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  • Consider Taking a Trip to an Italian Farm
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    Agriturismo is the word Italians use to describe bed-and-breakfast-type residences on farms in southern Italy. These hotels are popping up all over the countryside in southern Italy, especially in places like Benevento, and Tuscany. The idea is to give tourists a tranquil setting in which to taste country living.

    Often, the agriturismo owners care for animals - from ponies to roosters. If you're lucky, you might get to see folks milking goats or cows. Most also have a spectacular garden featuring things like blossoming cherry trees and olive groves.

    The accommodations are usually simple but elegant - a bed, bathroom and television. But don't expect your cell phone to work. You are on farmland in remote parts of Italy, so technology is not exactly accessible. The amenities can range from hydro-massage tubs to man-made rivers for fishing. Some even have swimming pools that guests can use to cool off or get in some exercise.

    The owners and small staff are the ones who do all the cooking and cleaning. If you get an all-inclusive package, you'll likely eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with all of them. Sometimes, it's even family style. The meals usually feature fresh pasta and vegetables and fruit right from the garden outside. Antipasto tends to be traditional with fresh mozzarella, olives, prosciutto, salami and other assorted cheeses and cold cuts. Of course, wine is usually included. This is Italy, after all.

    Do like the southern Italians and take a siesta nap in the afternoon. Then, wake up for a quick jog around the farm, a visit with the pony or some light reading. If you keep a journal, this is the place to write. You'll have complete silence and plenty of nature surrounding you for inspiration.

    If you have a car or your agriturismo provides transportation, you can drive down gravel or dirt roads and take in the patchwork of landscapes surrounding the area. Stop and pick a fresh peach or hazelnuts. Usually, small towns are a 20-minute ride away but are worth the visit. There, you might find a great place for gelato or a pretty piazza, where you can take photos. Window shopping is another relaxing and pleasurable activity for guests. At the end of your trip, you probably won't want to leave.

    To see my photo album, click here. You can visit www.francescadimeglio.com regularly for updates on my trips to Italy and all things Italian.

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