to pick up useful tourist information from everyone that shares the breakfast table too. They are even accommodating if you have food preferences. Nadia's dinners are magnificent. My birthday dinner was better than any other on my whole trip (from Venice through Sorrento). Dr. Christian and Nadia helped my children, via e-mails back and forth to New York, arrange a birthday celebration and even shopped for a beautiful gift on the children's behalf. Dr. Christian showed us, with enthusiasm, the wine making process since we were there in October. You can sense his pride in his extraordinary wines and understandably so. It's a great travel base for day trips to all Tuscany villages and it avails itself to just relaxing in the courtyard. You cannot go wrong with this choice.
Margaret and Bob
New York, NY USA Thu 11/06/2008
Agriturismo Poggio Salvi
My husband and I recently went to Italy with another couple. Our time at Poggio Salvi was wonderful. By the time we arrived in Tuscany, we had already been sight-seeing for 10 days and were ready for a rest! We rented the room called Le Rose, which is great for two couples or a family. We spent the first day and a half just relaxing; went into San Rocco a Pilli for groceries at the Coop and cooked for ourselves. Massimo was a friendly and helpful host, and his tabby cat, Stiracu, came to visit daily. What a beautiful, serene place! Do take the map from the website, as we got a little lost trying to find the place in the dark. Enjoy the house wine available from a spigot by the washing machine!
Mukilteo, WA USA Tue 11/04/2008
Italy Farm Stay - Abruzzi National Park
Working several months in the heart of Rome, a weekend visit to the countryside was a must for some rest, relaxation and peace and quiet. I found Italy Farm Stay by accident on the internet. Because of its proximity to Rome, the accessibility by bus, and the activities offered, I was on my way without any recommendations. Italy Farm Stay exceeded expectations. This small family run farm is just outside Sora in a little town called Pescosolido located at the foot of Abruzzi National Park. From the moment I got off the bus in Sora, I didn't have to think about a thing. Antonello, his parents, Maria and Giuseppe are welcoming, accommodating and down to earth. It felt like home away from home. The accommodations are simple, very comfortable and clean. I stayed for two nights in the double room with bathroom (room number 1). The view from my room was wonderful - landscape dotted with farm animals, olive, fruit and walnut trees offset by the panoramic mountain terrain. On the day of my arrival, I walked the grounds of the farm with Antonello's two small dogs guiding the way. I spent mornings amongst the chickens, donkeys and goats, picking olives to eventually be pressed into olive oil. Maria taught me how to make pasta and a mushroom sauce from scratch. I ate heartily and drank homemade wine. Afternoons were spent either hiking to the waterfall, walking back roads lined with abandoned homes or horseback riding. Overall a very beautiful, memorable and relaxing weekend.
New York, NY USA Thu 10/30/2008
Il Poggiolo B&B, Florence
My two daughters and I spent four peaceful nights at Il Poggiolo, just outside Florence. It was a relief to be in the country after several nights in the noisy city. We played with the dogs, cats, and horses, had a wonderful meal, and walked in the fresh countryside. Bussing in and out of the city was a breeze, and took only about 40 minutes. Graziella was helpful in every way--with advice, recommendations, reservations, and even picked us up and returned us to the station. I recommend this B&B for visitors to Florence.
San Luis Obispo, CA USA Wed 10/29/2008
Castle of Montalto in the Chianti area of Tuscany
One of my favorite memories of my trips to Italy was our stay at the Castle of Montalto, not far from Sienna. It is such a magical place, and the owners Giovanni and Diana (she is American) are wonderful hosts. We stayed in the small tower room and ate many of our meals on a stone table in our own beautiful courtyard. Our week there (it is close to so many wonderful hill towns) was a fabulous Tuscan experience! (The website is www.montalto.it)
West Sacramento, CA USA Tue 10/28/2008
Our week at Cretaiole was the centerpiece and the highlight of our 2-week trip to Italy. What a place! It fit my mind's idea of the perfect Tuscan farmhouse – rustic yet charming, not too polished but clean and cozy, stone walls, terra cotta floors, and scenery all around that you can only imagine until you're there yourself.
Our apartment, Il Pollaio, (more of an efficiency apartment) was a charming room complete with a large bathroom (with shower, toilet, and bidet), a well-stocked kitchenette with cooktop (no oven), a wood burning fireplace, a small couch, dining table, chest of drawers, and queen size bed. The size of the room was more than adequate for us and we really enjoyed having a place to settle in to for a whole week. There is no air conditioning. During our early September stay, it was warm. Although lack of a/c wouldn't keep me from coming here again, I have to admit it would have been nice to have. There was an oscellating fan the did the trick.
Then there is Isabella and the welcome that you get from the whole Moricciani family who owns the farm. "Isa" is the hostess who makes sure everyone gets settled when they check in, she's checks in regularly to answer questions, help plan visits, help with reservations for dinner or winery visits, and anything else you might need. She also coordinates group activities for the guests at the farm – some are free and included in the price of the stay and others are an extra, but very reasonable, fee.
It was such a treat to spend time with Isa and her family (as well as the others who stayed at Cretaiole while we were there). The Moricciani family shares openly to ensure that you, the visitor, are given a peek into their world and the life they live as farmers in Tuscany. This type of interaction with local people added a whole new depth to the experience of foreign travel. This is why my husband and I travel and in the future, we will seek out similar accomodations where ever we can.
The highlight of our stay was the pici class that Isa taught to all the "residents" of Cretaiole, and the dinner that followed. The family provided plenty of grilled meat from their farm, wonderful sauce for the pasta we all made, and their own wine. The rest of us brought something (salads, deserts, etc) to round out the meal. Fellowship like that with people from all over the world was such a wonderful experience, even when you don't always speak the same language! (We still haven't stopped talking about it and are making plans to teach our friends how to make pici at a similar class/dinner event - after I've practiced a bit!).
Also at the farm you will find a large vegetable garden proudly tended to by Luciano, the farm's owner, where you can help yourself to whatever is ready to pick. There is also a washing machine (ask for help the first time you use it!), a place to dry clothes the Italian way - in the sunshine, fresh herbs, plenty of lounge chairs and picnic tables to enjoy the outdoors, and many friendly farm cats.
Wine produced by Cretaiole can be purchased from Isa. Ask about the refillable 1-1/2 litre "jug" for 10 Euros. It tasted great and, since you don't keep the bottle, it's a better value than the regular bottles. The family's olive oil was also available for purchase.
If you are looking for a charming place to stay where you have the opportunity to immerse yourself into the culture and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Tuscan countryside, this is the place. If, on the other hand, you're looking to be pampered at a 5-star property, then this isn't for you.
St Charles, IL USA Sat 10/25/2008
My husband and I are just back form 3 weeks in Italy and we stayed at Frallarenza for 2 nights....we wished it was longer!! What a peaceful oasis...we were very warmly received by Francesco and Serena and made to feel at home right away. Francesco was very helpful with maps and things to see, and Serena had made us a baked zucchini pasta and a tiramisu...what a wonderful welcome surprise after a day of travelling. There was also a breakfast tart and a very well stocked kitchen , with bread, biscuits, milk and eggs....so very generous and helps you settle in straight away because all the essentials are there. The smaller cottage we stayed in was decorated beautifully..thankyou Serena for the vase of fresh flowers...it was a warm, cosy country cottage experience, perfect for relaxing. Easy drive to Orvieto. We would very happily return and will stay longer next time. A truly wonderful place to stay where a lovely Italian family share what they have with you.
Melbourne, Vic Australia Mon 10/20/2008
My wife and I stayed at the Agriturismo Marciano in May of this year, 2008. It was our first time traveling in this manner and we both found the stay at Marciano fantastic! Set in the hills just outside Siena we found our hosts Nadia, Christian, Maggie and Renato to all be the most helpful and delightful hosts we could have had. Our room was very clean and spacious, the bath nice and clean and the view from our window marvelously looking out over the vineyard across the valley and able to see Siena in the distance! We met several other couples while there and found everyone friendly and enjoyable. The town of Siena being only 10 5-10 min away was great and it is a wonderful place to visit time and time again. Marciano is centrally located with easy trips to Florence, Pisa, Pienza and the wine country. At Marciano we really enjoyed the special evening meal we enjoyed with a few other couples that was just great! We had a multi course meal each one special and explaind by Nadia paired with one of their own wines. It was wonderful and just loved it!
We will be back in Italy again next year though in a different region but we intend to call ahead and stay one night with our former hosts and enjoy another of their exceptional meals and their company while travelling through Tuscany.. Highly recomended!!!
Mobile, AL USA Mon 10/20/2008
If you are looking for an agriturismo experience Metina is not it. There is no opportunity for interaction with the owners,the vineyard or the other guests. The owners are trying to sell and are also operating a shop in Montelpulciano. The experience was like staying in a motel in the middle of a vineyard.
Towson, MD USA Mon 10/20/2008
In September, 2008, my husband and I spent 5 peaceful, relaxed days at La Crociona Agriturismo near Montalcino. Beautiful setting, great wine, comfortable apartment with a pool and hut tub. We loved this family and their lovely assistant, Julia. Fiorella, Roberto and Barbara were so pleasant and helpful and the location is great for visiting Pienza, Montepulciano, and other hill towns. Their wine is excellent, and we enjoyed touring the winery and cellar. The little restaurant down the street is very good and convenient, when you don't want to drive to dinner. We have fond memories of our stay at La Crociona. If you're thinking of staying in the Montalcino area, check them out at www.lacrociona.com
Walnut Creek, CA USA Sun 10/19/2008
Agriturismo La Falconara in Montepulciano
In May of 2007, my husband and I first stayed at this wonderful agriturismo in Montepulciano. We read the postings on this graffiti wall and chose it from several recommendations that had been made by others.
We have traveled to many places in Europe, but this experience eclipsed all the others. This is primarily due to the owners, Alex and Ingrid Palenzona, who are truly the most amazing people we have ever met. Although Italian citizens, they have U.S. advanced university degrees and speak exceptional English. Alex was invaluable at suggestions of places to go in Tuscany and Umbria ( and impeccable driving directions!) and provided us with an extensive library of tourist guides. However, the best part of each day, was sharing a glass of wine with them and discussing every topic you might imagine. In the back of all of Rick's books, he says that you will find surprisingly few Europeans that would trade passports with you. When you experience the life and pleasures that the Palenzonas do, you will truly understand that.
We were so enchanted with the countryside and our hosts, that we returned several weeks ago, for our second stay there. We were so surprised to learn that one of Rick Steves' assistants had been there several months before; and even more surprised when we returned, to see La Falconara listed in the Italy 2009 book!
If you have been hesitant to rent a car and tour Tuscany and Umbria, this is a very easy way to do it. By flying in to Florence and renting a car at the airport...you just come out of the airport, hop on the A-1, and follow the very simple directions to La Falconara.
