Advice on Agriturismos

Dec 11th, 2006, 08:52 AM
  #1  
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Advice on Agriturismos

I have just discovered the array of Agriturismos in Italy on the web and have a few questions for those with experience.

Are they as lovely as they seem? What caveats or warnings would you give about choosing one?

Are they generally quite remote such that exploring towns and sights in the area will be a challenge logistically?

Does anyone know of a web site that ranks them in terms of quality of amenities (ie a "star" system), price, pros/cons?

Any other comments and thoughts will be appreciated.

Thanks
RLUCIDO is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Away from the cities,we generally prefer agriturismos. Some have been great, a few okay and I can't think of any bad ones.
For me, I search here ,at Slow Travel and other similar websites.
My wife has some special "radar" when she sees an agriturismo's website. She "sees" things that I don't see.
jabez is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 09:06 AM
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Perhaps your wife could send me a little advice. I too look for very specific things in picking lodging to indicate the quality. If I listed them here, some may think I was crazy.

Thanks
RLUCIDO is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 09:29 AM
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>>Are they as lovely as they seem?<<
We've stayed in a half-dozen or so of them and enjoyed them all. However we did spend considerable time in home research prior to making a choice. We exchange e-mails with the owners - do you speak or write Italian?

>>What caveats or warnings would you give about choosing one?<< None, other than the use of common sense involving noises and privacy issues, etc.

>>Are they generally quite remote such that exploring towns and sights in the area will be a challenge logistically?<<
No - however, use location as a criterion for choosing one.

>>Does anyone know of a web site that ranks them in terms of quality of amenities (ie a "star" system), price, pros/cons?<< I don't know of a rating system as there is with the gites in France.

>>Any other comments and thoughts will be appreciated.<< Select your target area(s) and then select from amongst the available agriturismos there.
TuckH is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 09:42 AM
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Well- you need to keep in mind the towns you want to see in selecting the specific agriturismo. And keep in mind that local/rural roads in Italy can be quite slow - so don;t assume you can drive 60 miles in an hour.

For driving times from places you're considering to towns you want to see you may want to look at mappy.com or viamichelin.com.

Also - in contacting places ask about drive time to the nearest town and a couple you're interestd in seeing.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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Take a look at

http://www.agriturismo.com/englisch.htm

to find the right place. It might be helpful.
stefm is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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If you stay at an Agriturismo, do you have to check that box on the US customs form that says you've been in contact with farm animals, etc. If so, what is the consequence? Just more questions and searches?
missypie is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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>>>>
>>What caveats or warnings would you give about choosing one?
>>>>

firstly, i have stayed in many agriturismos and highly recommend it. they are mostly of very high standard.

however, i would warn that you should ask about everything rather than to assume certain things are included as you would for a hotel.

for example, if you are staying outside of the warm months, make sure there is heat. some do not have any heat and will still rent into or through october. if you don't ask, you won't know. you can be miserable in an ancient, unheated, damp, converted barn or old stone house when the nights are cold.

another 'warning' would be about the minimum stays. they are not staffed like hotels, therefore, many/most have a one week minimum, some have a 3 day minimum. you might be able to stay less days at a few (i wouldn't stay at one for less than a week anyway but i know some might want to).

as for the locations, many agriturismos are located away from villages or restaurants (but usually just a short drive). therefore, eating out and drinking wine can be a challenge. but for just exploring, i would not worry about the locations as they are usually not remote and if you want to explore surrounding villages and sites, you will be driving a lot anyway.
walkinaround is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 01:51 PM
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RLUCIDO,
I have used an agriturismo on many vacations. They are like any apartments or hotels, they vary in degree of quality.
Some are remote and some are quite close to towns or villages.
See http://www.tuscanyhouse.net/ for a listing with ratings by 'ears of corn', one to five.
Feel free to e-mail if you have questions.

Henry
Henry is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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I know that I can google this question or check the wikipedia and all the other sources of knowledge on the internet. I have traveled in Europe many plenty as regulars on the Fodors forum would know but I have never heard of agriturismos.

There are a lot of experienced travelers on Fodors and I would love to have your observations and opinions. Please tell me what is agriturismos.



hopscotch is offline  
Dec 11th, 2006, 03:41 PM
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>>>>>
Please tell me what is agriturismos.
>>>>>

staying on a working farm in italy...typically a winery and/or olive producer. owner of farm rents rooms to add another stream of income. this has been encouraged by the government as a way to boost tourism.

many are quite well appointed...pools, tennis, etc. most are flats rather than rooms (full kitchen, etc). sometimes the family will invite you to join them for dinner...even if they do not, it is often a more personal experience with a fair amount of contact with the owners.
walkinaround is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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Several of the agriturismos indicate that you can rent with 1/2 board or full board. I assumed that they were more like inns or b & b's, with several other guests on hand. Some even indicated spa services. I assume those that display more servcies and amenities are more professionally run inns than simply family homes with extra rooms?

