Italy’s Farmhouses Enjoy a Post-Pandemic Boom

A new study found that more than seven in 10 Italians plan to visit a local farmhouse this summer.

By Paolo DeAndreis
Jul. 5, 2022 14:34 UTC

Research from Noto Sondaggi and Coldiretti shows that 72 out of 100 Italians plan to visit one or more farm­houses this sum­mer.

Farmhouses offer the oppor­tu­nity for leisurely meals in pic­turesque sur­round­ings and the abil­ity for vis­i­tors to expe­ri­ence tra­di­tional agri­cul­tural and food pro­duc­tion activ­i­ties.

The immense pop­u­lar­ity of vis­it­ing these agri­tourism busi­nesses also does not come as a sur­prise.

See Also:Tourism Awards in Italy Promote Industry Innovators

According to the research, one-third of Italians said they would like to be involved with farm­houses. Slightly more than 20 mil­lion Italians said they would start their own farm­house given the right con­di­tions.

The researchers also sug­gest that the immense pop­u­lar­ity of farm­houses is indica­tive of the grow­ing inter­est in the farmer-chef phe­nom­e­non, where high-pro­file chefs are com­mit­ted to pro­mot­ing local tra­di­tional food spe­cial­ties.

Away from food and nature, other rea­sons cited for farm­house vaca­tions are the need to relax, avoid crowded envi­ron­ments and par­tic­i­pate in out­door sports and activ­i­ties.

Coldiretti said farm­house restau­rant oper­a­tions grew two per­cent in 2021, com­pared to 2019, despite peri­odic clo­sures as a result of the Covid-19 pan­demic.

Recent research car­ried out by the Italian Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market (Ismea) found that there are now 25,060 licensed farm­houses in Italy.

Of this total, 82 per­cent offer overnight stays, while 62 per­cent have a restau­rant. Nearly one-third of reg­is­tered farm­houses also orga­nize tast­ing activ­i­ties for their local prod­ucts.

Ismea said farm­houses have become ambas­sadors for tra­di­tional regional recipes and prod­ucts, such as extra vir­gin olive oil and wine, allow­ing vis­i­tors to taste and learn about these prod­ucts’ sto­ries.

Recent sup­port for farm­houses has also come from Italy’s oleo­tourism law, which is meant to develop new touris­tic oppor­tu­ni­ties akin to what pre­vi­ous leg­is­la­tion achieved for the Italian wine sec­tor.

The ris­ing inter­est in start­ing farm­houses has also led the Sicilian Parliamentary Assembly to review its bureau­cratic pro­ce­dures to found one of these estab­lish­ments. The stated goal of the assem­bly is to make it more sim­ple for farm­ers to open restau­rants, tast­ing rooms and hos­pi­tal­ity accom­mo­da­tions.

The deci­sion is likely to be greeted with approval from local farm­ers, espe­cially since Sicily is the lead­ing domes­tic vaca­tion des­ti­na­tion for Italians.

One of the dri­vers of farm­house tourism is also the high num­ber of Italians who do not plan to travel inter­na­tion­ally dur­ing their vaca­tions. A recent sur­vey from TouringClub found that 73 per­cent of respon­dents plan to take their upcom­ing sum­mer vaca­tions in Italy in 2022.

Coldiretti said that two of the main rea­sons for the grow­ing suc­cess of farm­houses are the abil­ity to book accom­mo­da­tion and make reser­va­tions at the last minute and the loca­tion of many of them in non-tra­di­tional tourist loca­tions, allow­ing vis­i­tors to avoid more crowded areas.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has also taken notice of the ongo­ing changes in the Italian touris­tic pref­er­ences, with its south­ern branch in Campania announc­ing a recent part­ner­ship with Terranostra to cre­ate a net­work of sport-friendly farm­houses.

According to local media reports, 20 farm­houses have par­tic­i­pated in spe­cial­ized CONI/Coldiretti work­shops to refine their sport-related offers, and new work­shops are planned in autumn.

The project is part of a broader effort by the two enti­ties to pro­mote the Mediterranean diet as a cru­cial con­trib­u­tor to a healthy life.

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