If anyone would like more information, we would be more than happy to send that to you, with some fabulous pictures of the agriturismo.
A stay at La Falconara is the memory of a lifetime.
Robert and Cathye Austin
Asheville, NC USA Sat 10/18/2008
We recently stayed at Casa Nova in Greve-in-Chianti. We drove through Greve in 2003, and it was my dream to return there and stay on our next trip. I found Casa Nova on the Greve-in-Chianti web site, so booked it without any recommendations. It was wonderful. We rented a 2 bedroom apartment (we were traveling with another couple) and it was huge. We paid 115 Euros a night-so it worked out to about 58 euros per couple per night. We had a beautiful vineyard right outside our room and the grapes were ripe. The apartment was huge with 2 large bedrooms, a nice bathroom, a huge kitchen and living room. We also had a wonderful outdoor picnic table and we used it!! It was a magical experience and stay. It was a 10-15 minutes walk into Greve, and we loved the town, especially the Saturday market. It was filled with locals from all over shopping for everything from toilet paper to slippers. We rode the bus into Florence. (my husband knew he did not want to drive into Florence, so having a way in that we could walk to was important.) The bus takes about 50-60 minutes depending on traffic and where you want to get off. We rode it all the way to the end, which dropped us right by the Florence train station. My sister and her husband got off right after the bus crossed the river and they could see Ponte Vecchio. You can also ride the bus the oposite direction into Siena. The agritourismo also has double rooms and they even accept one night stays. The rooms are 60-80 euros a night and they include breakfast. The apartment did not include breakfast, but they left us coffee, tea, juice, jam, and milk for us to use. We stayed 3 nights and would have loved to stay longer. If I every get back to Tuscany, I will stay here for sure.
Everett, WA USA Wed 10/15/2008
Italy Farm Stay - Abruzzi National Park
Italy Farm Stay
As students studying abroad in Rome we were looking to get away to the countryside. We found a BEAUTIFUL little farm outside of the city of Sora, just 2 hours south of Rome. It is located on the cusp of Abruzzi National Park. The hosts were wonderful, entertaining people. We arrived Friday night to a warm dinner and open arms. They gave us two choices of accomadations, either rooms or tents.
There were many options for activities in the area including: -Horseback Riding -Waterfall Hike (Amazing Experience!) -Cooking Class (Homemade Pasta!) -Paraglidining -Cheesemaking As well as many other opportunites such as the city of Sora and Modonna Delle Grazie.
The most important thing about a farmstay is the people. The family at the Italy Farm Stay were delightful, welcoming, accomodating and made the stay that much more memorable.
We recommend this experience wholeheartedly to anyone!!!
Danielle, John, Aaron, Laura and Mike
Boston, MA USA Sun 10/12/2008
If you are looking for peace and quite in the Umbrian countryside not far from Orvieto, this is the place. My wife and I were warmly received by our hosts Francesco and Serena with a cassarole dish and breakfast tart that was very much appreciated after our long drive and was very tasty. I also highly recommend Francesco's red wine, very good with pasta and only 5 euros a bottle. Serena makes her own pottery and scarves of which my wife came home with. Of particular convenience was have a washing machine and wifi at our disposal. There are several cats on the farm that make themselves availble for petting, and Luna their beautiful german shepard, is always grateful to snap from your hand, an offering from the fig tree. This place was a real pleasure and our hosts were incredible.
Sacramento, CA USA Sun 10/12/2008
Agriturisimo Poggiacolle, San Gimignano, Tuscany
We just returned from 7 nights of wonderful stay at Poggiacolle. We were travelling with 3 other couples and the farm stay with the use of a kitchen was perfect for our use. The farm house is centrally located in Tuscany to allow for day trips to various Tuscan towns (Siena, Cortona, Volterra and Florence) and Chianti. Stefano is most helpful. It was truly a piece of heaven.
Delta, BC Canada Thu 10/09/2008
We had the best week of our vacation thanks to the wonderful hospitality of Isabella, Carlo and Luciano. The rooms are comfortable and the experiences really embody the Tuscan dream. We can't recommend this place highly enough and look forward to a return trip.
Cynthia & Jessica
Madison, WI USA Wed 10/08/2008
Villa in Chianti outside Florence
Podere Erica in Chianti was incredible - we even helped with the 2008 grape harvest last week! They also have olives and honey. They are very accommodating and the villa is very comfortable, warm and quiet - the perfect Italian experience. www.chiantivacation.com
Lynnwood, WA USA Wed 10/08/2008
Casa Diletta in Tuscany
The best B&B in Tuscany we've experienced is Casa Diletta (http://www.casadiletta.it/). The owner, Tiziana, takes excellent care of her guests, and you have easy access to Lucca, Montecatini and Pistoia by train, taxi or car. It's easy to walk into Montecatini for some exercise. You will be welcomed like a member of the family, and enjoy comfortable rooms and hearty breakfasts.
Michael A. Procino, MD
Seaboard, NC USA Sun 10/05/2008
Casabianca Agriturismo - Tuscany south of Siena
Many years ago, my family stayed for a full week at the Casabianca agriturismo. We were the only American family there, which was great, and the kids enjoyed meeting young playmates from all over Italy and Europe. The agriturismo has a beautiful Olympic size pool in the middle of a vineyard, 18th century restored farmhouses, a restaurant on site, horseback riding and other activities. It's south of Siena by about 15 miles or so.
Mill Valley, CA USA Sat 10/04/2008
The most wonderful experience of a month of touring Italy! A must for those that like great hospitality, delicious food, homelike experience and meeting a lovely Italian family. There are two apartments available and they are decorated with loving care and artistic talents of Sarena and Francesco. A central location for exploring Umbria and Tuscany regions of Italy. You will arrive to delightful Italian dishes and a kitchen well stocked for food preparation. Sarena is a talented cook, weaver, and pottery maker. Francesco is a hard working farmer with olive groves and grape vineyards. Don't forget to purchase a bottle of his delightful wine! You will not want to leave as they make you feel so welcome and treat you like family. I hope to return to Frallarenza in the near future and highly recommend this Agriturismo to everyone wanting a true "Italian Experience".
Medford, OR USA Sat 10/04/2008
Agriturismo in Tuscany
We had a terrific 11 days in Italy as part of a 3 week trip. We stayed in an agriturismo in the Tuscan hills. It is called Le Torre and is ran by a great guy named Gabrielle. He speaks very good English. I am reluctant to spread the word since I'd like to keep it for myself but it was too fantastik. Beautiful olive groves that they make their own olive oil out of. We spent many hours lost in the Tuscan hill towns or even on the same hill! Great fun to drive with the Italians. By the way, their dryers only fluff so don't waste your money. Hang everything up.
Port Orchard, WA USA Thu 09/25/2008
Ca' del Baldo Agriturismo near Lake Garda/Veneto Region
Our family of 4 stayed at Ca' del Baldo Agriturismo (www.CadelBaldo.com) for a week in August 2007 and had a wonderful time. This was our third time staying at an agriturismo and we love them! I found this place after many hours of searching online for a place in Northern Italy where we were spending the first week of our trip. There are not many agriturismi in the northern part of Italy so I was thrilled to find such a beautiful place!
Check out their website--it looks just like the photos!
This place is a true gem! It is located on the outskirts of the small village of Caprino di Veronese at the foot of Mt. Baldo about 7 km to Lake Garda and 30 km to Verona. We really enjoyed Verona and all the villages on the north, south and east side of Lake Garda.
Ca' del Baldo is run by a nice young couple--Roberta, who speaks 5 languages,and her husband Carlo. They live in the beautiful yellow house attached to the former hayloft, which houses 2 of the 4 apartments. These 2 apartments are on the first floor (2nd in the U.S.) The other 2 apartments are in the former stable right next to the hayloft and they are on the ground floor.
Carlo and Roberta purchased the property about 10 years ago and renovated these bldgs. for apts. and they did a fabulous job. Carlo did most of the work himself and I believe they have only been open for around 4 years.
We stayed in the apartment IL FIENILE in the former hayloft and it was lovely and we were more than comfortable. (A/C in all apts that really cools!) Both of these apts. have private COVERED terraces for outside dining, which we really enjoyed. The other 2 apts. in the former stable have private patios too. There is also a swimming pool and a beautiful community room. I believe they are also planning on having wireless internet in all apts. too. Roberta was extremely helpful with any questions we had.
Maple Grove, MN USA Thu 09/18/2008
Italy Farm Stay
We stayed at the farm after our trip to Rome and it was so much more peaceful than the hectic pace of Rome. Our host, Antonello and his parents, Guiseppe and Maria were extremely warm and genuine people. I spent most of my time with Guiseppe riding their animals (donkeys and pony), and helping him with taking care of the animals. I got a chance to milk their goat one morning! We ate fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables from their farm. The atmosphere was like one big happy family. The other guests there had great personalities. The animals were great, and there were very fun activities such as a cheese shepherd, and horseriding. The cheese shepherd was an amazing experience plus you got to have warm cheese at five A.M! There were also amazing walks that you could take surrounded by vegatation. The farm also has relaxing hammocks. The meals were excellent! There were egg sandwiches for lunch and always something very yummy for dinner. Overall i would rate the farm 10 out of 10.
Solana Beach, CA USA Sun 09/14/2008
Il Poggiolo, Florence
We stayed at Il Poggiolo in Mid-July, for 3 wonderful nights. Graziella was a fantastic host, going above and beyond at every point. She provided a late lunch including a bottle of wine upon our arrival. Recommended local resturants and attractions, she also obtainted bus tickets and made reservations to the galleries in Florence. We highly recommend this picturesque and friendly agriturismo. We would return in a heartbeat!!!!
C & M
Syr & Buff, NY, USA Sun 09/07/2008
Podere San Lorenzo, Volterra, Tuscany
Marinella's Gorgeous Organic Olive Tree Farm. 2 km outside of Volterra. 1/2 hour to beach, easy drive (thru quintessential vistas) to Monteriggioni, San Gimi. Exquisate staff. Breakfast in an 11th cent chapel. Bullfrogs singing amongst irises in the natural organic spring where you can swim. Starlight over the dark hills, exposed beams, fully restored rooms. She won the regional olive oil prize for 2006! Awesome cooking class. Magic. This is the Tuscany you were dreaming of. www.agriturismosanllorenzo.it
Saint Paul, MN USA Sat 09/06/2008
Il Poggiolo, Florence, Italy
We took our first trip to Italy in July. The airline lost our luggage (permanently as it turned out) and we had a worried, rushed overnight in Rome before heading to Florence. Our stay at Il Poggiolo truly saved our vacation. Our host, Graziella, met us personally at the train station; she took us to an inexpensive store to buy clothes and waited for us the whole time. Arriving at the farm we were amazed at the beauty: fig trees and olive groves, flowers everywhere, stunning views, and a classic farmhouse right out of a romantic movie. Graziella presented us with a bottle of wine and we settled under a fig tree relaxing with the three dogs. Later, at her recommendation we ate dinner at a local restaurant with even more stunning views and had truly one of the best meals of our lives. By this time all of our luggage worries were forgotten and thus began the best vacation of our lives.
