Can We Travel Yet?
Now some light started to appear at the end of the COVID tunnel, maybe it is the time to think about travelling again. That is what we all hope.
There is still time ahead of us, but it is nice to think about vacations and logistics, maybe an alternative type of logistics to take advantage of the many Agriturismo sites available in Italy.
There are over 20,000 agriturismi in Italy, the agriturismo farmers often keep close attention to their historic architectural foundations. Basically, it is a farm that operates in the tourism sector offering board and lodging on the premises.
That is in simple words because then we have B&Bs, Case Vacanze, and many other classifications that may confuse even us, the natives. In reality for the tourist the difference is minimal, it does change in legal terms for the operator of these facilities. But that is not our problem here.
For the tourist point of view the difference is about the location, and the facilities. Some Agriturismi may not have air conditioning or even printed english menus. Others instead offer SPAs, pools, and all sorts of good things.
The roads less traveled that surround Italian’s majestic cities and quaint towns are as much part of Italy’s ancient history. If you are looking for peace and tranquillity, no WiFi, and no cell phone, you may easily find exactly that (or with WiFi, but you may opt to resist publishing on IG every delightful meal).
What is What
Names like Cascina, Tenuta, or Masseria, can create some doubts about what exactly to expect. Below a list of words to keep in mind making reservations to an agriturismo:
Casetta: It is a small house or cottage, mostly independent.
Antica Casa: Or Casa Antica; Manor House; “Antique” often implies it has kept it’s old characteristics.
Fattoria: Homestead, or Farmhouse. It may still be in its original use, although limited. Maybe there are vineyards.
Cascina: This is also a Farmhouse; A type of agricultural settlement characteristic of Northern Italy, consisting of buildings gathered around a large courtyard, including stables and rooms for the processing of milk.
Maso: A wooden farmhouses from the 1800s in the mountainous South-Tyrol, where it can be called also “Geschlossener Hof.” A landed property (farm or house) connected with the breeding of livestock.
There are some nuances here too, see: MALGA EATS.
Masseria: Unique to Southern Italy, large old fortified farm houses constructed with thick, white walls and often with few windows to keep cool temperatures inside. In Puglia, 16th century fortified farmhouses called Masserie have majestic high-walled courtyards that once protected from intruders. Elegantly whitewashed, as white will not fade, their thick walled structures are ideal for keeping cool inside on a hot summer evening.
I wrote about it here: BETWEEN MASSERIE & OLIVE CROPS. If there is just one recommendation that I want to give, it is to go to a Masseria in Puglia. I absolutely loved it!
Azienda Agricola: A full-fledged farm. Agricola, from the Latin agricŏla, is often related to planting vegetables and working the soil. Sometimes they qualify as Organic/Bio as well.
Tenuta: It means estate, often used for old farmhouses in Tuscany (usually, but not necessarily…), where, most of the time it refers to wine production.
Podere: This also means farmhouse and is frequently in the names of wineries in Northern Italy (usually, but not necessarily…). Just like above, but a little more North than Tuscany!
Disclaimer: Not all the photos above are mine, considering the restrictions I had troubles in gathering enough data, but from the websites of real B&B/Agriturismi.