Summer in Italy, or any other time of year, is a magical time. The country’s 20 regions are as diverse as they come, from the cool cities, mountain ranges and bucolic green pastures of the north to the sun-baked fields of olive groves, cliffs and white-washed villages of the south. Increasingly, Italy’s top hotels can be challenging to get into, booked out thanks to starring roles in TV shows, but one of the country’s most charming accommodation offerings is having a moment: agriturismos. Translating to farm stays, these authentic, peaceful, often luxurious guest houses are located in stunning countryside, often on winelands. They offer the charming, rustic decor and authentic Italian experience of its world-famous establishments, but often at a fraction of the cost of their glitzy resort counterparts. From Tuscan and Piedmontese hills to Puglia and Sicily, here are the most glamorous Italian agriturismos to check into.
The best Italian agriturismos
Nearest airports: Turino, Milan, Genoa
Deep in the heart of Italy’s Piedmont region – a landscape famed for its wine, truffles, chocolates and hazelnuts – is Relais Sant’Uffizio Wellness & Spa. The former monastery-turned wellness and foodie haven lies in Montferrat and offers 500 square metres of wellness space, traditionally styled bedrooms, a tennis court, outdoor and indoor swimming pools and many outdoor terraces and grounds for guests to enjoy. The red brick property dates back to the 17th century and charms guests with its original frescoes and landscaped gardens that hide a small chapel. Being a wellness-focused retreat, the facilities are above the usual offered for Italian agriturismos and include a sauna, a steam room, an indoor pool and a fruit and tea bar.
Nearest airports: Milan, Turin, Genoa
One of Italy’s newest agriturismos is Nordelaia, a farmhouse in Piedmont’s Montferrat embodying the slow-food philosophy the northern Italian region is famed for. The rustic chic farmhouse has just 12 bedrooms: attic suites, garden rooms and legacy suites (inspired by the seasons of Piedmont), which are swatched in rich, earthy colours and boast design touches like four-poster beds. Sitting on 5 hectares of land, the estate truly embodies farm-to-fork and pays homage to the ancient farmland in every way. Truffles are hunted on the grounds, vegetables foraged (both popular guest activities), and the estate produces its own wine under the label Calligram. Being foodie focused, a Michelin- quality restaurant sits on the site, centering around fresh fish and vegetables.
Nearest airports: Florence, Pisa
Nestled in the Tuscan Hills in 750 acres of organic farmland and a short drive from the medieval hilltop villages of San Gimignano and Volterra, Borgo Pignano is one of the most stylish Italian agriturismos. The stunning 17th-century farmhouse prides itself on its honest and highest-quality produce. Guests can sample the honey, from its own beehives, wine, from its vineyards, olives, from gnarly groves that dot the land and bread and pasta from its own harvest of ancient grains. Borgo Pignano’s rooms, suites, maisonettes and private pool villas are a Tuscan country retreat-meets-Florentine Medici glamour feel and are perfect for families down to couples and solo travellers. The star of the show, however, is Villa Pignano, the agriturismo’s Green Michelin Star restaurant focusing on fresh ingredients with views over the gardens.
Villa di Campolungo
Nearest airports: Florence, Pisa
The hills around Florence are known for their outstanding natural beauty, overlooking the city of the Renaissance like a postcard, and one of the most beautiful suburbs is Fiesole. Here – near hills where Leonardo Da Vinci tested his flying machine – lies Villa di Campolungo, dating back to the 1400s and a quintessentially Tuscan farmhouse. There are the beautiful original ceilings, terracotta floors and evocative soft furnishings, but a focus on modernity, with solar panels and geothermal heating reducing its footprint on the beautiful surroundings. Days are spent in the gardens, home to 1,500 olive trees, enjoying trips into Florence and nearby Chianti for wine tastings and sampling organic food and homemade cakes while overlooking the Florentine skyline.