Graziella is a wonderful host. She speaks English well and will go out of her way to help you, even to the point of picking you up in her car from a restaurant or bus stop. She had even made us reservations to the Florence museums for the next day. Despite the rural relaxation, the farm is just outside of Florence and we were able to make easy day trips and returning to the farm after the touristic bussle was a relief. While a car would probably be more convenient, the buses are easy enough and regular enough to make the farm a great option for any traveler. We can't imagine a better first stop and introduction to Italy, but those familiar with Italy already will also love her and her farm. Check out email@example.com
VT USA Sat 08/30/2008
Le Cassette in Umbria
We just stayed 2 nights at Pormulo Vecchio (part of three farm properties run by the same people who run the farm with which Le Cassetteis associated. Pormulo Vecchio is the oldest property--a 12th century manor in which St. Francis of Assisi once slept. It houses the farm owners upstairs and has two guest apartments downstairs. While rustic, it was also idyllic. This is not the place to stay if you are expecting air conditioning, and shower massagers--but it was spotless and the bathroom was new and spacious. Our apartment had screens on the windows, a fireplace in the kitchen, and lovely views of grapefields, cow pastures and hills out the window. It was very private--we had a huge garden and nice outdoor table, as well. There were also two swimming pools to chose from, and the town of Orvieto is an easy 20 minute drive away. The hosts were wonderful--warm but not overbearing. Our daughter loved the personalized farm tour we were given by the 80 year old founder of the farm. Not only are organic grapes grown there, but they also raise organically-fed meats. We would go back there in a heartbeat. While a bit of a rustic place (it is, adfter all, a farm), it was absolutely lovely.
Rome & Chicago, IL USA Thu 08/28/2008
A week at Casa Rosa, Umbria - Italy
Location Casa Rosa is six kilometers away from Assisi, along winding country roads. It's very private and beautifully situated with three houses built along the ridge in a valley near Mount Subaiso.
Nearby Amenities The nearest groceries were at a bar/restaurant halfway between Casa Rosa and Assisi, however we tended to shop in Assisi or at any supermarkets we passed on the road when sightseeing. Plus, with our cooking arrangements, we really did not need to buy much besides wine and cookies (see later in this review).
The House/Apartment The main farmhouse has been converted into three apartments. There were two one bedroom/one bathroom units on the ground floor, and a three bedroom/one bathroom unit on the first floor, which is where we stayed. Our friends took the other units so it was a full house! We had dinners in our apartment because it had the biggest kitchen table. The two main bedrooms were very large and comfortable with lots of closet space, and the third bedroom was large enough for a twin bed. Since we didn't use that room, we set up the clothes rack in there to dry our towels and laundry instead - very handy. The apartments are separated from the owner's residence by a paved patio with a rose garden. The owner, Jennifer, lives in what used to be the stable, and further along, she has renovated the barn to be her studio; she is a very fine artist.
Garden This was rather cold for March, according to the locals, so we did not get to sit outside to sip our coffees. But there are chairs and benches, and lovely views. There is also a pool that gets filled once the weather is warmer.
Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas All the furniture has been hand-painted by the owner, and there are painted details on the walls as well, quite special. Our unit had both a fireplace and a wood burning stove. We used the stove more often, as it burns more efficiently and heats up the house faster, but the electric heaters also come on so it was quite nice.
The apartment was very clean, and there were seven of us gathered quite comfortably around the dining table every night.
There is a bookcase with lots of local guidebooks and maps as well as a binder of information on walks around the property.
Bedrooms/Bathrooms We found the bedrooms quite comfortable, although the birds are so darn cheerful in the wee hours of the morning. There were extra blankets in the closet.
The bathroom was fine, and here a note to North Americans that the towels are the European style of waffle weave fabric (Frette) rather than the loop pile towels we are used to, but it's like paper towels, they are very absorbent and they dry faster too. Lots of extra towels, toilet paper etc. in the laundry room, which is in a shed below the house.
Bring your own shampoo and soaps.
Kitchen The kitchen was our main socializing area, and it's pre-stocked with bottles of wine that you purchase based on the honor system. There is a good sized fridge, stove with oven and lots of pots, pans, cutlery, dishes and espresso cups of course. I'm sure it would have been fine for cooking full meals but we never did; we just toasted bread for breakfast or fried some eggs and that was it, thanks to Carmen (see below).
Problems or Bonuses The owner and hostess, Gay, is an artist who would prefer to paint landscapes but she keeps getting commissions for reproducing medieval art. We got to see her at work in her studio, using old-fashioned techniques of transferring sketches to the canvas, painting using egg tempera. It was fascinating, and that was a real bonus. Also, we are cat lovers and the three friendly cats who live at Casa Rosa were shameless at pandering to visitors, so we really enjoyed that.
I think the only surprise, which was not bad but just a surprise, lasted for a minute, was on our first approach to Casa Rosa, when we followed all the instructions that Gay sent to us (very detailed and accurate) and as we turned off the already-narrow-rural-road to plunge down what looked like a goat track, my husband muttered "You've got to be kidding, well it's only a rental car" ... and down we went down a white limestone gravel path shaded by trees and then the path opened up and there was Casa Rosa on the ridge. Do try and arrive in daylight is my advice. You get used to the drive pretty quickly.
Agency and Representatives (and price) We dealt directly with the owner via email and had no issues. No credit card, so have your euros ready when you arrive. We variously paid deposits with bank drafts in euros, $USD cheques.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others? When we got home, my husband said, "You know we were so busy sightseeing, driving to Assisi, Gubbio, Todi, Orvieto, all those places. Casa Rosa itself was so beautiful, I wish we had taken a day or two off just to enjoy being there." And he's right. When I look at the photos of the place, we should have had a day of walking around the property, reading and just enjoying the peaceful beautiful surroundings. I guess we aren't slow enough travelers yet! It's a good location, so close to Assisi. We'd definitely stay there again and take it slower next time!
Things to do in this area OK - no restaurant review but - we did not cook because we hired Carmen. Our friends who joined us on this vacation said that the last time they stayed at an agriturismo, they found it hard to come home after a day of sightseeing and then drive out again to find a place to eat, and they didn't want to cook while on vacation. So they hired a cook to come in every night.
We asked Gay if she had anyone to recommend, and YES! Carmen Loenis (firstname.lastname@example.org) a lovely young Dutch woman who lives in Assisi showed up every night, cooked up a storm in Gay's house, brought it up to our kitchen course by course and it was wonderful. Just simple dishes, very well-prepared, local ingredients. We didn't have to shop for groceries (except for breakfast stuff), Carmen made us a three-course meal every night (antipasti, primo, secondi, sometimes contorni, no dessert, we knew we'd be OD'ing on gelato during the day); we bought our own wine. She charged a very reasonable amount per head, and each night we would tell her how many would be dining in the next night. We had so much leftover we spent our last dinner at Casa Rosa eating leftovers. Carmen also baked a birthday cake for me as a surprise. Just email Carmen or arrange with Gay. We would do it that way every time and not worry about dinners. We had great meals at lunchtime in the various towns, bought wines when we went sightseeing, and looked forward to the group getting together at night for drinks and a cosy dinner in the farmhouse.
USA Mon 08/25/2008
Abbacca-la is a beautiful accomodation in the Tuscan village of Aquilea about a fifteen minute drive to Lucca, and it was the highlight of our three week Italy vacation. The apartment is lovely and much larger than it appears in the web site photos. I loved cooking Italian foods in the kitchen, eating meals together on the patio, and waking up in the morning to the soft sounds of birds chirping. The views of the surrounding hillsides are spectacular. My three children also enjoyed this eco-friendly accomodation, especially the above ground swimming pool where they spent many happy hours during our week long stay. It is reasonably priced, and Lella will rent you her car along with the apartment. We found peace, relaxation, and an opportunity to truly immerse ourselves in Italian culture. Lella has a warm, welcoming personality, and she did everything possible to make our stay a very memorable one. While we intended to make several day trips to surrounding Tuscan towns, we loved the farmhouse so much that we only left a few times. We knew we had found true Tuscan magic right at Accacca-la, and we did not need to go looking for anything better. I give Lella and her lovely home my highest recommendation! Check out her web site or find the accomodation at VRBO.com.
Quincy, CA USA Thu 08/14/2008
[b]Great B&B/agriturismo just outside Orvieto![/b]
If you're planning a trip to Orvieto--the stunning cathedral town in green Umbria, just an hour north of Rome--I highly recommend Cioccoleta Agriturismo. It is located just a few miles outside of Orvieto, on a hill that has a magnificent view onto the town of Orvieto. Cioccoleta (pronounced "Cho-co-layta") is a real working farm (grapes and olives, grain and sunflowers), surrounded by fields and vineyards, in one of the most beautiful areas of Italy. The people there are warm and friendly, serve up an excellent breakfast, and are more than willing to accommodate special requests, give advice about places to go and things to see, and overall just to make the most out of being in Orvieto. Cioccoleta is an excellent base from which to explore Umbria and to make day trips to Rome or Florence. Check it out! Here's their website URL: http://www.cioccoleta.it/.
Amherst, MA USA Tue 08/12/2008
Italy Farm Stay, Italian Organic Farm
The last four days at the Italy Farm Stay have been an experience I will never forget. There has been a variety of exciting activities that I have participated in here, which my favorite has to be the cooking classes. The cooking classes taught me a lot about the Italian cuisine as well as how to make ravioli from scrtach.Maria was a great teacher and was a lot of fun. Four of us made the entire dinner for the farms guest. At the end of the cooking lesson we were all given a glass of the homemade lemoncello! I would reccomend this place to anyone looking to get a feel for the life of an Italian that you will not find in the city. The family here is truly something special and are dedicated to preserving traditions as well as the environment. The farm is all organic and is located in the foothills of the beautiful Abruzzo National Park. Italy Farm Stay will leave you full of memories and a true feeling of the Italian culture.
Dumas, Ar USA Tue 08/12/2008
Il Poggiolo, Florence, Italy
My family of 6 took our first European vacation in July 2008. We visited Paris, Vernazza, Florence and Rome within 15 days. We lodged within the city limits everywhere except Florence where I thought we would appreciate a more relaxing environment midway through our trip. I found a reference to Il Poggiolo on these message boards and contacted Graziella for reservations. It was the perfect respite for rail-weary travelers. The view and surrounding area was beautiful. The local bus made venturing into town each day both convenient and adventuresome. (The winding road is narrow and the bus is fast!) The owner/hostess, Graziella, was incredibly kind and helpful. She personally picked us up when we arrived in town via train. When she found we had arrived hungry she took two of us to a local deli and translated for us. Another night she ordered dinner for us to be delivered. Restaurant and museum reservations were made as well.
