There are so many incredible places to stay at in Italy: sumptuous hotels, well located city apartments, romantic luxury retreats, and so forth. However, if you’re visiting Italy with kids, I’ve discovered that it makes sense to stay somewhere informal and family-friendly. Italy farm stays, or agriturismo properties, are perfect for children. At an agriturismo there’s always plenty of outdoor space and quite often there’s a swimming pool and play area.
Whilst this is a blog post about family friendly Italian farm stays, all of the properties listed here are of course great with or without children. Before I had kids, I frequently stayed at agriturismos in Italy for two main reasons: they are excellent value for money and the food served is always delicious (I have yet to experience a bad meal at an Italy farm stay).
What is an agriturismo?
An agriturismo is a farm which offers accommodation and / or meals to visitors. It might be a vineyard, arable farm, olive grove or a pastoral farm rearing cattle. Don’t visit an agriturismo in Italy expecting hotel standards. Hospitality is very informal at an Italy farm stay but the owners are friendly and helpful.
You’ll need to hire a car if you’re staying at an agriturismo in Italy. Most properties are fairly remote and you’ll get the most from your holiday if you have a car to explore the best of rural Italy.
What to expect from an Italy farm stay
When you stay on a farm in Italy, your accommodation might be in a converted barn or stable block. Alternatively, you might take a room in an Italian farmhouse or have access to kitchen facilities in a self-contained flat in an annex. Italy agriturismo properties are also a great option if you’re travelling with more than two children or as part of a multi-generational group as prices are much lower than traditional hotels. You can often sleep two adults and three or more children in one unit at an affordable price while large family groups can hire whole properties or a series of apartments at one location.
Not all Italy farm stays, however, are created equal. I’ve written a post about farm holidays in Italy so you can read a bit more about what to expect from this type of holiday accommodation. Some Italy agriturismos are very basic with little in the way of facilities. Others might call themselves an agriturismo but are actually hotels sporting a couple of olive trees around the swimming pool. However, you can usually expect to have a private bathroom and, crucially for some families, a WiFi signal.
I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at agriturismos across much of Italy during my time as a travel agent as well as for my own holidays with and without kids. I can honestly say that some of the best meals of my life have been taken at some of these establishments. One of the tricky aspects of holidays in Italy is finding a really good restaurant. In very touristy areas, there are a lot of mediocre places which rely on hungry unassuming tourists. If you have children in tow, you’re often in a hurry to find somewhere to feed the kids so there’s often a compromise on quality if you haven’t had a chance to research your dining options (I speak from experience here).
Italy farm stays play a part in sustainable tourism
At an agriturismo, much of the food has travelled zero miles to reach your plate and it’s cooked by local people using traditional recipes. Dining at an agriturismo offers a tasty, authentic and often incredibly good value experience. Often the restaurant at an agriturismo is open to the wider public so the tables will often be filled by locals rather than tourists.
It’s important to consider how we can minimise our gargantuan holiday carbon footprint. One way of doing this is to stay at smaller holiday properties rather than sprawling holiday resorts. An agriturismo in Italy often employs many members of one family as well as local people from the surrounding community. As well as the aforementioned food, local wine is usually served with meals. You’ll be accommodated in existing farm buildings rather than a purpose-built resort so overall your impact on the local economy should be relatively positive.
If you choose an Italy farm stay for your family holiday, you’re more likely to spend your money in a wider range of locations – local shops and restaurants – rather than just businesses adjacent to tourist hot spots.
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Recommended Italy farm stays
So, with the help of some fellow travel bloggers, I have put together this list of great Italy farm stays for families. Some have amazing facilities: a play area or swimming pool; others are within walking distance of a village or place of interest. Some have incredible restaurants while others offer cookery courses.
If you’ve stayed in a really good family friendly agriturismo in Italy please do let me know and I’ll add it to the list.
Northern Italy farm stays
Northern Italy is famed for its incredible lakes and mountains as well as for its cities such as Milan and Venice. It is also home to the Slow Food Movement in the region of Piedmont. Northern Italy produces many well known wines such as Barolo and Valpolicella. While vineyards and hazelnut woods cover parts of north west Italy, the north east features many fruit tree farms: apples, pears, plums. When I was researching where to stay for my holiday in northern Italy last year, it was a really tricky job deciding which agriturismo to book as there are so many appealing properties on vineyards and fruit farms.