Does anyone have comments on the food service at agriturismos. BTW, we are looking at locations in the north around Milan and the lakes.

thanks again
RLUCIDO is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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I don't think of an agriturismo as an inn or a B&B. It's primarily a farm or vineyard with an extra building or two on the property that is let out. Some have full kitchens in them so no meals are served. Some offer breakfast at the main house and some offer more than that, as you mentioned. What we like about the agriturismo concept is that we get to stay in a 'place of our own'.
TuckH is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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>>>>>
Does anyone have comments on the food service at agriturismos.
>>>>>

i have only stayed in self catering flats (no meal 'service' except for getting lucky with a dinner invitation now and again).

i agree with tuck...it's not a b&b or an inn and it feels nothing like either. these are not professional innkeepers and there is nobody hired to look after your needs.

it's hard to generalise but i have never stayed in one with daily maid service (flats were just cleaned as they were turned over between renters). i'm sure some do have daily maid service...either included or at extra cost. you need to be prepared with more uncertainties than you would expect in an inn or b&b. whilst some are very posh, you still need to remember that you are just renting a room or flat on a working farm. the ones that i have stayed at were all quite small 1-3 flats and most of the time none of the other units were rented.

a more specific warning than my last...make sure you know what is charged and what is included. if it's charged, make sure you know the costs to avoid surprises. some will charge for water, electricity, towels, bed linen, etc.
walkinaround is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 02:09 PM
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I've stayed at three agriturismos in Italy; one was only so-so; one was quite nice; and I'm returning for the fifth time in May 2007 to the third.

I travel alone and I do not drive, so I can only stay at agriturismos that are within a taxi drive of a town.

I'll only describe my experience at the one that I keep returning to. They serve a lovely (continental) breakfast; they do not normally serve lunch but have always cheerfully prepared a light lunch for me; dinner, which is prepared only for the guests of the agriturismo, ia always ample and delicious and includes wine "a volonta" (as much as you care to drink). My room has air-conditioning (at no extra cost) and a private terrace; it does not have a kitchen, but I don't want or need one. The room is cleaned every day; bed linens and towels are changed every three days.

But what really makes the difference is that the owner has often taken me to lunches and wine-tastings at his enoteca in town, and he once invited me to join him on a trip to a beautiful town about two hours away. A very cultured and well-spoken man (in Italian, English and French), he finds the time to chat with me every morning for at least half an hour. And it's not that he hasn't anything else to do: he owns a vineyard, makes his own wines, and is extremely active in the preservation of the Italian heritage.

As for practicalities, there is no obligatory Saturday-to-Saturday stay; the agriturismo accepts overnight guests as well as people like myself who prefer to stay for a longer time.
Eloise is offline  
Dec 12th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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ttt
LCBoniti is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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Well, continued thanks to all who have commented. I have to assume that the agriturismos that allow you to rent with "1/2 or full board" are prepared to feed you as billed, which sounds quite nice.

Do Italians frequent these accomodations or have you found most renters to be foreign tourists?
RLUCIDO is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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At the simpler agriturismos, most of the guests were Italian. At my favorite agriturismo, guests tend to be Italian and European (French, Swiss, Belgian) with very few guests from North America.
Eloise is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 08:06 AM
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Eloise, what is the lovely agriturismo you describe above?

RLUCIDO, I have stayed at two different ones, but neither are in the northern areas you mentioned (one in Tuscany, one in Umbria).

You have gotten some good information already. I would stress, as have others, finding out what is and is not included. I found that heat was an extra charge in one place, and whether or not it is even turned on may depend on the time of year. Also keep in mind as mentioned above that daily cleaning service is not common and is usually available for an extra fee if you want it.

I loved both places we stayed; one was more like a B&B in that you could stay for less than a week and a nice breakfast was served for a small extra charge.

The other was more self-catering, and there was a nice small pool, and bikes, guitars and internet access were available for free.

Both had great rooms, great views, helpful owners, and we were encouraged to pick and use any herbs in the garden that we needed for cooking.
annabelle2 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2006, 08:28 AM
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Annabelle2,

I'm sorry, but I really wouln't like to see the place flooded with Fodorites. It's mean, I know, but there you are. I also don't recommend restaurants, unless they are well-known, long-established places that have shown over the years that they have maintained their quality even though they receive many tourists.
Eloise is offline  

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