On arrival my 13 yr old son couldn't believe his luck... Graziella has 3 beautiful friendly Collies that waited daily for my son to come out to play.
We found that after spending each day in bustling, crowded Florence it was heavenly to return to our peaceful retreat. Our room was furnished with interesting antiques and the kitchenette included a small refridgerator and microwave allowing us to bring home food from town.
I would recommend Il Poggiolo to travelers seeking access to the city of Florence while enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of a mountain Agriturismo.
Graziella's most gracious personality and wonderful English speaking skills made our stay perfect.
Sugar Land, TX USA Tue 08/12/2008
Agriturismo Cretaiole (Pienza) Italy, July 13-18 2008
A week of July 13-18 will be most memorable time in my life, as I spent it in Cretaiole ( near Pienza). My friend read about this place on this website and without hesitation we agreed to stay there. I have only THANK YOU words for Isabella and her family, for their care, guiding to the real life , to their history and traditions during our stay. Our morning started with birds singing and a view from your room to the sunrise in the fields. As we had our lovely kitchen, we could cook great breakfast with local products - eggs, cheese, coffee, etc.. During the day with advice of Isabella we traveled around and enjoyed the beauty of Pienza, Montalcino, Montepulciano and just riding the dirty roads. You may wish to go to the hot springs to Fosse Bianco or Bagnio Vignoni. Our evenings ended either with a self-made dinner in a company of great and nice people who also stayed in Cretaiole, or going to some nice places which also were advised by Isabella or with a great pasta dinner, cooked by ourselves under the guidanceof Isabella. So if you are to choose a place, where you wish you soul and mind could rest, chose Cretaiole in Val D'Orcia. I dream to come back here again and again, especially that I think I was the first person from Moscow there. Some useful tips: 1) There is a very good public transport between Pienza and Siena, other cities as well. So you may use it easily. I used it to visit Siena for one day. The TI office in Pienza can provide you with a bus timetable. The bus stop is outside the citywalls, to your right , right in front of Policy office. The buses arrive on time, there are no big time delays. Tickets are sold in the Tabacchi or in the library shop in Pienza ( right near the small café). One ticket to Siena was 3.80 Euro. You will need to validate it once you enter the bus. BUT the bus from Pienza will arrive to the train station of Siena, not the center. To get there take any bus ( #7, 10) which goes to Pza. Gramisci. And from there you may quickly walk to the center. 2) Pienza is famous for its Peccorino cheese and Pici, I bought it home and it was fantastic! 3) The Coop store is in Pienza, but a bigger one is in San Quirico D'Orcia. There are signs on the road, so you may find it without problem. If you have any questions, please write to me e-mail, and I will try to help you. Wish you a pleasant and wonderful STAY at Cretaiole!
P.S. And if you are a cat lover, this is also a place for you, there are 15 cats, our favourite one was a kitten called - Ginger. :-))
Moscow, USA Thu 07/31/2008
Horseback riding and a cheese making shepard in Abruzzo!
My favorite experience was at Italy Farm Stay in Abruzzo. I went horseback riding and visited a cheese making shepard while I was there! The horseback riding was incredible, I went with a small group while the sun was setting and got to relax and enjoy myself as the horses took us through forests of beech trees and hidden trails with views of a mysterious looking castle. The greatest part about the horseback riding in my opinion was the church ruin that we visited. It was covered in vines and ivy and we went in with our horses and saw the last embers of light peaking in through the ruin cracks. It was a truely wonderful experience that I will remember for the rest of my life and it was cheap! It was only 22 euro and transportation from the farm was included. The cheese making shepard was the other highlight of my trip. We woke up early and took a lovely mountain hike to where the shepard was located and got to witness first hand the thousand year old process of how the shepards made and still make cheese. We watched as the shepard milked the goats, and then got to participate in the actual cheese making process and then got to eat the cheese! Yum! I had a great time at Italy Farm Stay, it was relaxing and just what I needed! Not only is the hospitality and view amazing but there are loads of great activities that you can do. I recomend this place to everyone of all ages, there is something for everyone here. Definitly check out the website at www.italyfarmstay.com
Seattle, WA USA Sun 07/27/2008
Agritourismo -- Orvieto
In April, we stayed at the Agriturismo Pomonte Soggiornio, outside Orvieto (one of R.S. recommendations) It was terrific and we highly recommend it! If possible, make your stay include a Saturday night. Saturday night the family puts on a spectacular meal, and many locals from the surrounding area come in for the dinner. The phrase "a great time was had by all" was probably invented for this place and evening! If you call you'll want to talk to Enrique -- the English speaker -- and a great guy! (Wait until you taste the wine they make from their own grapes, and bottle themselves! You will because he'll offer you some when you arrive!) Questions? We'll be happy to answer them for you -- e-mail us. Also a great place to stay before heading to Civita the following day. Enrique will show you a very pleasant, scenic, "backdoor" route to drive to go to Civita -- and avoid a lot of backtracking to, and through, Orvieto.
Lakewood, CO USA Fri 07/25/2008
My husband and I recently spent four days at an agriturismo in Siena. We found a recommendation on the Graffiti Wall. Agriturismo Mariciano was great! Christian was very knowledgable about the region, restaurants, wineries and small towns of the area. We also had a delicious Tuscan-style meal, prepared by one of his friends, which included wines from his winery! I would highly recommend this place.
South San Francisco, Ca USA Wed 07/23/2008
Our family of 10 which included our three grandchildren(11,8 & 5)enjoyed a wonderful week with Serena, Francesco at their lovely olive farm. We arrived at different times and Serena made sure that the delicious fresh zucchini lasagna, that she made for us, was still warm when the last of us arrived at 9:30 PM. The apricot tart was a very unexpected treat as well, as were the fresh eggs & milk for our breakfast.
The architecture of the house was designed by them so that each apartment looked like a country villa all by itself, as it was built in a semi-circle on a hill. A super idea! We used both apartments and they were charmingly decorated with Serena's lovely handmade pottery, ceramic items too numerous to mention, as well as crocheted lamp shades. Her colors fit perfectly with the Umbria/Tuscany feel of the countryside.
Francesco was very helpful and giving of his knowledge of the land, his farm, directions and things to do and see. He made us eager to see the towns around us and gave us directions for the easy train ride in and out of Rome.
Our time at their farm was peaceful in such a serene surounding and the children were able to recoup from their sightseeing by using the pool and the ping-pong table, and just checking out the area. We were also able to use a laptop computer, which surprised me.
This villa was rated ***** stars by all of us and the family we stayed with were extremely warm and inviting. This was a vacation that will be remembered by all of us.
Midland Park, NJ USA Fri 07/18/2008
l'erba presa- levanto, italy- a delight!
We love Levanto! What a nice way to see the coast and Cinque Terra without the hustle and bustle of tourists to spoil your Italian holiday! L'erba Presa was a delight! We stayed in the apartment and felt like we could move right in- for months at a time! Grazia and Claudio are gracious hosts. Grazia prepares a great hearty, healthy and tasty breakfast! I couldn't wait to see what was going to be on the table in the morning. Claudio is a true farmer- working long hours and always tending to the plants. He graciously gave a tour (and offer for experience) of the farm. We hope to come back some day- for more than 3 days!
oakland, CA USA Fri 07/18/2008
BEAUTIFUL Sicilian Agriturismo
I spent five weeks in Sicily (May and June), and we stayed in the Agriturismo Budicari just north of the small town of Allume.
The place was comfortable, and the scenery is FANTASTIC! (I don't know about prices, but I expect they were very reasonable!) It's situated on the side of the mountain about 1000 ft (300m) above the coast and looks down into the valley of the Fiumedinisi river. You can easily see the Italian mainland from it, and Etna from places on the road up (we could even see the lava at night from one place on the road).
We were within easy driving distance of the Mediterranean, several small towns (with good restaurants), and Taormina was under thirty minutes drive away. The autostrada has an exit just south in Roccalumera and it's a short drive from there to the road to Allume (3 or 4 kilometers). Allume is about a km inland, and the agriturismo is about 2km north and uphill on a paved road.
One warning- the road getting up to the agritourismo is VERY steep and winding, with multiple switchbacks. Like we were told by locals- DRIVE SLOW! A smaller vehicle also recommended (also manual transmission and use first gear the whole way). Definitely not recommended for the novice driver!
You can find contact information by searching for the Agritourismo Budicari on the internet- they have a website. A knowledge of Italian is helpful, but the owner knows a little English. They are also very nice people to meet!
Lakeland, Fl USA Thu 07/17/2008
Tuscany - Castelmuzio
My wife and I recently spent a week in Tuscany and stayed in a garden level apartment in the delightful village of Castelmuzio. The house we stayed in had been converted into two rentals with the upper level being a large spacious apartment. The garden level apartment where we stayed called El Nido had a good sized bathroom with shower, a fully equiped kitchen in which we could make our own meals when we chose. El Nido is perfect for a couple who like their privacy but is conveniently located in the village with a co-op (local food store) and a good restaurant where we enjoyed tasty local cooking, About half a mile down the road there was also an excellent inexpensively priced restaurant. The apartments are run by the family owners of the Agriturismo Cretaiole which is just outside Pienza. Isabella does an outstanding job of providing information and arranging tours and activities for the guests at Cretaiole and Castelmuzio apartments. It is through the contact with Isabella's family that Tuscany comes to life. The hill country of Tuscany offers a lot for the tourist but Isabella and Carlo make a stay with them a truly memorable experience and we have no hesitation in recommending a stay with the Moricciani family.
San Jose, CA USA Fri 07/11/2008
Agritourismo near Orvieto- Agritourismo Frallarenza
My family of four just returned from a magical first tour of Ialy. Our stay at Agritourismo Frallarenza was one of the highlights. Hosts Francesco and Serena made us feel so welcome and at home. They have done a wonderful job of remodeling their farmhouse; our apartment was spacious, cool, and comfortable. We enjoyed meals on the porch, Serena's homemade lasagna and tort, and table tennis with Francesco and Giorgio. We hope to return one day and enjoy a longer stay!
Kirkland, WA USA Wed 07/09/2008
Gorgeous Umbria Farm- Casa Rondini
We just spent a wonderful week at Casa Rondini in Montegabbione, Umbria (www.casarondini.com). The setting was beautiful with fantastic views from both our terraces and the owners, Franco and Bozena couldn't have been more friendly or helpful. The 2 bedroom apartment was perfectly decorated and had everything we needed. There is a lovely garden where we were encouraged to help ourselves to any vegetables and a pool in a relaxing setting after a day of touring hill towns. We could not have asked for a better place to stay during our visit.