If you’re looking for a low key base from which to explore the Italian lakes, you could do a lot worse than stay at an agriturismo near Lake Garda. There’s nothing better after a busy day exploring a popular tourist destination such as Gardaland or Verona than returning to a peaceful farm stay where you’ll enjoy authentic meals and generous hospitality in a peaceful setting.
Cascina Papa Mora, near Alba, Piedmont
We stayed at this lovely agriturismo during our family European road trip. Located midway between Alba and Turin, Cascina Papa Mora is in a perfect position for exploring the main highlights of Piedmont including the wine producing areas such as Barolo.
Cascina Papa Mora is an organic farm with six guest rooms sleeping up to four so it’s a good value option for families who’d like to share a room together. We had an attic room which was rather hot but very spacious. Rooms overlook the orchards and farmland with views stretching over the surrounding countryside. We all loved the swimming pool at Cascina Papa Mora, we often had it to ourselves which was a real luxury. I chose Cascina Papa Mora partly for the location and partly for its facilities. The agriturismo has its own restaurant which is open to the public as well as to guests. We enjoyed wonderful evening meals with local wines on the terrace overlooking the gardens.
Top tip: ensure your stay at Papa Mora includes a Friday so you can enjoy their weekly themed summer party. Alice in Wonderland was the theme during our visit. The staff all dressed up, there was a TV in the garden showing the Disney Alice cartoon for the children to watch and we enjoyed an endless supply of food with labels saying mangiarmi (“eat me”).
Agriturismo al Motto, near Lake Maggiore, Piedmont
recommended by Gemma Johnson at A Girl and her Dog on the Road
Agriturismo al Motto is in a peaceful semi-rural location, but is still very close to lots of attractions. The grounds are expansive with lots for children to explore, and there is a small play park area.
All the rooms have terraces or direct access to the outside space, and they are spacious, light and clean. The room I stayed in had a large double bed, a set of bunk beds and a cot. The double doors led straight out into a designated garden area. Perfect for a family.
Rates are very reasonable and, if you choose to stay half board, the evening meals are delicious. Home-cooked, traditional food is served in a welcoming and very family-friendly restaurant space. On the nights I dined in, there were usually local families choosing to eat at Al Motto, which, for me, is a good sign.
Make sure you come armed with plenty of mozzie spray, though. Even when I was there in October, they were a problem. Also, be prepared for a short, bumpy road leading into the grounds too. If you have a hire car, drive with care.
Top Tip: Take time to tour all the nearby lakes. The accommodation is within half an hours drive of Lake Maggiore, Lake Mergozzo and Lake Orta. Even Lake Como is less than two hours drive away.
Find out more about Agriturismo al Motto
Agriturismo Corte Patrizia, near Lake Garda, Veneto
Along with Cascina Papa Mora in Piedmont, we also stayed at this lovely farm during our summer road trip. Corte Patrizia is a short drive to Bardolino and Lazise on Lake Garda and about half an hour to Verona. However, once you’re at Corte Patrizia, wine glass in hand, it feels like you’re a million miles away from these popular tourist destinations. We loved this aspect of the property: being so close to interesting places but being able to return to such a peaceful retreat.
Corte Patrizia consists of a collection of apartments which share two swimming pools set on a vineyard. This is a really great place for families: there are spacious gardens and a sandpit and everything is surrounded by vines. The wine is incredibly good value, we particularly enjoyed the red and white wines and brought quite a few home with us: perfect souvenirs.
The apartments are tastefully furnished with characterful furniture creating a contemporary feel. We had a small but well equipped kitchen. The owners have put together a brilliant website which you can access during your stay detailing every possible activity, shop and restaurant in the area. We found their suggestions really useful and reliable. Although there is no restaurant at Corte Patrizia, rates do include a self-service “breakfast box” which guests can help themselves to each day and you can also order a tasting platter of local food to try.
