Travelers to Italy in search of an authentic local experience that can also do good to the country’s small farmers now have an opportunity to do so. Italy’s ‘Most Beautiful Villages’ Association has teamed up with Coltivatori di Emozioni, the first “social farming” platform in Italy, to offer immersive experiences in beautiful villages with small, independent farms.
The "I Borghi più belli d’Italia” association — “Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages” — was created to protect and promote small towns with a population of under 15,000 people. To be part of the network, villages go through a screening process that certifies their artistic, historical, and cultural heritage, as well as local traditions and tourism infrastructure.
Coltivatori di Emozioni (which translates to “farmers of emotions”) aims to safeguard the country’s agricultural heritage through a support system for farmers, which they consider the “true guardians” of Italy’s prized agri-food traditions. The project revolves around the symbolic “adoption” of a farmer, by choosing a farmer you wish to support and receiving their products in return.
Now people can get even more involved by actually experiencing the farming life while visiting off the beaten track places, often in beautiful locations. In other words, you can support an Italian farmer and, at the same time, take the burden off the most visited destinations by spending a day or more in a village of your choice and experiencing first-hand a local farming tradition.
- In Casalnoceto, in the Monferrato area of Piedmont, you can be a truffle hunter for a day, walking in the woods with truffle dogs and the tartufaio, who will teach you how to hunt for truffles. The experience includes an aperitivo with local products at a local agriturismo.
- In Emilia-Romagna, bike lovers can pedal through the gorgeous hilly landscape of Romagna and participate in a workshop to learn baking techniques and visit the ancient communal oven in the beautiful village of San Leo.
- In Guiglia, province of Modena, active travelers can hike among vineyards accompanied by a local guide, visit the vineyards, and take a cooking lesson with the local sfogline - women who knead the dough by hand and a rolling pin - to learn the tricks of perfect hand-rolled pasta.
- Those with an interest in the grape harvest can head to Puglia and take part in all phases of the harvest, while also taste typical Apulian products.
- In Lazio’s Tuscia, you can learn soil preparation techniques and how to prepare a small vegetable garden or pots to take home.
- In Sicily’s Val di Noto, you can be an onion farmer, learning about the prized Giarratana onion, witnessing the harvesting and packing phase and dining on scacce, the local onion preserves.
For more information and to choose your preferred experience, visit the Coltivatori di Emozioni website.