What is the difference between a vacation in an agriturismo and a vacation in an apartment in a former farm?
You want to go on holiday to Italy and are looking for an authentic experience of the Italian feeling, the dolce vita. You prefer an accommodation that is surrounded by nature and overlooks the typical gently rolling Italian hills. And of course you want to sleep in a rustic stay that still breathes the atmosphere of the Italian countryside.
But do you then opt for a holiday in an agriturismo or an apartment in a former farm? What is the difference between them?
Holiday in an agriturismo
If you choose a vacation in an agriturismo, then you choose a vacation on a farm. The owner of the farm must really be registered as a farmer and actually produce something. So he must either renovate something or have a herd. The apartment or room in an agriturismo must really be a space in the farm that still functions as such.
The intention is then to get acquainted with the real farming life in Italy. Often the products from that farm are sold directly or served at the table. Think of self-produced olive oil, wine, cheese and meat.
Holiday in an apartment in a former farm
If you opt for a holiday in an apartment in the countryside, it does not have to be an agriturismo. It is always an apartment in a former farm. Large landowners had these farms, called casolare or podere, built for tenant farmers. These are small farmers who paid their lease in kind to the large landowner. However, the farms were massively abandoned by their residents in the 1970s because the children had moved away to the cities in search of a better future.
The elderly who stayed behind could no longer cope with all the work without the many hands of their children and also left. Or committed suicide, as we have heard here.
Those farms remained empty and gradually fell into decline. The large landowners finally chose to sell them and so many of these houses were eventually restored and apartment complexes or something like that became tourists.
Is an apartment in a former farm not always an agriturismo?
It depends. The one buyer of such a casolare or podere in the countryside has chosen to turn it into an agriturismo. The other buyer has chosen not to do this. Because there are advantages and disadvantages to having an agriturismo. As the owner of an agriturismo you have to officially register as a farmer and you also have to work a fixed minimum number of hours as a farmer.
The government also has very strict guidelines for what you need to grow or how large your herd should be. If you also want to cook for your guests, then this is also subject to very strict requirements. You have to serve a certain part of your production on the table. On the other hand, as the owner of an agriturismo you pay little tax and can easily receive a subsidy.
Is Polmone then an agriturismo or are they apartments in a former farm?
Polmone is such a former farm (podere) in which a tenant farmer lived and worked. And we have made apartments in it. However, we have not chosen to go farming. Moreover, we have too little land to be an agriturismo. Then we would have had to buy or lease land. However, the farmer's wife whose cows are grazing around Polmone, no longer wanted to sell land when we thought about becoming an agriturismo.
Now we are quite satisfied with our choice not to be an agriturismo but as it is officially called a 'case e appartamenti per vacanza'. The requirements for an agriturismo are complicated and since we are not Italians, that is also quite complicated for us.
And in the end it doesn't really matter to our guests. A huge herd of cows of the Chianina breed often walks around our grounds. It is a wonderful spectacle to see them so close. They are beautiful animals and so much peace comes out of them! We often see that calves are born. So we have the lusts but not the burden of a farm!
What can you expect in an apartment at Polmone?
We find it important that our guests feel at home, have sufficient privacy, can relax and enjoy each other, their family and the nature around Polmone.
Our apartments are very spacious and simply but tastefully furnished with a nod to the old days when there was still a farmer's family living in all simplicity on Polmone. You don't have to go get water from the source like they do. The spring water comes from our tap! And of course there is a swimming pool. But you won't hear the familiar pool sounds in your apartment.
I hope I have given more clarity about the difference between a holiday in an agriturismo or an apartment in a farm.
Do you want to know more about the apartments in our former Polmone farm? Then read here further. And if you want to continue to follow Polmone, you can register here for the Polzetone Gazzetta that appears once or twice a month. We also have one Facebook page that you can follow if you like.