Note, there is some road noise audible from the property but this doesn’t impact on your stay. We loved staying at Corte Patricia.
Top tip: I have several tips for this property. Firstly, request a ground floor apartment overlooking the lawn, then your kids can run straight outdoors into the garden (we had an apartment at the back of the building so we couldn’t see the garden although we did overlook the pool). Secondly, buy some of the farm’s light red wine, perfect for a summer’s evening if you’re not a fan of white or rosé. And lastly, definitely take up the owners’ restaurant recommendations, they’ve put a huge amount of effort into their internal website, we had a memorable meal at Ristorante al Vicolo. We would never have found this little gem otherwise.
Tuscany and Umbria farm holidays
There are so many fantastic places to visit in Tuscany that it can be difficult deciding where to base yourself. I would recommend spending a few days in Florence before retreating to a Tuscan agriturismo and using it as a base to explore some of the smaller towns and cities such as Siena and Montepulciano. The landscapes of Tuscany are world famous so staying on an agriturismo is a great way to fully immerse yourself in some of these wonderful locations. Also, your children are likely to be far more receptive to a morning wandering the narrow medieval streets of a hill town in Tuscany if they have the promise of a big farm to play in later in the day.
If you’re a fan of truffles, lentils and delicious meat and game, an agriturismo in Umbria will be a real treat. Umbria is sometimes known as the green heart of Italy. Rolling hills, dense forests and meandering rivers are interspersed with tiny hilltop towns and beautiful art cities such as Perugia and Assisi.
It’s not hard to get off the beaten track in both these regions if you seek out an agriturismo tucked away in the Tuscan or Umbria countryside. You’ll be able to experience the best of both worlds: some of the most incredible sights in Italy but also some of the most peaceful locations in which to retreat to at the end of the day.
Fancy visiting Tuscany and Umbria together? I’ve written a blog post all about taking a road trip across central Italy from Tuscany to Le Marche.
La Casa Toscana, Castagneto Carducci, Tuscany
recommended by Michelle at Intentional Travellers
The owner of Casa Toscana, Chicca, is a charismatic host and fantastic home cook. She lives on the main floor of her Tuscan farm house, where she hosts cooking classes from her self-designed kitchen, and she rents out two self-contained apartments above.
Cooking with Chicca is an interactive cultural experience ending in a feast for the whole family. La Casa Toscana also has a large yard with kitchen garden, olive trees, hammocks, petanque court, and plenty of beautiful back road cycling opportunities around, not to mention a couple fun pets to play with.
A short but vigorous hike up the hill from the house is a charming little village with cafes where you can truly experience Tuscany off the beaten path. This is a great area to relax a bit, enjoy great food, and make lasting memories.
Top tip: Definitely try at least one private cooking class with Chicca for a memorable family experience. She also hosts food tours in the neighbouring villages, which might be best suited to families with older kids.
Villa Mazzi, near Montepulciano, Tuscany
recommended by Lori at Travelin Mad
One of the most charming agriturismos in which we’ve stayed is Agriturismo Villa Mazzi in the Tuscan Val d’Orcia. Located just two kilometres from Montepulciano, the property offers comfortable rooms and apartments with stunning views of Montepulciano to accommodate families of all sizes. Every day, you’ll hear the tinkling of bells as the resident flock of sheep moves to the adjoining meadow.
Villa Mazzi is a working farm with fruit trees, a vineyard and olive orchard, and the fruit preserves, honey, wine, and extra virgin olive oil they make are sold in their gift shop. At harvest time guests are welcome – kids included – to help pick grapes and olives. The owners here are very friendly and helpful with tips on how to enjoy the local area.
Montepulciano is a quick drive or walk away to see historic architecture, shop, and enjoy local food and wine in one of their delicious trattorias and restaurants.
All of the accommodation options at Villa Mazzi include a nicely equipped kitchenette and dining table to eat at to save on dining out. You can pick up fresh produce, meat, and any supplies you might need at the grocery store in town. During warmer months, dining on the porch or patio is a great option.
