written by M.E. Evans March 3, 2016


Years ago one of my good friends and I rented a car and drove from Florence south towards Salento, Naples, and Capri. I’d just started dating Francesco at the time so we stopped on the way to have lunch with him in an agriturismo in Cassino. I met his best friend, Fusco, who seemed concerned about the hunting knife in my purse (mostly for cutting canvas cause art student, but also because rapists…chop chop), and also worried about my mental stability when I kept referring to a donkey as a “tiny horse.” I get it, my sense of humor takes some getting used to (but seriously, it’s basically a little fuzzy horse with derpy teeth). The agriturismo where we had lunch was surrounded by a garden and a small farm. Where, apparently, all of our food came from which was fine for me because I ordered a vegetarian meal. Yay, pasta. As a parting gift Francesco sent me off on my weekend vacation with a vat of local honey and an entire wheel of some kind of hard cheese. An. Entire. Wheel. It was sweet and also the single weirdest thing a guy has ever gifted me. “Enjoy your trip. Here’s a block of cheese.” Ever since, I’ve been in love with these charming little places. 

Farm to table isn’t incredibly uncommon in Italy which is awesome because the produce you get is fresh, ripened on the vine, full of vitamins, and tastes like delicious bursts of orgasmic awesome in your mouth. Plus, it’s better for the environment, the culture, and Italy’s economy. Eco-travel, baby, and I’ve been all about it lately. Why? Well, because in a global world like ours everything is mass produced from fifty countries away, a persistent global culture (Starbucks, McDonalds, Hilton) is permeating the fabrics of every society and the places we love to visit, to explore, to enjoy because they are different, are vanishing (example, Starbucks in Italy. WTF? WHY!? You don’t need a goddamn mochacchino that bad, buddy). The best way to help places retain their amazing individuality is with conscious travel. Let’s face it, if we want to vacation in an American Italy, we can just go to New Jersey, otherwise, let’s appreciate the real, legit Italia and revel in its weird magic. 

So, how does eco-tourism work? Basically, you just travel in a more badass way than usual, a more authentic way. Instead of resorts, you experience the real country and meet actual local people who feed you local cuisine. Sounds nice, right? Totally is. Trust me, you’ll be so into it. 



In spirit of March and spring break, I give you a mini guide to eco-tourism via an agriturismo in Italy. You’ve still got time to plan a super fun, authentic vacation and stuff your gorgeous face with some farm to table freshness.



Photo: http://www.fontechiara.com/

Agriturismos are absolutely epic. They’re usually situated in places where you’ll be completely submersed in local culture, food is grown on-site (often organic, including wine, honey, and olive oil), and most are owned by families who will often make all kinds of cultural excursions or activities available to you. The architecture of these places is another bonus, they’re usually old, charming, and made out of large rocks (in a good way) and romantically rustic. It’s what most of us think of when we picture Italy. Why are they more Eco than hotels? They use less resources, food travels a closer distance (usually ten feet away), the smaller gardens are better on the soil with more sustainable farming practices, and you’re interacting more with local culture. Also? Did I mention romantic? Cause they will make your panties (or boxers) drop. Seriously, I stayed with Francesco in a farmhouse in Tuscany that had a fireplace in the room and gooood lawd. 

Places you definitely want to check out:

This monastery in Umbria on ecobnb

This gorgeous farmhouse in Marche

Hundreds of farmhouse options for every region to fit every budget on agriturismo.it

A list of even more fantastic agriturismo accommodations

Book your trip, a weekend, a week, a month, and let me know how it goes or if you have any questions, put them in the comments below! Been to a really great agriturismo in Italy? Share it below!


Rick’s Rome: Favorite Spring Destinations in Italy

Girl in Florence: http://girlinflorence.com/?p=12562

Sicily Inside & Out: An Early Easter in Sicily

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Rick March 3, 2016 at 9:36 am

I totally agree with this advice. Sure, everyone needs to “check off” Rome, Florence, and Venice on their first trip to Italy. I get it. But when you’re ready to see the other side–the slower, more authentic side–agriturismi are the best way to experience that. Ciao!

