Ever dream of hearing “Mangia, mangia!” while eating your way across Italy? Then you simply must make plans during your next trip to Italy to stay at an agriturismo. What is an Agriturismo?
What is an Agriturismo in Italy?
In Italy, agriturismo means two things. Tourism in the countryside (overnight farm-stay) and the physical farm itself. As in I stuffed myself silly with the best Italian food I’ve ever had at an agriturismo in Italy!
In short agriturismo means Italian agritourism. Agriturismi (plural for Agriturismo) all across Italy offer tourists the opportunity to have an authentic Italian farm stay. Here’s a little secret Italians know but many tourists don’t. Even if you don’t have time during a packed vacation to stay the night at a farm in the Italian countryside you can still stop at an agriturismo just for a meal. Not just any meal either. A stop at an agriturismo is the best way to sample authentic Italian cuisine with the freshest farm-to-table ingredients.
Today’s post is all about what to expect from a stop at an Italian Agriturismo. I’m sharing my own epic experience with a 13-course meal at La Fontana Del Tasso an Agriturismo in the Basilicata region famous for its Italian appetizers.
Italian Agritourism sits at a tranquil intersection of Agriculture and Tourism in the picturesque Italian countryside. Agriturismi are predominantly located in hilly or mountainous areas where large-scale heavily mechanized agriculture is not possible. This means getting to experience the most beautiful greenery and rural landscapes in Italy far from the tourist crowds packed into Italian cities.
Agriturismi are independently owned, family run farms upholding generations of Italian tradition. As the Agrituourism industry has grown in Italy over the last thirty years, nearly 20,000 historic Italian farm buildings have been saved for future generations. Guests staying at an Agriturismo meet Italian farmers, their family, and neighbors in an informal, relaxed environment.
While the following video is in Italian there are closed captions in English. Take a look at the landscapes, food, wine and experiences that Italian Agriturismi have to offer.
The ultimate reward? Experience the best of authentic Italian cuisine at affordable prices. You can expect to find fruits, grains, and vegetables grown on the farm itself. Plus the supportive network of local Italian farmers means experiencing cheese, salami, meats, wine, even digestivo locally produced in small-scale with passionate attention to detail and pride.
What Eating at an Agriturismo in Italy is Like
Ready for a taste? Here’s a quick video featuring each of the 13 dishes we experienced at La Fontana Del Tasso. An agriturismo that rests snuggly in the rolling green hills of the Basilicata region.
Our trip to La Fontana del Tasso was one of the most amazing authentic Italian cuisine experiences I’ve had over the last ten years. Here’s how our visit played out.
On arriving we happily took note of the stickers plastered across the front door. La Fontana del Tasso is included in Il Mangiarozzo the guide to the Osterie d’Italia published by Slow Food. Inside the door is a warm and rustic dining room with panoramic views of the farm. After taking a seat at a long wooden farm table covered with a delicate white table cloth, a simple question “Vino?” After a quick “Sì” a bottle of house red arrived.
We went with the “Degustazione” or tasting menu. First up a light tangy fresh Ricotta, followed by farm made cheese topped with homemade tomato jam. Spicy salami and Prosciutto came next. All of which were produced locally. Next, melanzana (eggplant) with melted mozzarella followed by bruschetta? From the dishes began to evolve into more complex hearty fare.
A frittata, crispy potatoes, buttery fava beans, and a warm grain misto with complex earthy flavors. My favorite dish was a crispbread soaked in tomato and red pepper flavors. Simple in concept but outstanding in execution.
Just when I realized I was about to slip into a food coma… another dish! Despite how stuffed I was I absolutely housed a large plate of fried dried red peppers. Crispy with a slight sweet red heat, farm grown, dried and fried then lightly salted. I would give up potato chips for all eternity if these bright fry babies would show up again on a table in my future.
Bringing the dried peppers carefully sewn with string to our table, our Host explained how drying the peppers in the shade is the key. She goes on to explain their use in multiple dishes and ingredients including the salami, stew and eggplant rolls.
In the end, the Red Peppers are not even the best kickers.
The first. As our host, casually clears our countless dishes, she asks, “Primi? Dolci?” That’s right. All those dishes were the appetizers of the Degustazione! La Fontana del Tasso served us thirteen courses… of appetizers. Each dish was fresh, unique, and lavor-packed. We could have eaten the entire day away, but alas we cried Uncle, stop, basta! There was simply no physical room left in our stomachs for more food, no matter how amazing it promised to be.
The Second, on receiving the check, our total was only 46.60€. That’s right nearly two bottles of wine (housewine is often refilled in Italy) and countless dishes of the finest food experience available for two people, plus taxes and gratuity and your still waking out for under 50€. Convinced a trip to an agriturismo is in your future?
Agriturismo Near Me!
Before locking in the schedule for your next trip to Italy be sure to see if there is an Agriturismo somewhere along your route. Honestly I’d recommend planning your trip around a stop at an agriturismo. In which case, you can Find an Agriturismo by region in Italy here. Buon appetito!