For families, we recommend La Loggia apartment where we stayed. We had plenty of room, a large dining table, 2 baths, a covered porch, and great views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. For larger family gatherings, other nearby rooms can be added. Villa Mazzi is a great Tuscany agriturismo for families looking to explore Montepulciano and the Val d’Orcia.
Fattoria Corzano e Paterno, Chianti, Tuscany
recommended by Kirsten at Multi-Generational Vacations
One of our favourite family vacations to Italy included a stay at an Italian agriturismo, Corzano e Paterno. This family owned property produces wine, cheese, and olive oil. Families staying at the property have their own house and access to the farm’s amenities, including a swimming pool.
There are four separate houses, so if you are planning a multi-generational vacation everyone in the family could have their own house. Children will love exploring the olive groves, hiking in the nearby forest, and playing with the dogs and cats that roam the property. This agriturismo in Tuscany is perfectly located for exploring Florence, San Gimignano, Volterra, and Siena and we took several day trips to these towns. If families don’t want to explore, there is plenty to do on site, and the staff and owners are super friendly, so don’t hesitate to ask them for a thing.
Top tip: Make arrangements to have a cooking class or wine and cheese class in your accommodation. It will give you a good overview of the products they make on-site and a fun experience for everyone.
Agriturismo Sant’Illuminato, near Citta di Castello, Umbria
I visited this country house several years ago when I specialised in Italy at a travel agency. Sant’Illuminato is a particularly great Umbrian agriturismo for families as there are spacious lawned areas around the farmhouse where children can burn off lots of energy. There’s also a play area and a swimming pool plus a lake for fishing.
Although the apartments offer self-catering, Sant’Illuminato also has a restaurant which serves breakfast and meals on request. Cookery courses can also be taken with children welcome to attend.
What sets Sant’Illuminato apart from your average agriturismo is its airfield. That’s right, you can visit this farm by plane. If you don’t yet have your pilot’s licence, fear not, scenic flights by plane or helicopter can both be arranged.
Sant’Illuminato is located in northern Umbria near the border of Tuscany and close to the elegant town of Citta di Castello. This is a less touristy part of the region where you’ll discover stunning countryside and authentic towns and villages with just a smattering of foreign visitors. I really liked the nearby town of Gubbio while my colleagues loved the little hilltop village of Montone. Across the border into Tuscany, it’s under an hour to Arezzo and Cortona.
Top tip: If you have young children who want easy access to the gardens, book one of the ground floor apartments. Tulipani is the largest of these and has lovely views of the farm’s lake.
Villa Cicchi near Ascoli Piceno
I visited this little property pre-kids and I’d definitely like to return with my boys although perhaps when they’re a little older as this agriturismo in Le Marche has more of an intimate hotel feel. There are several things I love about Villa Cicchi: the food was heavenly, it had a great pool which we had to ourselves and it was really close to Ascoli Piceno, one of the loveliest of towns in Italy.
The rooms at Villa Cicchi are elegantly decorated with period furnishings. The décor was definitely a step up from a lot of the other farm stays in Italy I’ve experienced. The dining room had quite an informal atmosphere and we had great fun trying some local digestifs after dinner.
Top Tip: try the local Pecorino wine with dinner.
Southern Italy farm stays
Despite having lived in Italy for a year and visited it countless times for work and holidays, I have to admit that I’ve never quite made it to the Amalfi Coast. I’ve been to Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum. I’ve even been to the little isle of Procida, but somehow Amalfi has always eluded me. And I think it’s going to stay that way.
On my next visit to southern Italy I’m keen to head further south to explore Basilicata, a region of incredible contrasts. The west coast is a strip of rocky coastline dotted with pretty coves and seafood restaurants while its eastern coast offers miles of sandy beaches. The interior meanwhile features two national parks home to green hills and jagged mountain peaks. Tempted?
Southern Italy is the home of olive oil – Puglia alone accounts for almost half of Italy’s total production. So, many of the farm stays you’ll encounter in southern Italy will be on olive tree plantations. The more interesting agriturismos are the historic masserie, fortified farmhouses once occupied by wealthy landowners.