Marie Therese March 3, 2016 at 9:41 am

I haven’t been to an agriturismo yet, but it’s definitely on my to-do list here in Italy. That being said, my boyfriend and I discovered this Amazing Osteria Panta Rei in Chitignano. It’s a husband and wife team in a restaurant tucked way off the beaten path. They raise their own chickens right behind the osteria. The dinner was so incredibly good and afterwards, we stayed and talked…a common occurrence here in Italy! I love how the chefs are happy to go on and on about the food they grow and wear they get it from (even their own backyard). Looking forward to trying an agriturismo, too.

orna2013 March 3, 2016 at 10:16 am

I completely agree. Agriturismi here in Italy are fab. I’m lucky to be surrounded by them here in the Euganean Hills (near Padova and Venice) and we almost always eat in one for Sunday lunch. Absolutely the healthiest way to eat…and drink.

Wynne March 3, 2016 at 10:40 am

Bookmarked! Fab post. I spent three weeks on a Tuscan farm (in Caldana) in October via Workaway, helping with an olive harvest (not quite a vacation, but authentic nonetheless). It was awesome!

I miss your posts!

M.E. Evans March 3, 2016 at 11:04 am

That sounds wonderful Wynne!!! I know! I’m sorry, I’ve been putting every extra hour I have into finishing my book. Final edit!!! Will be done within a month and I’ll be back to blogging every other day with a fury. That’s a promise 😉

Wynne March 3, 2016 at 11:07 am

Can’t wait to read it!!

blindquietmind March 3, 2016 at 11:52 am

Brilliant! My husband and I are Going to Parma in a couple of weeks for our honeymoon and we’ll be living as much like locals as possible. Can you recommend any great restaurants or attractions? (We’re blind, so visual art is out.)

On 3/3/16, Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing

Lee March 4, 2016 at 8:31 am

I just started following this blog today! I found it on Pinterest and I’m majorly bummed that I didn’t find it sooner! I spent twenty days touring Italy last summer. I’m heading back this summer. It’s beyond gorge! Love it!! I’m a third generation Italian American. M, you’re hysterical! I love your humor/writing style. LOLOLOL!! Keep up the excellent writing! Lots of love being sent from the States!

Tony March 4, 2016 at 3:33 pm

The agriturismo I stayed at as a base near the Tuscany/Umbria border for 3 nights was the highlight of my trip to Italy, absolutely loved it!

Rochelle March 7, 2016 at 1:34 am

Yes, agriturismo is that best way to go to experience and taste Italy! Fantastic suggestion. But I’d also suggest to stick to those who are highly recommended as there are some dodgy places out there too. Just as you can get crappy B&B’s there are some bad places too. I think word of mouth and your suggestions are the best. Love you post!

GirlinFlorence March 9, 2016 at 3:22 am

LOVE this post Misty. I am a huge fan of Le Marche and discovering a more rural and authentic side to Italy. This is very helpful

Evan March 9, 2016 at 8:56 am

I’ve been following a while and was pleasantly surprised when this post popped up. My wife and I just moved back to Italy to help run our family’s agriturismo in Emilia-Romagna about an 1 1/2 from Florence. We blog about it here https://agriculturaprofetica.wordpress.com/ and also have one of our apartments listed on Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/11505853?bev_ref=1455716317_qT9YBvNn%2FrMi7kns&s=4 Thanks for giving props to our niche!

Rebekah J DeLibro March 13, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Ciao! Planning our next trip back to Italy and agriturismo is on the top of the list for sure. When we were in Italy in 2014 we had the best time just wandering and discovering these small restaurants and shops owned by wonderful families and couples. We stayed in great family owned pensiones (air bnb was not on my radar or I would have utilized it) Love your blog and sense of humor. Thanks for these great resources!

ilcanegiallo September 21, 2016 at 5:35 am

Agriturismo in Vejano, countryside near Rome!

Spring Destinations in Italy June 19, 2017 at 9:17 am

[…] Surviving in Italy […]


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