The Agriturismo Experience in Rural Italy – La Fontaccia
WHAT IS AN AGRITURISMO?
How would you like to wake up in Italy to the crowing of a rooster on a centuries-old farm? When you sit for breakfast, homemade jam is set before you, made with fruits from the trees that provide you shade as the sun rises over the Italian countryside. Eggs are prepared from the farm’s chickens, and the milk and cheese served fresh from local cows and sheep. After breakfast, how would you like to take a stroll through the farm’s very own vineyard and olive grove, followed by some rest and relaxation on a hammock overlooking an inviting nearby mountain city? During lunch, the farm’s olive oil is poured on homemade bread, and figs are dipped in honey made from the farm’s private honey production. After lunch, how would you like to embark on an excursion along an ancient Roman road to a neighboring mountain city to speak with the locals and visit churches and palaces from hundreds of years ago? Back at the farm for dinner, homemade wine is served, with fresh, typical pasta of the province, and meat from local livestock. Before bedtime, how would you like to listen to traditional music from the region, participate in local entertainment, or just meditate on your own among nature? Thanks to agricultural tourism accommodations in Italy, known as Agriturismo, it is now possible to live this experience.
Agriturismo accommodations have become increasingly popular over the past decade. The concept, dating back only 40-years, combines “agriculture” with “tourism, ” making it possible for visitors of Italy to have authentic rural experiences on an Italian farm. Some Agriturismo establishments act only as restaurants, serving food strictly produced on their property; however, for Italian Enthusiasts interested in immersing themselves in rural life, there are no shortages of Agriturismo farm-stays in Italy. Last month I had the pleasure of staying at an Agriturismo in Tuscany called Agriturismo La Fontaccia, and my experience was nothing short of spectacular.
AGRITURISMO LA FONTACCIA, RUFINA, ITALY
Agriturismo La Fontaccia is a perfect example of an Italian Agriturismo. Owned by Tuscan natives, Elisabetta and Samuele, the farm has been family-owned since 1916. Prior to that, records have been found through the Italian government suggesting that the farm was in operation since the 1400s, only later to be abandoned in the 1900s. Thanks to the passion and dedication of both Elisabetta and Samuele, a young couple in their thirties, they decided to turn their farm into an Agriturismo in 2011, sharing their piece of rural paradise with tourists from all over the world. At the time, Elisabetta just graduated with a degree in Economics, and Samuele with a degree in Architecture. Yet, they put their minds together and brought life back to their farm as it once thrived during the Renaissance period.
Aside from the farm having undergone substantial structural renovations, e.g., old barns and cow stables have been turned into apartments for guests, Elisabetta and Samuele have expanded the farming operation. The property has over 400 plants/trees, and the farm’s primary production is extra virgin olive oil. They also maintain about 50 fruit trees of various types and ancient varieties, making fresh marmalade each season. Their chickens and roosters are also so friendly, that they love to walk around the property with guests.
A WALK AROUND AGRITURISMO LA FONTACCIA
Agriturismo La Fontaccia is located in Rufina, Italy, which is the eastern part of Florence in a very little known area filled with secrets to explore. The main difference between Rufina and other more well-known areas of Tuscany is that the little village did not change for tourists – giving travelers the opportunity to see things in a more authentic light. Souvenir shops do not exist and quite possibly no one speaks English. Rufina is also very well connected to Florence, being only 30-minutes by car or 30-minutes by the local train. The location is definitely one of the best features of Agriturismo La Fontaccia.
Rufina is the capitol city of the Chianti Rufina area, and it is one of the best areas for Chianti wine as was described in the original document of Cosimo de Medici, III (Grand Duke of Tuscany) in 1716. The Rufina landscape is very beautiful, with a harmonic balance between nature and farming. There are also many walking paths and old roads in Rufina that lead to churches and castles of the middle ages.
Another strong feature of Agriturismo La Fontaccia is the ownership. Elisabetta and Samuele run the operation and live at the premises. Samuele is like a walking encyclopedia who can talk for hours about wine, Italian history, farming, etc. Just listening to Samuele adds another element to the Agriturismo experience that puts Agriturismo La Fontaccia above the rest.
I hope you all get a chance to have an Agriturismo experience, in Tuscany or anywhere else in Italy. If any of you have already had an Agriturismo experience, please share in the comments section.
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