Villa Tre Colli Agriturismo, near Ariano Irpino, Campania
recommended by Jackie at Enjoy Travel Life
Nestled within the three knolls (“tre colli”) of Ariano Irpino, this family-run agriturismo offers an authentic taste of Italy at a traditional family farm-stay in Campania. Although Ariano Irpino itself is the second to largest town in the province of Avellino, Villa Tre Colli Agriturismo is remote, overlooking the fertile valley below.
This small Italy farm stay with only four rooms to rent provides excellent hospitality and casual comfort with a balcony and private bath. Two of the rooms are especially well-suited to families, sleeping up to five with bunk beds.
Early risers might witness the ethereal blanket of mist covering the valley before it burns off in the sun; then, enjoy a delicious continental breakfast, included with lodging. Local prosciutto, fresh mozzarella cheese, baked goods, and homemade jams are among the delicious spread.
Children are welcome to run free on the grounds from the expansive patio with water fountains to the picnic area with a BBQ, perhaps while you relax with a glass of wine and take in the view.
Historic sites, like the Norman castle and a Romanesque cathedral await exploration in the downtown. Or, shop for traditional Majolica pottery in the small artisan shops.
But be sure to come back in time for dinner. You won’t want to miss Nicolina’s authentic Arianese cooking. In fact, you’ll likely dine alongside local families who frequent Villa Tre Colli Agriturismo. It’s just like I remember gatherings at my Italian grandmother’s table—no doubt you’ll feel right at home.
Top tip: Order the sausage, pepper, and potato casserole. My own family still makes a variation of this dish, three+ generations after leaving Ariano Irpino.
La Foresteria di San Leo, near Trivigno, Basilicata
I’ll admit straight away that I have not visited this agriturismo in Basilicata (I worked with several people who did and they gave it glowing reports). However, it is high on my list when I finally get round to taking the kids on a southern Italy road trip. Located midway between Naples and Lecce, the San Leo is a great stopping off point for visitors exploring the toe and heel of Italy.
La Foresteria is situated in the Lucan Dolomites. Surrounded by forests and mountains, the farm has herds of cows and hundreds of fruit trees. There’s a great little restaurant and that all important swimming pool. Spend your day hiking in the peaceful Basilican mountains before returning to the farm in the evening for a dip in the pool and a slap up meal.
Top tip: as I haven’t stayed at this agriturismo yet (although I have had excellent reports from people who have), my tip is more of a suggestion here. This property works well as a road trip from the west coast to the east. Start your holiday exploring the west coast of Basilicata (Maratea is lovely) before heading inland to the Foresteria di San Leo. Follow this with a visit to the cave town of Matera before hitting the beaches of Puglia on the east coast of Italy.
Le Carolee, Pianopoli, Calabria
I visited Le Carolee many years ago but I can see from recent online reviews that it remains a special place to stay. The agriturismo is set on a hillside amid olive groves and it’s an ideal location if you would like to experience traditional rural hospitality but at the same time have access to the coast. The beaches of Calabria are just half an hour’s drive away.
Le Carolee has just seven rooms along with a self catering house which sleeps six guests. The characterful main building has an internal courtyard, a perfect shady space during the summer months. Outside, the spacious grounds have a swimming pool and there are wonderful views across the countryside.
The real reason for visiting Le Carolee of course is the food. During my visit, I ate a simple dish of pasta and tomatoes but it was the best tomato sauce I have yet sampled in my many trips to Italy. The owners of Le Carolee are incredibly hospitable and I would love to visit again one day with my family.
Borgo San Marco, near Fasano, Puglia
Although being a travel agent isn’t the best paid job in the world, it does come with some pretty good perks. Staying at Borgo San Marco was definitely one of my most enjoyable “work trips”. This property is a bit more pricey than most of the agriturismos I’ve detailed here but it is with very good reason.
Perhaps it’s the region’s proximity to Greece, or the relatively flat nature of the landscape, but Puglia feels very different to other parts of Italy. Farm stays in Puglia feel very different too: Borgo San Marco, like other masseria properties, is an old fortified farmhouse set amid a vast olive grove. Guests stay in spacious suites which are perfect for families: two rooms interconnect giving parents and kids plenty of space to spread out.
