I don’t know why it took us nearly three years to visit our first agriturismo.
We found ourselves in the Tuscan countryside for the second time inside of just a few weeks staying at the very same castle. (Yes, a castle! More on that to come soon.) I asked Tim the age old question: “What do you want to do for dinner?”
The medieval town of San Gimignano was nearby so we decided to go there for dinner. As we drove along the winding country road, we spotted an agriturismo literally looking straight at the town of San Gimignano. “Want to check it out?,” he said. After a few minutes of indecisiveness,Tim made a u-turn on the narrow road as I feared we’d go right into the ditch.
You might be wondering why on earth we would risk going into a ditch on a narrow Italian country road. Two reasons: 1. That’s just Tim’s driving. He may have learned some patience while living in Europe but certainly none while on the road. And 2. We couldn’t have imagined a more romantic spot to have dinner. Plus, we’d never been to an agriturismo.
So what’s an agriturismo anyway? In Italy, it is a farm that is open to guests to experience the slower, rural lifestyle of Italy. Agriturismi (plural of agriturismo) usually serve food to guests prepared from raw materials produced on the farm, often have at least one room where guests can stay, and many have relaxing pools. And no, they won’t put you to work gathering eggs for your breakfast. The most work you’ll do while staying at an agriturismo is deciding what book to read while lounging poolside.
We arrived at Agriturismo Taverna di Bibbiano and were seated at an outdoor table right at the edge of the hillside, looking directly across to San Gimignano and the rolling hills of Chianti. The sun was just beginning its descent from the sky. A lavender field edged along the side of the tables.
The menu changes regularly based upon what ingredients are in season as everything comes fresh from the farm. We dined on a pear salad drizzled with balsamic glaze and Tuscan meatballs in a Chianti sauce accompanied by grilled, stuffed tomatoes. We sipped a bottle of Chianti as we watched the sun slowly dip behind the hills. A warm chocolate and pear tart was a sweet finish to our perfect little meal.
It was definitely worth the hair-raising u-turn and our first experience with an agriturismo did not disappoint!
In fact, we enjoyed that agriturismoso much that when we zoomed by another one on our way to the beach last week, Tim made another u-turn on some other narrow Italian road to go check it out.
This one is called La Casa di Bacco and isn’t actually that far from our house. We enjoyed sitting outside right alongside the vineyard while the smells from the kitchen wafted toward us. We were served a glass of Prosecco and fried zucchini, eggplant, and basil leaves to start. Carpaccio with pine nuts followed for Tim and melon and salami for me. We shared a homemade tagliatelli pasta with ragu of wild boar, which was served steaming right in the skillet for us to dish up.
La Casa di Bacco in particular highlights wine in their little shop and we added several bottles of local wine to our ever growing collection. The various jams and preserves for sale were equally as tempting. Ah well, next time!
Have you been to an agriturismo? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment on which ones are your favorites!