What is Agriturismo?
When we were planning our Italian summer vacation, we knew we wanted to experience the real flavor of Italy, which is what drew us to an agriturismo. A combination of the words “agriculture” and “tourism” (in Italian, of course), agriturismo has become a popular tourist activity in the countryside since the mid-1980s. But it’s not only good for tourism! This practice has enabled small farms to survive amongst larger corporations, and is helping restore and maintain some of Italy’s ancient architecture. Best of all, it allowed us to experience true farm-to-table cooking and being in Italy, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Our interest led us to a quaint farmhouse that dates back to the 1400s, where we truly experienced what it’s like to live off of the land. We were in touch with nature, surrounded by olive trees, vineyards, wildflowers and vegetable gardens, yet were within walking distance from a bustling Etruscan town. We enjoyed stunning views of the countryside and experienced rural Italian culture first-hand.
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Each day was a new adventure. Between collecting fresh eggs in the morning, picking wildflowers for our table each night and making our own pecorino cheese (starting with the milk from the infamous sheep who made their acting debut in the film Under the Tuscan Sun), we had fully assimilated into the local culture (including their affinity for homemade pasta).
One of our favorite lessons was learning how to make the Tuscan pici pasta—a thick, hand-rolled pasta with a hole in the center (similar to a fat, irregularly shaped spaghetti). We cooked with the olive oil, drank the wine and ate the meats, cheeses and vegetables that were produced on this land, all while making lifelong friends with the proprietors of this property.
Our agriturismo experience left us not only with a profound respect for traditional Italian cooking (and all the work that goes into it), but also with a lifetime of memories. We look forward to our return!