The outside space at Borgo San Marco is beautiful: lawned gardens, ancient gnarled olive trees and even a tiny cave-church with medieval frescoes. But what your children will no doubt love is the wonderful swimming pool. Perfect for toddlers, there’s a gently shelving entry into the pool where little ones can safely splash around in the shallow waters.
I’ve eaten some of my most memorable seafood meals in Puglia and Borgo San Marco was a particular highlight in this respect. There’s a fabulous bar and dining out on the terrace in the evenings and at breakfast ticks all of the Italy holiday boxes.
Top tip: If you’re anything like me, you’ll find the heat in August pretty difficult to deal with. I visited Borgo San Marco in September and it was still pretty roasting. Ensure you take one of the suites at the main house as the dependences are a bit of a walk away which little kids might struggle with when it’s really hot.
Sardinia and Sicily agriturismo properties
Sicily is one of my favourite regions of Italy. The island’s history is immense and it sometimes feels like you’re travelling through a giant open air museum such is the wealth of artefacts littering the countryside. Many of the farm stays in Sicily will be traditional baglio estates, a collection of buildings surrounding an internal courtyard.
I once spent a week researching agriturismos and other holiday properties in Sicily and it was one of the most culinary satisfying weeks of my life. We ate so many incredible meals and I think this is the reason I’m keen to return again and again. Thanks to the influx of so many cultures over the centuries, there’s an impressive fusion of cuisines: Arabic, Greek, French all play a part. Some of my favourite dishes include pasta alla Norma (aubergine and salted ricotta) and sardines baked with pine nuts and raisins. And on a hot day, there’s nothing more thirst quenching than a glass of granita (a coarse version of sorbet).
Sardinia meanwhile is famed for its incredible beaches so it’s tempting to book a hotel or villa as close to one of these stretches of sand as possible. However, as with anywhere else in the world, there’s so much more to Sardinia than its coastline. There are ancient villages and jagged mountain peaks hiding in the interior. Instead of flopping on a sunbed at a beach resort, you’ll gain a far greater understanding of this beautiful isle if you stay at one of the many Sardinian agriturismo properties.
Masseria Nacalino, near Modica, Sicily
We stayed at this Sicilian masseria during our eastern Sicily road trip. We visited in April and the farm had very few guests. However, this didn’t prevent the owner from preparing a banquet for our evening arrival. Or “light meal” as she described it. This is the reason I love agriturismos so much: the incredible hospitality and the amazing food.
Masseria Nacalino has a collection of apartments and a shared swimming pool. There’s a garden with a little play area which our children loved. Incidentally, a lot of the agriturismos I’ve visited have play areas which are ancient and falling apart, the one at Masseria Nacalino is still in good repair!
The farm is a great base for exploring some of the beautiful towns of the Baroque south east of the island, or the Val di Noto as the area is also known. Modica is the closest town, while Ragusa and Noto and also not far away. The masseria is also just a 15 minute drive to the many sandy beaches on the south coast. We loved Sampieri but there are endless stretches of sand to choose from.
Top tip: eat here! the tiramisu is particularly delicious. We stayed in the apartment as we wanted the option of self catering as our children were still quite young at the time and we didn’t think they’d be able to wait until restaurants opened in the evening. The only downside to the apartment is that unlike most of the rooms, it does not look onto the garden with the little play area but is tucked away out of view.
Baglio Pollicarini, near Enna, Sicily
Along with Masseria Nacalino, we visited this farm during our family trip to Sicily. Baglio Pollicarini is a great base for exploring the very underrated Sicilian interior. Accommodation is traditional and fairly simply but it’s comfortable and characterful. We shared a family room which opened out onto the terrace. There are also bedrooms in the main farmhouse.
The farm has a swimming pool and a restaurant. We enjoyed a long and very filling meal one evening, sampling regional dishes including the Sicilian staple, caponata. Close to the baglio is Lago di Pergusa, the largest natural lake in Sicily. The lake is encircled by a race track. Once used by Formula One motorcars, the track is predominantly used by runners and dog walkers but it’s still fun to visit: our kids loved pretending to be racing drivers!