San Francisco, CA USA Tue 07/08/2008
Great place to stay near Orvieto
In June 2008 our group of six stayed at Agriturismo Pomonte near Orvieto. I believe it was included in one of Rick's guidebooks. It was fabulous! The views were spectacular, the food was delicious, and the owners were very nice. Some other great stays during our trip: Casa Valdese, Rome, and Palazzo Duodo Gregolin, Venice.
Normal, IL USA Sun 07/06/2008
Agriturismo Frallarenza, Orvieto, Umbria
Frallarenza is a small and charming farm and agriturismo run by Francesco and Serena, who produce olive oil, perfect organic veggies, and lovely pottery creations (courtesy of Serena) which decorate both rental apartments. We stayed in the larger of the apartments (five adults, 2 pre-teenagers) and found both comfort and space to spare. Sitting on the kitchen counter when we arrived was a huge homemade fruit tart; ingredients for breakfast were in the fridge; and a warm greeting awaited us from the owners. We had Frallarenza to ourselves during our stay and thoroughly enjoyed the sounds and smells and sights of the countryside. We cooked "in" most of the time because of the abundance of fresh pasta and vegetables in the area-- and our dinners were both inexpensive and delicious. Frallarenza is actually located in the small town of Ficulle, about 12 miles north of Orvieto, and made an excellent base for visiting Orvieto, Civita di Bagnoregio (the "dying city"), Assisi, Perugia, the free thermal springs at Saturnia (my favorite), and for horseback riding near the shores of Lake Bolsena. Proof positive of a happy stay at Frallarenza: if, as we did, you can get 7 members of the same family, all of different ages, to agree that Francesco's and Serena's hospitality was the best, you must stay at this small agriturismo for sure!
Tampa, FL USA Sat 07/05/2008
Agriturismo Cretaiole in Tuscany: Our family spent a week at Cretaiole in May. Isabella and her family immediately welcomed us and we already felt like long-time friends. Taking my 2 1/2 year old grandson- we saw what a perfect place for children- a large grassy area and toys- he was in heaven! It is not easily described the quiet and peace that you feel staying here. To look out your windows at the rolling Tuscan hillside- is like a dream. It actually looks like it isn't real- so beautiful. We look forward to returning to Cretaiole on our next visit to Tuscany- hopefully soon!
Austin, Tx USA Sat 07/05/2008
Italy Farm Stay
I started my trip to Europe at Italy Farm Stay at the beginning of May. I was feeling a little uneasy at the isolation and lack of things to do with a six month old baby. Within a couple of days of being at the farm and getting to know the other guests and "volunteers" it became a magical time. We didn't ride horses or do any hiking unless you count the hike into town and the weather was pretty awful but Antonello and his family were lovely. They were so welcoming and tried to make the experience enjoyable. We met some fantastic people. We tagged along on a dinner outing with another group and had a wonderful time. Two of the other guests spent an afternoon trying to find a car seat so that we could join them on a day trip to Pompeii. It was the most thoughtful gesture and the trip was one of the highlights of my life. The ratio of guests to locals is high so clicking with the other guests will have a huge influence on how enjoyable the experience is. However, like many things in life, the time at IFS is what you make it.
Vancouver, BC Canada Fri 06/27/2008
Tour Guide for Siena
If you are staying at an agritourismo in Tuscany near Siena and want a personalized tour of the city, I would recommend Pablo Piombo. He gave my friend and I a wonderful tour of the city including areas most overlooked by tourists. You can contact him at email@example.com to arrange a personalized tour of the city.
Raleigh, NC USA Fri 06/27/2008
Il Canto Del Sole Tuscany Farm
We stayed for a week at this lovely farm about 12 km south of Siena. Luciano and Laura were wonderful hosts, along with their son, Marco. The accommodations are very nice, in a restored Tuscan farm house, breakfast is plentiful, there is a pool for cooling off or taking a break, and it is in a great location, so many areas of interest are within 30-60 minutes. A great place for couples or families, as we saw both during our holiday there. This place was wonderful!
IL USA Tue 06/24/2008
Poggiacolle/ San Gimignano
If you are looking for an Agriturismo in Tuscany region, then look no further than Poggiacolle in San Gimignano, operated by a most pleasant chap, Stefano Bartali. This place is unbelievable. Imagine sitting in a pool with a disappearing edge feature and beyond that are the rolling hills of Tuscany. No matter where you look, the unreal view of the village dominates the vista. that means, almost anywhere you stay, upper rooms with shared kitchen, lower level rooms, even the turret, there are incredible views non-stop. amazingly situated, with easy day trips to Siena and Florence, this place is a quiet peaceful gem of a countryside retreat. Did i mention the wine and olive oil made on the premises flows with delicious ease and only adds to the soothing environment? Local cuisine is easily accessible for dine out, or buy fresh goods and cook at the farmhouse! Poggiacolle provides that very important feature: personal freedom to rest and relax on your own terms. If you want to co-mingle with the guests and owner, you can, and if you're lucky may end up witnessing a home cooked meal made in traditional tuscan methods by Stefano's mother, or alternately, if its peace and quiet you want, then just grab a good book and sit amongst the vineyards and be completely at ease. I can't say enough about this little piece of heaven. I've been to this place 8 or 9 times, and can't wait for my 10th! check it out at their website:www.poggiacolle.com
NYC, NY USA Tue 06/24/2008
Agriturismo Cretaiole - Pienza
Cretaiole was a wonderful place to stay near Pienza. Isabella and her family are committed to making their guests feel comfortable, cared for and imbued with a sense of welcome and hospitality that is part of the Cretaiole experience. We were given pasta lessons by Isabella and learned about olive oil from Carlo (a professional olive oil taster) and Isabella,the lessons were fun, informative and creatively presented. Isabella planned activities, to partake of or not, and made herself available for suggestions and information about the surrounding area. We had a perfect vacation at Cretaiole in the magnificent Val D'Orcia, with vistas that were extraordinary and people that were warm and welcoming.
Berkeley Heights, NJ USA Mon 06/23/2008
RE: My previous comment....
I forgot to mention that I was referring to my vacation at the Italy Farm Stay located in the Abruzzi National Park, halfway between Rome and Naples, set against the magnificant Apennine mountains. Enjoy!!!! and tell them Dhira said, "Aloha".
Waimanalo, HI USA Thu 06/19/2008
Italy Farm Stay
My husband and I visited Italy Farm Stay recently and I am at a loss as to what others found appealing about this place. When we arrived there were several young people that were working on the farm in exchange for room and board. Which was fine, but the feeling from this place was more of a youth hostel than a vacation spot. We stayed in room #1 and the a/c didn't work. I don't know, maybe it was an off time for Antonello, maybe we just didn't get it. What it felt like was staying at someone's farm in Tijuana. I have stayed at many working farms and this was something different. I hate to be the voice of dissent, I just wanted to post something because I had gone to this farm based on what everyone is saying in this forum. It's just not for everyone I guess.
Vancouver, WA USA Wed 06/18/2008
Farm Stay Extraordinaire!!!
This place is magical!!! Immediately, upon arrival, one has the feeling of stepping back in time. I was scheduled to leave after two days but found the hospitality and peaceful mountain farm setting irresistible. Antonello and his family go above and beyond the call of graciousness and helpfulness. Yesterday two traveling musicians showed up and sang songs while playing an accordion and some kind of small rustic horn. It was as traditional as could be....we drank expresso which our delightful hostess, Maria, brought out to us and we swapped stories. Later, with Antenellos encouragement and support we rode the donkeys with peels of laughter and in the evening he helped us cook fish on an open bon fire. And, did I mention the fragrant flowers and smell of fresh herbs that inundate the nostrils at every turn. This is truly a summer retreat full of adventure or simply pure relaxation. Either way, whether an invigorating walk to the nearby castle or basking in the sunny fresh mountain air... I found this oasis to be Molto Bene!!! Worth every penny! I will definitely return! Molto Grazie Antonello, Maria and Guiseppe!!!!
Waimanalo, Hawaii USA Wed 06/18/2008
Agriturismo Le Macchie, Tuscany
We just got home from a fabulous holiday at Le Macchie in Tuscany and really want to spread the word about this fantastic place. Situated in the middle of the Val D'Orcia area, it was the perfect base for visiting Montepulciano, Montalcino and Pienza. The wine and food in this area was amazing and everyone at Le Macchie was so helpful and kind, I really can't recommend it enough. It was our first time to Tuscany and now I can't wait to go back. I have never felt so relaxed as sitting outside our cottage, looking out over the fabulous scenery and drining a glass of Brunello-heaven!!!!
Nigel and Susan
Nottingham, England Mon 06/16/2008
Levanto, Gateway to the Cinque Terre
After reading previous posts, we decided to stay at L'Erba Persa in Levanto, Italy while visiting the Cinque Terre in late May. This agriturismo is modest, but clean and relaxing. Grazia and Claudio, the owners, are so helpful and invigorating, and epitomize la dolce vita. They told us of a typical Ligurian restaurant in Levanto called Due Luna. We tried it one evening and it was delicious. We especially enjoyed the mussels with red sauce, the tiramisu and the chocolate gelato with chunks of chocolate folded in. It was very reasonably priced for the quality, which was apparent as the restaurant was packed and we were the only tourists. The boat trip from Levanto to Portovenere, or any of the Cinque Terre towns is wonderful on a sunny day.
Tomball, TX USA Mon 06/16/2008
The best place in ALL of TUSCANY to my wife and I is TENUTA DI STICCIANO! This agriturismo is unbelievable. It is perfectly manicured and beautiful. It is nestled in the Chianti hills between Certaldo and San Gimignano! Just beautiful! The rooms are perfect with whirlpool bathtubs, and extravagant furniture! It is also affordable comparatively speaking. It ranges from €100 - €130, not to bad considering you are in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It has has very very good wine. Chiant, and Tuscan specials!!
Rosella is the incrediably nice lady who runs it, and she speaks great english (everyone who works there does)!
Josh and Sara
Peoria, IL USA Sun 06/15/2008
In May 2008 we spent a wonderful time at Agriturismo Marciano (www.agriturismomarciano.it), in Siena, Tuscany. The Agriturismo was quiet, serene, peaceful and charming. We felt in love with the place at the moment we arrived. Our room was spacious, bright and beautifully decorated. In their lovely kitchen they served breakfast with freshly made coffee, tea, tuscan bread, tostadas, marmalades, yogurt, fruit juice and cereals. Nadia,Maggie,Christian and Renato were really kind and helpful for all the informations about our trip in Chianti Area. They all spoke English. Christian gave us a wonderful wine-tour (Vineyard and Cellar) and an interesting wine tasting of their organic wines. Also the tuscan dinner was excellent. In conclusion, we really enjoyed our stay, and would definitely stay here again.
