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For the past two weeks, we reverted to our gypsy life style and went wandering.  My mom arrived from the U.S. so we let her have a day of rest then left for the Cilento coast.  After a week of the country and sea side, we traveled to Bologna for a few days and then on to the area around Siena.  Finally, we dropped Mom at a hotel near the Rome airport and returned home.   It was a lovely visit with Mom and we all enjoyed the travel.  However, we’re glad to be home…at least for a few weeks. 

Agriturismi in my opinion, are the best way to travel around Italy.   I can’t say that I’ve ever stayed in a hotel in Italy that really “wowed” me.  On the other hand, every agriturismo has offered a unique and personal experience.  What is an agriturismo, you ask?  In a nutshell, it is an Italian farm house resort that offers rooms and generally food and products that they produce.  The idea is to allow small farmers to supplement their income, thereby preserving traditional small farms.    Here’s an about.com article that defines it well… http://goitaly.about.com/od/italytravelglossary/g/agriturismo.htm.

Whereas Italian hotels do not appear to have the same culture of service that you might find in other countries like the U.S., the people who own and run agriturismi have invariably been helpful, polite and friendly.   It makes sense; they own the place!   

Every agriturismo has been really different making them difficult to compare and choose a favorite.  They offer all different levels of service and luxury.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a system to differentiate when you choosing one over another.  Price is an indicator and website comments are helpful.  Our favorite agriturismo website is http://www.agriturismo.it/

The first week, we rented a mini-apartment at La Petrosa (http://www.lapetrosa.it/en/default.asp).  It was interesting to find the place as always.  Clear signs are not to be found in Italy.  We stopped a place which was called La Petrosa but turned out to be a Bed & Breakfast.  It was the same family but separate from the agriturismo.   The B&B was in a big manor house that looked like a mini-castle.  It was built around 1740.  Turns out, it was their family residence.    As the family spread out and they didn’t need the room, they decided to turn it into a B&B.   

The agriturismo was a true farm of about 150 acres.  They raised goats, corn and other vegetables.   The exceptional points of this place were the country side and the food.  They served outstanding meals and made delicious goat cheese.     The restaurant terrace offers a lovely view of the farm and the sea in the distance.    Our apartment was basic but clean and met our needs.   We went to sleep to the sounds of bleating goats and awoke with the rooster.  (Damn rooster had some issues.  Started crowing at 2:00 am a couple times.) 

In my next post, I’ll tell you more about Cilento.   Cilento may not be world renowned like Amalfi but it just as beautiful.

Click on the images for a larger view.

 

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