We used the baglio as a base for visiting nearby Enna as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Villa Romana del Casale where you’ll find incredibly well preserved mosaics.
Top tip: Despite being some 80 kilometres from Mt Etna, if you visit Baglio Pollicarini when the volcano is erupting, there’s a viewpoint on the farm where you’ll see lava rolling down the mountain, glowing in the dark of the night. Obviously this very much depends on which cone or flank the eruption is happening from.
Azienda Agricola Mandranova, near Agrigento, Sicily
I was unsure whether to add this farm stay in Sicily to my list as it’s quite a step up in terms of quality and, therefore, price. However, the food I enjoyed here was so utterly divine that I felt it had to be included. Also, it’s a great base for visiting the Valle dei Templi at Agrigento as well as for exploring the fabulous south coast beaches.
Mandranova is an olive farm with a variety of accommodation options ranging from hotel rooms to suites and even a small self contained house with its own swimming pool. When I visited, the delicious home cooked meals were taken out on the terrace in the evening sunshine. It’s very informal however: dinner is served at communal tables and you should expect to see a few farm dogs lolling around while you’re tucking into your meal.
There’s tons of space and children will enjoy exploring the farm with its lush garden, farm machinery and the various buildings spread over the estate. My visit fell during the olive harvest and the owner Giuseppe took us on an interesting tour of the farm. There’s also cookery courses and speed boat trips available if you enquire in advance.
Top tip: I wouldn’t recommend Mandranova for toddlers or boisterous young children. The swimming pool is deep and although it looks divine I remember thinking the stone edges were rather sharp. However, it’s in a truly beautiful setting so if your kids are of the peaceful book-reading persuasion rather than the dive-bombing variety, you should be fine. Southern Sicily is roasting hot in the middle of summer so this is definitely a place to visit during the half term holidays or at Easter (exploring Agrigento’s temples will also be more doable then too).
Baglio Fontana, near Trapani, Sicily
What is essential for a successful family holiday? Is it proximity to a sandy beach or a good swimming pool for the kids? Perhaps no cooking for the grown ups? Plenty of space for everyone to spread out? Or perhaps simply a place which doesn’t cost a fortune but is still a pleasant place to spend a week of hard-earned holiday.
Baglio Fontana, a traditional Sicilian farm stay, ticks a lot of these boxes. There are rooms to sleep a family of four, there’s a great swimming pool set in spacious gardens as well as a playground and tennis court plus you’re a short drive to beaches galore. Nearby Trapani is an interesting day out with its salt mining history and Insta-friendly sunsets while medieval hilltop Erice, will definitely win over those more inclined towards the romantic side of Italy.
Top tip: don’t underestimate how much there is to do in this part of Sicily. This is a great destination for families with older children who like the great outdoors. Highlights include hiking the stunning Lo Zingaro nature reserve, day trips to the Egadi Islands for hiking, biking and snorkelling, and ancient history at Segesta. Ideally visit during the May or October half terms as some of these activities will not be much fun in the heat of summer.
Agriturismo Canales, near Dorgali, Sardinia
recommended by Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across the World
This is one of the best agriturismi in Sardinia. The combination of comfortable rooms in a traditional local style; genuine, freshly prepared food; and unbeatable location make it the perfect place to spend your holiday in Sardinia.
Canales is located outside Dorgali, in the heart of Sardinia and at about 30 minutes drive to Cala Gonone, from where you have access to some of the best beaches in Sardinia. Completely surrounded by nature, it’s a safe haven where families can enjoy some relaxing time. Close to the agriturismo, there is a lake that goes through a gorge, perfect for water sports such as kayaking and from where you can reach the source of the Cologone lake. It’s the kind of place where you can forget about the noise of traffic, pollution, and all the worries of daily life.
Top tip: All rooms are gorgeous, but some have incredible views of the lake below or of the mountains. Make sure to opt for those. Food is delicious generally, but make sure not to miss the porceddu – Sardinian specialty dish of slow roasted suckling pig.
Claudia is Sardinian, find out about things to do in Sardinia from a local’s perspective.
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