Jako & Sonya G.
Roselle, IL USA Wed 06/11/2008
Italy Farm Stay
I don't recommend starting a trip here in Sora...because you may never want to leave. My sister and I flew into Rome, got robbed within the first 20 minutes of being in Italy, and then took the first train out to Sora, to Antonello's farm, only to be greeted with homemade wine, bread, olive oil, and a couch by the fire. We only had two nights booked, but stayed four, and wished we could have stayed longer. I compared everywhere we went to our time on the farm, and nowhere measured up.
Other people have given many great details, so please read other reviews for where it is, what to do, etc. I would just like to comment on relationships. Traveling is wonderful, and seeing historical sights and beautiful landscapes are memorable and worthwhile. However, natural beauty combined with authentic sharing and relationship building had the greatest impact on me. The farm is the perfect combination of an idyllic landscape and a friendly environment. Because of Antonello's own charming, amiable personality, he sets up a place where relationship building is a given. Community breakfasts and dinners were key towards achieving this. I'm sure you could enjoy the farm just as much if you didn't interact with anyone else, but why would you want to?!
My sister and I agreed - this was far and away our best experience in Italy.
Boston, ma USA Sun 06/08/2008
Tuscany at the Etruscan Riviera
Dolce Toscana, in the ancient town of Montescudaio (15 min. west of Cecina), was the perfect choice for both my 28 year old son and me on holiday. Sylvia was always available to help us plan, phone one of the local (wonderful) restaurants, arrange wine tasting at a nearby fattoria, or just to chat. Sylvia's 18th century sunflower-colored Tuscan home and 300 olive trees are surrounded by vineyards and farms. The terrace of our newly renovated 2 bedroom/2 bathroom/kitchenette-dining area apartment overlooked the vines and the Cecina River Valley. It's a short drive to sandy beaches , and only 30 min. away is a spectactular Mediterranian beach at Baratti, with its huge umbrella pines. Montescuadaio is the beginning of La Strada del Vino which leads to Bolgheri and the exclusive Super Tuscan, Sassiciai. From the breath-taking view of the sea and surrounding hills from the piazzale at Castagneto Carducci, to the ancient Etruscan ruins and march of history through Voltera, this exquisite corner of Tuscany is one you can savor like a glass of good wine from the terrace of Dolce Toscana. Please email if you have any questions. The website is http://www.dolce-toscana.com/
Fairfax, VA USA Sat 06/07/2008
Stay at La Crociona
In May we stayed for a week at La Crociona outside Montalcino, which we found here on Rick's graffiti wall. My husband and I shared apartment A with my sister and her husband; it was spacious and perfectly suited our needs. We enjoyed shopping at the Coop supermarket in town and cooking our own Italian meals. We also visited the restaurant next door and thoroughly enjoyed that experience. La Crociona was the perfect Tuscan experience we were looking for, complete with vineyards to wander, cellar to visit and delicious wines to taste. Roberto and Fiorella were so kind and welcoming, and Paolo was there to let us in when we straggled in at 10 pm (after getting lost driving all over Italy). We loved this family and felt we got the real Italian welcome we were hoping for. Montalcino was a wonderful little village, with just the right amount of shopping, more than enough enotecas, and a magnificent bartender at the Cafe la Fortezza, who fed us loads of food at 11 pm when we were starving (he was our local hero). We absolutely reccomend this location to everyone! Do keep in mind that these apartments are self-catering, which allows you to have privacy, and they are not for those who want fancy hotel rooms and room service. For the price, you can't beat the cleanliness and charm.
Lawton, OK USA Thu 06/05/2008
Umbria B&B- El Marsam
In May 2008), we spent 2 delightful nights at El Marsam B&B, a perfect place to wind down and savor the sights and tastes of Umbria. El Marsam is a 400-year-old farmhouse, on a hill overlooking the green hills around the small town of Umbertide. The rooms are comfortable as well as beautifully decorated, and the breakfast (and dinner, which can be arranged by reservation) are leisurely and delicious, focusing on fresh ingredients and local cuisine. Umbertide is within easy driving distance of places of interest to tourists (less than an hour's drive north of Assisi and 30 to 40 minutes west of Gubbio for example), and El Marsam's location—in the midst of vineyards and olive orchards—is peaceful and relaxing. Our room had a lovely bathroom with frescoes and sculptures evoking an atmosphere of ancient Roman baths. During our stay we particularly enjoyed conversations with our delightful hosts, Ginda and Mike Simpson. Since we do not speak Italian, we had found limited opportunity during our trip for conversation with local residents. Our leisurely meals at El Marsam included stimulating discussions, and the Simpsons shared some insights gained from their experience as Americans living in Italy. On the practical side, they also had a good store of information (and printouts) for visiting places of interest in the area, as well as driving directions. The gracious, friendly ambiance at El Marsam was exceptional. We hope to return for a longer stay, and highly recommend it.
Seattle, WA USA Wed 06/04/2008
La Crociona, near Montalcino in Tuscany
In May 2008 we spent a week at La Crociona Agriturisma near Montalcino, Tuscany. It was a perfect location—in the peaceful countryside, with views of rolling hills covered with vineyards and olive orchards. The cluster of stone farm buildings, restored and remodeled into several individual apartments, surrounds lovely patios shaded by trees and climbing roses, as well as a cabana with a luxurious hot tub. Our hosts offered a tasting of their wines, both Brunello and Rosso, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We also found their olive oil to be excellent. The host family couldn't have been more helpful and friendly. In fact, the setting and the people at La Crociona were so pleasant, we were tempted to stay put and enjoy just being there. However, there were good walking paths beckoning, and many places to explore nearby. Just minutes away is the walled town of Montalcino, where we could buy groceries, enjoy winetasting, and enjoy local specialties at cafes and restaurants. We also took day trips to the Abbeys of Sant'Antimo and Mont Oliveto Maggiore, Siena, and small towns such as San Angelo en Colle, San Quirico, Montepulciano, and Pienza. We had a wonderful time, and would recommend La Crociona to anyone planning to visit the area around Montalcino. Their website is http://www.lacrociona.com
Seattle, WA USA Tue 06/03/2008
Villa near Siena
Recently, my husband and I stayed at an argiturismo just outside of Siena, called Montestigliano. This facility was just wonderful.It's location was very central and the views from there were spectacular. The staff (especially Susan) were awesome...very helpful. We wouldn't hesitate to stay here again, or recommend it to anyone else.
Aldergrove, BC Canada Sun 06/01/2008
Our stay at Tasty Tuscany near Pisa was more than four days of learning about and how to cook authentic regional Italian cuisine. The proprietors, Pat and Paolo, treated us like family and went out of their way to accommodate our needs. Some of the best times were sitting around the dinner table eating fabulous food, drinking locally produced chianti and absorbing Pat and Paolo's stories and lessons of cooking, Tuscan history and how to live life more fully. The accommodations at their hilltop b&b/cooking school were wonderful, the setting breathtaking, the opportunities for non-cooks many. Paolo's warm, personal touch as tour guide to nearby villages or other attractions brought Tuscany alive like no formal tour could match. Pat's gentle, funny, maternal nature helped make this, our first trip to Italy, an unforgettable experience. Her style of teaching -- whether the lesson is cooking healthfully or her philosophy on living a good life -- is refreshingly informal, much like the quiet learning lucky people experience at their mother's knee or apron strings. Tasty Tuscany is a beautiful place to learn, explore, eat and drink well -- and to relax and recharge your enthusiasm for life.
Bob and Pennie
Gainesville, Fla USA Fri 05/16/2008
My family and I loved Agriturismo Poggiacolle (www.poggiacolle.com ). Located in the hills of Tuscany -- just outside of San Gimignano, Stefano and his family make weary travels rejuvenate. It's a great value with breakfast, a well-equipped kitchen, and, in season, a pool overlooking vineyards, olive trees, and medival structures.
My dad is a farmer and enjoyed the opportunity to chat with his foreign colleagues!
Washington, DC USA Thu 05/15/2008
My boyfriend and I stayed at Italyfarmstay up in the Abruzzi mountains. We enjoyed every minute of it. We went horseback riding, ate very good food for a cheap price, and met good friends whom we still keep in contact with after just meeting them for two days. It's a very relaxing place to go where everything is not so fast. I highly recommend this farmhouse if you're looking to meet good friendly people and a relaxing weekend. Thanks Antonello and family for the weekend fun. We'll definitely come back.
Hawaii USA Mon 05/12/2008
The Wonderful Adriatic Coast
We're from Texas-New Mexico. We've been to Venice and Trieste several times but we had always wanted to and had never seen anymore of the Adriatic coast. Rick doesn't have any places to recommend on that side of Italy (except Venice).
So I found my own spot.
The place I found is an Agriturismo and we stayed there recently. http://www.agriturismo.net/offers_eng.html?PR=G07&gclid=CPfgvcLfkpMCFQurPAodShoKEQ) http://en.agriturismo.it/
I can't remember anyplace that I have ever stayed that I could more highly recommend. The family who owns it understands about the pitiful condition of our dollar and gave us a good break.
It's a beautifully restored, ancient farmhouse near the medieval town of Monte San Vito in the province of Ancona.
The house was restored with great attention to detail and much effort to preserve the original historical and traditional architectural features as well as discrete installation of all modern technology to insure comfortable and safe living in all seasons………..plenty of hot water under good pressure………..my wife and I are both shower nuts.
The family who owns it is exceptionally hospitable and attentive as well as very friendly and charming without, in any way, imposing. They were more personally helpful than any five star hotel in my experience.
I took a lot of pictures and would be glad to send them to anyone who is interested.
Dallas-Albuquerque, TX-NM USA Wed 05/07/2008
http://maps.google.com/maps?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GFRC,GFRC:2007-04,GFRC:en&q=Ancona+AN,+Italy&um=1&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&resnum=1&ct=title http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancona http://www.pbase.com/bharkins/ancona
The house was restored with great attention to detail and much effort to preserve the original historical and traditional architectural features as well as discrete installation of all modern technology to insure comfortable and safe living in all seasons………..plenty of hot water under good pressure………..my wife and I are both shower nuts.
The family who owns it is exceptionally hospitable and attentive as well as very friendly and charming without, in any way, imposing. They were more personally helpful than any five star hotel in my experience.
I took a lot of pictures and would be glad to send them to anyone who is interested.
