My Favorite Agriturismo in Italy: An Ode, in Photos

The best Umbria agriturismo, Fontanaro

When I need a break from Rome’s hustle and bustle, I head to the countryside. And when I’m there, I always stay at an agriturismo, or “farm-stay”—or Italy’s best-kept accommodation secret.

Over the course of my travels in Italy, I’ve probably stayed in more than 50 different agriturismi. Not once have I been disappointed. Each one has had its own character, but they’ve all been comfortable, in beautiful settings, and a better value than any hotel. And no, you don’t have to milk a cow or collect eggs to stay at one.

When I’m asked about my favorite agriturismo in Italy, though, there’s always one that comes to mind: Fontanaro.

Fontanaro and its sister property, Tartagli, are located on the border of Umbria and Tuscany, a 2-hour drive from Rome (or a 1.5-hour drive from Florence). They’re a stone’s throw away from the tiny, medieval village of Paciano.

Village of Paciano near Fontanaro

Made up of rolling hills and vineyards, the Fontanaro properties produce a huge variety of Tuscan-Umbrian staples, from olive oil to honey. Better yet, everything is grown organically. And the estate, run by mother-daughter team Lucia and Alina Pinelli, uses sustainable energy whenever possible; the farm was one of the first in Umbria, in fact, to use solar panels.

Fontanaro agriturismo on border of Umbria and Tuscany

Tuscan agriturismo in Italy

Fontanaro farm on Umbria Tuscany border

As you might expect, Lucia and Alina take the idea of “slow living” seriously. They even incorporate Slow Food principles through their cooking classes. (Cooking classes can be booked if you’re staying overnight at Fontanaro or Tartaglior as a day-trip option exclusively with the tour company Walks of Italy. And yes, I do freelance for Walks of Italy, which is how I discovered Fontanaro to begin with).

But the “slow living”approach extends way beyond the idea of making pasta by hand. I don’t know what it is, but every time I step onto the farm, I feel the stress of Rome roll right off me. And even though I can never get enough of spending time here, even a day is enough to make me return to the city seriously relaxed.

Playing with the dogs, Ettore and Bacco, helps.

Fontanaro's dogs Ettore and Bacco

So does the fact that the grounds of Fontanaro and Tartagli are so gorgeous, you could spend hours here just strolling and soaking in the scenery.

Fontanaro, an agriturismo in Tuscany

Umbria agriturismo

Fontanaro farm-stay in Tuscany
Italy agriturismo Tuscany

Fontanaro, a farmhouse on the border of Tuscany and Umbria

Tuscan farm stay in Italy

It’s also pretty cool to be surrounded by so much home-grown, organic produce. Vegetables. Grapes. Figs. Olives. Saffron. And yes, Fontanaro produces its own wine, as well as award-winning, extra-virgin olive oil. (By the way, can you tell that the second photo is of saffron? Before my visit to Fontanaro in October, saffron season, I had no idea that’s what it looked like!).

Organic agriturismo in Umbria


Saffron at Fontanaro in Umbria

Tuscan Umbrian wine from Fontanaro, Italy

Olives for Fontanaro's extra virgin olive oil

In the garden of the Umbrian farm

Of course, all of this delicious produce winds up… as delicious food.


Fontanaro agriturismo

Eating at an agriturismo in Tuscany

Food at Fontanaro

Cooking classes at Tuscan farmhouse

Cooking classes at Fontanaro in Umbria

Cooking classes in Umbria

Hungry yet?

Starting at €200 per night, Fontanaro is a little pricier than most agriturismi in Italy, largely thanks to its higher-end accommodations. With that, though, you have the option of a cooking class or tastings, not to mention seeing a harvest, like of olives or saffron, depending on the time of year you’re here.

Finally, full disclosure: I am friends with Alina. That said, we became friends because of my obsession with, and frequent trips to, Fontanaro… not vice versa. (From these photos, I bet you can understand why!).

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10 comments

  1. Is dinner and breakfast an option at Fontanaro? Would love a place where we didn’t have to travel for meals. This looks perfect and hoping they offer dinner as well!

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Meals are offered if you’re doing the cooking class, but as it’s a pretty homey place (there’s no restaurant, for example) run essentially by Alina and her mom, they don’t have formal dinner and breakfast for guests. But each villa/cottage has its own kitchen, so you can always cook yourself (and they provide you with coffee and all the essentials). Otherwise, the tiny village a 10-minute walk away has lots of options they can direct you to! I hope that helps.

  2. Amanda,

    I have enjoyed reading your guide book to Rome and your Revealed Rome blog. My wife and I are thinking about staying at a Fontanaro property during August. Do you think it is too hot that time of year to enjoy one of their properties? Thanks for your help.

    John

    1. Hi John! It is a hot time of year to do anything in Italy :), but the infinity pools they have at Fontanaro definitely make it more pleasant. Most of the bedrooms (but not all, I don’t think) have a/c — make sure to ask if that’s a deal-breaker for you (and I wouldn’t blame you). I hope that helps, and happy traveling!

      1. Amanda,

        Thanks for the reply. I communicated with Alina, and they do have AC in all the units. We reserved five days in August and are looking forward to it.

        John

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