Nearest airport: Catania
Thanks to a starring role in The White Lotus, Sicily is one of the most popular Italian destinations for summer 2023. While the island’s hotels in Taormina, Catania and Palermo are perenially booked up, a great way to explore the island is bedding down at Masseria Bannata. Located in the hinterlands an hour’s drive from Catania, Bannata means ‘land kissed by sun’ in Arabic, and its bleached stone exterior and gardens are indeed so. The 18th-century farmhouse has been tastefully transformed with six individually designed rooms boasting heritage details, white plaster and touches like wooden cradles and Sicilian furniture. There’s a beautiful outdoor pool, and the property is located just moments from the archaeological sites of Piazza Armerina, Morgantina, Enna and Calascibetta.
Il Borgo del Balsamico
Region: Emilia Romagna
Nearest airport: Bologna
Balsamic vinegar, cured meats, Parmigiano Reggiano, Ferraris, the region of Emilia Romagna has some world-famous explorers, and a relaxing and stylish way to explore them is with a stay at Il Borgo del Balsamico. This bucolic 17th-century property is located on the outskirts of Modena in balsamic vinegar country and charms with rustic furnishings and decor, gardens inhabited by buzzing bees and butterflies and three charming rooms and one private apartment. The estate produces its own balsamic and puts on a spread each morning with local bread, jams, cured meats, cheeses, and of course, the famous dark liquid, setting guests up for a day of tastings and demonstrations, enjoying the countryside or exploring nearby culinary paradise Modena – home to Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana.
Masseria Il Frantoio
Nearest airport: Brindisi, Bari
Puglia, located in the southern ‘boot heel’ of Italy, is one of Italy’s most ruggedly beautiful regions, hugely popular in the summer and a place where Italians themselves holiday. The ancient, sun-baked landscape is carpeted in olive groves, vines and historic cities and towns and is bordered by the deep blue Ionian Sea. One of its most famous destinations is Ostuni, a white-washed town with cobbled old streets and Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine architecture. Just outside Ostuni is one of the most low-key stylish Italian agriturismos, Masseria Il Frantoio. Known as masseria in Puglia, the farmhouse sits in centuries-old olive groves, built between 1500 and 1800, marrying vintage pieces with modern necessities. There are 16 tastefully decorated rooms and suites, an authentic, farm-to-fork restaurant and plenty of excursions and activities for guests in and around the farm. This agriturismo manages to combine the charm of the countryside while being just a few kilometres from the sea – making it perfect for an Italian summer escape.
Nearest airport: Florence, Pisa
Surrounded by the rolling hills of Tuscany’s Chianti region, Castello Vicchiomaggio is a favourite for in-the-know travellers. Housed in a hilltop 12th-century castle just 18km from Florence and 38km from Siena, the Italian agriturismo oozes Tuscan charm, with splendidly authentic interiors, idyllic grounds and a swimming pool overlooking the valleys of Chianti. Chic apartments – housed in the main castle – accommodate between two and six people, furnished in the classical style with terracotta floors, vaulted ceilings and exposed beams. The seven cosy and elegant rooms are in a restored outbuilding, some with truly spectacular views of the hills and vineyards. What makes this Italian agriturismo even more remarkable is its rich history. Leonardo da Vinci stayed, sketching the castle, while academic Francesco Redi composed his famous poem “Bacchus in Tuscany” in 1865.
Casa Margherita Wellness B&B
Nearest airports: Turin, Milan, Genoa
The valleys of Piedmont are famed for their wine (Barolo, Asti, Gavi), Ferrero, and decadent truffle dishes, but also their abundant nature, greenery, peace and tranquillity. It’s here – amongst the vines of lower Piedmont – that you’ll find one of Italy’s most lovely wellness agriturismos, Casa Margherita. Founded by a group of friends, including a husband-and-wife team (behind nearby Casa Wallace agritourism and winery), the property sits on 32 acres of biodynamic vines and woodland and is home to an indoor wellness centre, outdoor infinity pool and embraces the slow-life philosophy, healing guests with wellness classes, reconnecting with nature and wholesome, organic food and wine tastings. Rooms are bright, minimalist and modern, with organic mattresses and linen and earth-friendly toiletries, and breakfasts include inventive natural delights with dairy-free alternatives on offer.