Hard time deciding which agriturismo in which town to stay in? We randomly selected a little place called PIOMBAIA in Montalcino. Can't begin to explain how wonderful the experience was. I tear up even thinking about it a year later. The family was so generous and sweet. Mom, dad, son, grandma. We even made friends with Perla the dog! I have vowed to return before Lida the grandmother (their winery is named after her) is too old. piombaia.it or +39 0577/847197
Montalcino is a perfect Tuscan gem. Smaller and much less touristy than Montepulciano. As a matter of fact we saw only two other tourists during our entire three day June stay. Lovely little fortress to explore. Great wine shops, convenient grocery store. Unbelievable views. Great walking.
Atlanta, GA USA Wed 04/30/2008
Il Poggiolo in Florence
In March 2008, 3 sisters, myself included stayed in Il Poggiolo, just outside Florence. Location couldn't have been more perfect, host was perfect, apartment was perfect. Bus came right out front, easy to navigate to Florence, AND in the Tuscan countryside. One Tip on Booking Here-You will get the best rate by booking with Graziella direct. Web site is http://www.il-poggiolo.it or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monticello, AR USA Tue 04/29/2008
Having just returned from Tuscany I can recommend two fine places to stay: La Falconara, mentioned numerous times on this board, deserves all its compliments. Alex, the owner, is a wonderful authority on the area and is invaluable deciding on each day's itinerary. With advance notice he can be prevailed upon to prepare Tuscan food for his guests. He is not only a good cook, but if there is room in the kitchen you can visit with him while he cooks and get a cooking lesson as well! See www.lafalconara.it.
I also stayed at a B&B in Anghiari which I can recommend (www.tuscanbliss.com). Two homes from the middle ages have been combined and restored only recently into a comfortable, well-furnished home with two bedrooms for guests. The B&B sits just outside the old city walls of Anghiari. This is a district (NE of Arezzo and in the Tuscan Appenines) well-suited for nature walks.
Berkeley, CA USA Mon 04/28/2008
Agriturismo Cretaiole - Spirit of Toscana
We spent two weeks in April at Cretaiole and were charmed by its beautiful location and fantastic owners / hosts. Between Pienza and San Quirico d'Orcia, Cretaiole provides great views of the picturesque countryside from a well-maintained 14th century (I think) Tuscan farmhouse. The Val d'Orcia is an amazing area within Toscana, and we were privileged to get to know the place and the people a little better during our stay there, thanks in large part to our hostess, Isabella, and the rest of her family.
The Moricciani family go out of their way to make their guests feel welcome and to give them a little taste of what it means to BE in Toscana. Isabella, in particular, did much to make our stay comfortable and memorable - helping us to experience a little of their life through activities and tours that capture the spirit of the area: a visit to a local, organic farm; tour of a small winery near Montalcino; a guided tour in Siena; a pici-making class at Cretaiole. The highlight of both weeks was a meal with all the guests and as many of the Moriccianis as could make it - fresh pici, grilled meats, cheese, wine, vin santo as well as dolci. Everyone contributed.
Cretaiole is a wonderful value - a great location with lots to see and do nearby. Siena and Firenze are both within easy reach for day-trips, if you want to do that. We spent one night away in Firenze during our two week stay. We recommend Agriturismo Cretaiole wholeheartedly and are planning to visit again in 2009.
Palm Bay, FL USA Mon 04/28/2008
Farm Stay close to Rome
Stayed at Italy Farm Stay recently while travelling through Italy.It's a self sustaining, organic, family run farm right at the edge of Abruzzo National park (between Rome and Naples). It was a beautiful and much need break from the big city bustle and sight seeing. Went horseback riding in the park, visited a local shepherd and cheese maker, and ate some wonderfuly simple and delicious Italian fare, grown, raised and prepared right on the farm! For me that was the best part. Really seeing and understanding where our food comes from was such an important and unique experience for me. Definately worth the stop! this is their website: www.italyfarmstay.com
Windsor, ON Canada Fri 04/25/2008
Casa Portagiolia is the best Bed and Breakfast ever! Casa is located in a breath taking Valley di Chio of Italy near Cortona, Castiglion Fiorentino and not far from Florence. It is surrounded by mountains all around and owned by Terry and Marcello. The property is immaculate with olives groves, a well manicured yard with gorgeous flowers and a very inviting swimming pool area. The rooms are exquisitely equipped with the best of everything, including the beds and linens.
The breakfasts aren't like any we have had any where. They serve trays of fresh fruits, fresh squeezed orange juice, freshly baked croissants, eggs to order and the best hot chocolate! Twice a week Marcello cooks a very memorable Tuscan meal!
Terry is available to help you with planning while visiting. Whether touring the hill towns, vineyards, or art museums he is willing to assist, with directions or reservations.
I could go on and on about Casa Portagioia as love and are excited to return for the 3rd time this Fall. The web site is www.tuscanbreaks.com.
April 22, 2008
Lincoln, NE USA Tue 04/22/2008
My wife and I stayed one night at La Crociona, a Brunello wine estate outside of Montalcino in mid-March 2008. Barbara and Roberto were wonderful, kind, helpful and friendly. We arrived somewhat later than planned and well after dark. However, with Rick Steve's directions we had no problem finding La Crociona. After some slight confusion due to our late arrival we were shown to a very nice one bedroom apartment with a kitchen and they directed us to a restaurant within a few hundred yards where we had a fine meal. The rooms were very clean and spacious. The bathroom was a comfortable size. We paid 70 euros for the night plus heating gas -- which turned out to be less than 5 euros.
The highlight of the stay was the time we spent with Barbara and Roberto in the morning. Roberto gave us a wonderful tour of the winery and the wine cellars (we're from the Finger Lakes area of NY so we had some prior knowledge of what we were seeing). We then spent an hour or two with Barbara and Roberto tasting wine (of course Brunello is a real treat) and talking about traveling in Italy, the Finger Lakes, wine making, farming, etc. (We had driven from Lucca the day before and Barbara had suggested an itinerary via e-mail which we followed to a significant degree.) In all we had a wonderful time. We would definitely stay here again and hope to see Barbara and Roberto.
Trumansburg, NY USA Sun 04/20/2008
We stayed at Il Cretaiole this April and thought it was magically beautiful. The light, the flowers, the views of the olive trees and rolling hills to Pienza were just like a dream. Isabella is a warm and welcoming hostess who enjoys sharing her love of this beautiful part of the world to her guests. Her husband Carlo gave us fresh eggs from his chickens for breakfast and discussed local wine philosophy with us. Her father in law, Luciano, bade us farewell on our last night with his own grappa and vin santo. We were welcomed with wine and olive oil from the family farm, with a great book full of recommendations for local sights and restaurants, and a garden to pick fresh greens from, for our salads. The building is classic Tuscan stone, we had a nice kitchen in a large wood cabinet, a big sunny bathroom. The courtyard is full of flowers, the birds sing, the pheasants call, the sun sets over the olive trees. You fall asleep to a crackling fire after a meal of handmade pasta Isabella taught you how to make. We rented a tandem bike and rode right from the inn to untouched medieval hilltop towns. We soaked in nearby hot springs. The other people we met there, from old to young, were wonderfully happy and interesting. This was a fantastic place to stay.
Scotia, NY USA Thu 04/17/2008
Agriturismo Cretaiole in Tuscany
Just returned from our second trip to Agriturismo Cretaiole near Pienza in Tuscany and am pleased to report that it was just as magical as last year's visit (please see last year's posting). The only difference was that Isabella Moricciani, the spitfire who brings it all together at Cretaiole, had just had a little bambino, Filippo, four weeks prior. Nevertheless, Isabella was intent on providing us with her famed pici (pasta) making class, as usual the highlight of our visit.
She also set up a wonderful three-hour guided tour for us in Siena (included in the price of the room) and booked our reservation to the Accademia in Florence. For others, she called around until she found a winery offering tours depsite the Verona wine festival that shut down most wineries for the week. Her restaurant recommendations in Pienza and nearby San Quirico d'Orcia were right on the money. You will not find a more picturesque region of Tuscany than Val d'Orcia, nor a better vantage point than Cretaiole. Please, if you want to truly experience the Tuscan lifestyle with the warmest hosts imaginable....stay at Creatiole (book early)!
Fredericksburg, VA USA Thu 04/10/2008
Wonderful Farm Near Florence
We stayed at a wonderful farmhouse just outside of Florence - www.il-poggiolo.it/index_en.html. Graziella picked us up at the train station when we arrived and made sure we had all of the information that we needed for our activities each day. It was so peaceful and beautiful and her animals were so friendly and sweet - my kids were in heaven. In most cases, if you can book directly with the owners rather than going through the agency, you will get a much better price. We booked directly through her and received a great deal - so be sure to contact her directly.
Seattle, WA USA Wed 04/09/2008
Italy Farm Stay near Rome and Naples
Our family of 5 (3 girls, 7, 5 and nearly 3) stayed for 5 mostly-rainy days at Antonello's Italyfarmstay.com. I gather from reading posts that some agriturismos are not kid-friendly. That is not the case here. My kids were gleefully riding ponies, holding baby goats and petting dogs within minutes of our arrival. This family farm is set up above the Liri River valley. The views, whether down into the valley over the town of Sora or up above to the village perched above and the Appenine peaks beyond are very good. You can either relax to these views in one of the hammocks, or get out and do some hiking, horse back riding, or bicycling. Sora is not at all a tourist town, which for me is a high compliment. Instead, it retains the incredible charm of a town where people live lives that doesn't include selling cheap snow globes and other tschotschkes to tourists. Market day on Thursday is not to be missed and takes over the entire town. The Liri river runs right through the town and a castle on a hill/mtn above the town, clearly seen from the farm, will mock you until you make the climb up for a visit. A 50 km drive to the south brings you to the towns of Cassino and San Pietro Infine, scenes of some of the most brutal fighting of WWII, which is still poignantly evident and worth a day trip (see Rick Atkinson's recent "The Day of Battle.")
Antonello is a wonderful host and has an easy, relaxed demeanor with a sense of humor that is pitch-perfect for the task. Giuseppe, his father, is always around helping out. He speaks no English, but he and I bonded tightly over the local history. Giuseppe's wife, Maria, rules the kitchen (including the brand new commercial kitchen just added next to the house) and will feed you simple but good and filling meals each night for the bargain price of 9 Euro per person, if you desire. Wash it down with as much of Giuseppe's wine as you care to imbibe.
Downsides? Hmmm. Our room was a bit cold, but then so was the weather and the facility is better presented in warmer weather. What we missed in sunshine was more than made up by the hospitality and new friendships, both from Antonello's family and the other guests. If you are looking for a pampered experience, or the cachet of Tuscany or Umbria, this may not be the place. But if you want a glimpse into the authentic lives and personalities of Appenine Italians and to see spectacular scenery (and an area that Rick for some reason doesn't cover in his books, then book here. www.italyfarmstay.com.
Oh, one more thing for those with kids: There are usually a few backpackers staying on as volunteer workers in exchange for room and board. We found these people to be willing and excellent baby sitters, which allowed my wife and I a chance to walk at a normal pace and engage the world without the kids for a few hours. Priceless.
Seattle, WA USA Tue 04/01/2008
Corte Castelletto near Verona
Corte Castelletto in Nogorola Rocca (about 8km south of Verona) was wonderful! Excellent breakfast (included) and the front desk staff was superb. They helped my friend figure out how to get her cell phone to work and one, Marcello, kept us entertained the afternoon after I recovered from a migraine and gave us excellent directions to Cittadella in Verona (parking garage there is a nightmare if you have a mid-size or bigger car). The rooms are spacious and clean and non-smoking rooms are available. They also grow olives and produce their own olive oil. It is a former chapter house for a monastery which adds to the character. Very convenient to the autostrada, but not for folks travelling by train. We made it our home base for the first 5 days of our trip as it is convenient to Verona, Brescia and Mantova
Taylor, TX USA Fri 03/21/2008
My wife and I just spent five of the best days in Montepulciano staying with Alex and Ingrid at La Falconara. I contacted them after reading a previous post on this forum. I cannot begin put into words what a wonderful place Alex has. His breadth of knowledge not only of Italy and the area, but of the world is incredable. It was our first time driving in Europe, and thanks to Alex's directions we did not get lost once. The property is beautiful and peaceful and quiet. We were his first guests of the season so we had the entire place to ourselves. The apartment we stayed in was just perfect. Typical Tuscany. Just perfect. The weather was a little cool with some rain, but it was March so we were expecting it. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and I saw it in the off season! I can't wait to go back when the weather is good! We cannot say enough good things about La Falconara. It is the perfect place. Alex and Ingrid will make you feel so welcome, you will feel like you are coming home. We loved every second and cannot wait to return. www.lafalconara.it
St Louis , MO USA Wed 03/19/2008
We stayed at Poggiacolle in San Gimignano for the second time in one year because we loved it and had to come back ASAP! Stefano was so hospitable! The Farmhouse is clean and neatly decorated and just minutes from the hill town of San Gimignano. We had access to a kitchen and fireplace and each room has it's own bathroom. They offer a wonderful breakfast with your stay if you desire. Stefano arranged for us to have a cooking class and gave us lots of direction as to what to do while in the area. The area is so beautiful and the views from all the windows is breathtaking! I recommend everyone stay at Poggiacolle while in Tuscany!
Murrieta, Ca USA Wed 03/19/2008
Tenuta San Carlo
We spent two weeks last fall at Tenuta San Carlo and were delighted by the experience. The per day cost was much less than a hotel with similar amenities. We were a short bike ride through a forest of umbrella pines to the beach, one km from Principina del Mare and just 13 kms from Castiglione della Pescaia, a terrific, beautiful port town. Grosseto is a large nearby city, but driving there is an ordeal, not only because of the driving style of the locals but because there are virtually no street signs. By the time we left I knew my way around but only because of trial and error. I learned to drive in the local style, I left no space between my car and the others on the road and still ran over no pedestrians. Every day we drove to a Tuscan town and returned to "the ranch". We had an apartment with a small kitchen so I was able to go to the market in Castiglione della Pescaia or Grosseto and then cook meals while looking across fields or forests. TSC is owned by an American family but for most of the time we dealt with Titziano, the farm manager, who spoke little English. We were able to communicate adequately with Titziano, and the horses were fluent in apple and carrot. There is a pig there with a great personality. (I have beau coup photos if anyone is interested.)
Cedar Creek , TX USA Fri 03/14/2008
Italy Farm Stay
I recently visited a wonderful bed and breakfast just outside of Sora Italy. This was a charming little place run by a guy named Antinello who has big dreams and wants to share some of the beauty from the town he grew up in. It is located close to Sora and on the edge of Abruzzi National Park.
He has many activities for guest to do on their stay such as an over night hike up Crow Mountian, shorter day hikes through amazing geological formations, cooking classes (making fresh pasta), yoga and visits to a real cheese making shepherd. To check out this place go to Italyfarmstay.com.
Jupiter, FL USA Wed 03/05/2008
a wonderful stay at Agriturismo Marciano, Siena
We recently came back from a wonderful stay at Agriturismo Marciano, just outside the ancient wall of the old center of Siena . The room we stayed in was comfortable,clean, recently renovated and with a beautiful sight on the Gothic- Romanic Duomo of Siena . The location was an ancient mansion (WVIII century), just a pleasant 30 minute walk to the old center of Siena. Our hosts, Christian and Nadia, were very welcoming and very helpful with answering our questions about getting around the area or restaurant suggestions. Their website is www.agriturismomarciano.it Marciano was the highlight of our tour. A great experience for and very reasonably priced!
NY USA Sun 02/17/2008
Tenuta San Carlo
My friends and I recently visited Tenuta San Carlo (outside of Grosseto), where over a weekend we managed to ride horses through a rustic forest, along an idyllic beach, and drink wine in the grass while reading the local literature. A change of pace from the typical high-maintenance ranch, we enjoyed the independence and self-reliance Tenuta San Carlo afforded us. You should visit us here, since I will try and return regularly.
Chicago, IL USA Thu 02/14/2008
My husband and I stayed a week at the lovely Agriturismo Frallarenza as a part of our Italian honeymoon and consider our visit there to be one of the major highlights of an incredible trip. We stayed in the small apartment, which actually felt rather spacious for two people and included a nice kitchen to prepare meals and enjoy the bounty of Italian food and wine that we sampled.
The proprietors, Francesco and Serena, were wonderfully generous with their time and always willing to give us tips on where to go in the surrounding areas. Serena is a gifted artist, whose ceramics (cups, bowls, tiles, even the sink!) grace both apartments and are available for sale. Also, we were lucky to be staying at the farm during the annual olive harvest and got the chance to pick olives with the family. My husband and I highly recommend Agriturismo Frallarenza and hope to return there ourselves one day.
Oakland,, CA USA Mon 01/28/2008
Cretaiole - the Heart of Tuscany
My week at Cretaiole, in the Toscana (Tuscany) region, near Pienza was one of the most magical weeks I've ever had. You see a place on tv, and you read about it in books, but until you really get there, and see the sites, eat the food, smell the smells, and meet the people, you don't really know what the area is about. I had done all the research before going to Italy. Now, having gone, I know I picked the best place in all of, not only in Tuscany, but in the Val D'Orcia region, in choosing Cretaiole.
Agriturismo Cretaiole, though it was the first agriturismo in the region, is not nearly as well known as some of the others. It's a beautiful old farm house, perched on a hill and nestled by olive trees, and cedars. If you stop to look out the back, you will have some of the most marvelous views of mountains and fields. Isabella and her family, Carlo, Luciano, and Lilliana, have created a warm, welcoming venue, and the apartments are marvelous. You will arrive and immediately feel like you are part of an extended family. At no time will you ever feel like a guest who has stayed too long, or that you are bothersome. And Isabella stops by daily to check on you and helps you with your plans for the day.
Cretaiole is a fantastic location to relax and sit outside and read, or nap, either in your room, in the hammock, or on very comfortable lawn furniture. Or, you can do as I did, and travel to many wonderful, rustic and interesting (and some a bit spooky) towns, mostly less than an hours drive. Isabella has created a several hundred page travel guide with a copy for each room. It has descriptions of all the local towns, their history, interesting things to see, and fantastic places to eat. To take it one step further...they have created day trip itineraries solely for your use. You are not only allowed, but encouraged to take the books with you. Just choose one of the itineraries, follow the detailed directions and you'll find yourself whisked away to old, authentic Italy. Places that haven't been changed in hundreds of years, where the people still work the land and celebrate life the same way their parents and grand parents did. Then there are the times to put away the maps and itineraries, and explore. The region around the Val D'Orcia is filled with gravel roads. Where do they go? I don't know, and you won't know till you take one, but take one. Driving down a gravel road, dust flying behind you, wondering who and what you will find at the next turn is a fabulous adventure. I did it several times and happened upon people and small hamlets that aren't on any map, but held such charm and beauty it was well worth the chancing.
Isabella and Carlo have also setup a list of possible event where you can learn and do things without having to travel far outside of Cretaiole at all. There is the Uccelliera Vineyard in Castlenuovo Dell'Abate to visit (fantastic Nobile and Brunello - never had them before, Brunello is now my favorite wine). The local olive press where you can view, learn and taste how fresh olive oil is made (and how different fresh is from what we get in the U.S). There is much more, one of my favorites is the Hermitage tour. This is on land the Moricciani own. Isabella will walk you through the tour and explain the Etruscan history and religious symbolisms of the place. Additionally, there is the weekly pici class, where you are instructed on how to make pici, a regional dish done only in the Val D'Orcia, is something that should not be missed. You will learn the history of pici during the class – which is fantastically fun, and you will finish with a gastronomic delight of pici, sausages, bread, wine, cheeses, fruit, grappa, vin santo. It's a time where everyone gets together for a feast and sharing of stories, friendship, laughter, and food, a perfect end to your time at Cretaiole.
During all of these adventures, whether driving someplace, or taking part of the pici making class, you will start to realize the wonder of the land and it's people. I was in awe, not only of the land, the activities, the food, the countryside and they cities, but even more by the passion Isabella, Carlos, Luciano, and Lilliana have towards Cretaiole and the Val D'Orcia.
When it was time to leave, I had some tears in my eyes. These people poured out their love and passions freely to me. I felt like I was leaving a very dear friend I might not see again for a while. But as sad as that was, I knew I was better. My heart, mind, and soul where all refreshed and lightened beyond what I ever imagined a vacation could do. And my outlook on the world and my own life was changed forever.
I'm not sure exactly what Val D'Orcia means in English and it's not important, but I think it should translate to Valley of Life. I believe, Agriturismo Cretaiole and the Val D'Orcia and all the people there, are truly the heart of Italy, not the tourist heart, but the real heartbeat, the hands in the dirt, raising families, loving each other, and loving their friends, real live heartbeat of Italy. And while you are there...you will get caught up in that heartbeat and never want to leave.
But, once you are gone, all you'll have to do is just close your eyes, and breathe and think back and you'll feel your heart beating in time with Val D'Orcia and find yourself transported back to Cretaiole and suddenly you'll feel a warmness in your chest and a wide smile on your face. Agriturismo Cretaiole and the Val D'Orcia, they are a place and a people you won't forget and will want to see many times more.
Tulsa, Ok USA Tue 01/15/2008
Italy Farm Stay --Pescosolido
I recently redocumented my trip to Italy Farm Stay for the Online portion of Good magazine, in a user submitted section. I wanted to share this with everyone! I travelled to the Farm stay back in 2006, but the experience was truly memorable! http://www.goodmagazine.com/section/Projects/project_007_italian_cheese_making
Boston, MA USA Sat 01/12/2008