Washington, DC USA
I consider myself fairly well travelled and have stayed in many different levels of accommodations through the years, and I can honestly say that our six day stay at this farm was one of my most memorable trips ever. In fact, in ranks in my top 5 (the others being trips to S. Africa, Egypt, Alaska and Madagascar). This is a very authentic experience, and while Antonello, his mother Maria, his father Giuseppe and the volunteers make every effort to provide comfort, interesting activities, educational experiences and home-grown hospitality…it is a family home – not a resort. If you are looking to be pampered and catered to and treated like a tourist instead of a visitor, you might want to check out something a little more conventional. Our room was spacious and spotless and cool enough even though there was no AC (which made me very happy…I hate AC and was glad to get away from the over-conditioned, frigid air that dominates most buildings in the States). We had reliable hot water every day for our shower, the meals that Maria made each night were superb, the range of activities available to us was more than adequate (we thought we might get bored being there for six whole days, but found a perfect balance between time spent on activities and time spent leisurely enjoying the serenity at the farm). At the farm, I slept soundly through each night, which is something that hasn’t happened to me in years. Once back in Rome it was like a switch got flicked and I was back to the usual tossing and turning that I’ve become used to. Not sure what to attribute this to, but it really was amazing. We spent the hotter part of the afternoons lounging on the large patio, overlooking the fields filled with all the fresh vegetables and fruits that we snacked on each day and enjoyed for dinner each night. The highlight for me was probably the four and a half hour hike to a meadow on top of a mountain, where we cooked wonderfully fresh, flavorful food over a fire, and then slept under a full moon in our sleeping bags. Other activities included meeting my dinner (my sister went vegetarian once she realized that the animals on the farm weren’t just for cute photo ops and petting, but I felt it was important to witness what was involved if I was going to eat it), a hike to a very old castle which we were able to crawl around in and on, horseback riding, sitting in the piazza in Sora drinking limoncello and watching the locals enjoy themselves, a trip to an abandoned village and a dip in the very cold but very clear and pretty waters of a nearby lake. We really enjoyed listening to Antonello’s stories about things local and far away, and both his mother and father were very generous and charming. Both my sister and I concluded that we would definitely like to come back to this farm again someday…
Seattle, WA USA
My family enjoyed a wonderful 3 night stay at Italy Farm Stay, just outside the Abruzzi National Park. Antonello and his mother, Maria, welcomed us upon our arrival with delicious homemade wine and bread with homemade olive oil. After showing us our room, Antonello gave us a tour of the farm, including many fruit trees that he told us we could pick from anytime, and the animals: goats, sheep, a donkey, chickens and rabbits. Our kids were in heaven! During our stay, we enjoyed several beautiful hikes in the mountains, a delicious (and very cheap) meal cooked by Maria, and other delicious meals in the surrounding area. On our drives we discovered beautiful little hill towns that could rival the hill towns in Tuscany. (In fact they are better because there are no crowds!) This is a lovely undiscovered area of Italy. But the best thing about our trip was the warm hospitality of Antonello and his family. We stayed at many lovely places during a three week trip to Italy, but Antonello’s farm was our favorite!
I recommend this family run establishment to anyone who is willing to take a detour from the well trodden tourist path to a wild nook of the Italian countryside. I felt very much at home during my four night stay due to the warm hospitality the family exudes. The accommodations are clean, spacious, and better yet affordable for the budget traveller. The farm offers land to be explored, where one can meander along the paths and stumble upon grapevines, and olive, walnut, cherry, plum, fig and pomegranate trees. The farm is nestled in the mountainside, where many outdoor activities are close at hand. The farm’s host, Antonello, is generous, giving of his time and transportation, to be sure activities such as trail hiking, horse riding, paragliding, and a visit to the cheese-making shepherd are within the grasp of enjoyment. My favorite was the early morning cheese making. We watched as the shepherd milked the goats and sheep, while the wife built a fire for heating the milk. Trying to escape the bite of the morning air, we hovered close to the fire, sampling the freshly handmade cheese with bread and homemade olive oil, and the remaining delicious whey.
Baltimore, MD USA
My week at ItalyFarmStay was one of the best times I’ve ever had. Fresh from a big North American city, I was immediately mesmerized by the Italian country landscape as I set foot on Antonello’s farm. Fruit trees of all varieties grow in wild abundance here – orange, lemon, cherry, plum, pear, apple, peach, persimmon, pomegranate, and of course, fig. Sweet scents of jasmine invade your senses, while the sounds of distant church bells provide a perfect background to the symphony of horse bells, and the music of other farm animals. I had a wonderful breakfast drinking fresh goat’s milk, and a just-laid egg. Wild asparagus and baby artichoke fresh-picked by Guiseppe (Antonello’s father) followed by a few mulberries and wild strawberries as I strolled through the farm. At other times, I would savor cheese just made by the shepherd, along with homemade bread from a neighbor and homemade wine. I took long walks everywhere, attracted by the beauty of the mountains dotted with country homes, patches of olive groves, vegetable gardens, grapevines, and wheat fields. Sheep and goats grazed on the meadow, and here and there elder ladies in country clothes with aprons around their waist meandered about. Italy Farm Stay is not just an organic farm. To me this is the traditional country life at its finest – a lifestyle that seems long-forgotten. Simple yet magical. I look forward to going back! I still remember vividly Guiseppe smiling, “Slow down, don’t worry. Tomorrow’s another day.”
From Brad, Ellen, Luke and Lydia
St. Louis, MO USA
We wish we could have stayed longer at this wonderful place bordering Abruzzo National Park in central Italy. It’s midway between Rome and Naples, about 45 minutes off the autostrada, but well worth getting off the beaten path. You don’t even have to drive…they’ll pick you up and drop you at the train station in Sora. This working organic agriturismo with olive and fruit trees and a wide variety of animals (including two friendly dogs) is just outside the larger town of Sora, as well as several small and scenic hill towns. While the location alone is fantastic, wonderful Antonello and his family really make this a memorable place to visit. The farm is a quiet world apart from the tourist sites and crowds. Sora has a great market day on Thursdays, when merchants and farmers line its downtown streets. But there’s so much to do on and near the farm, including a hike on the farm or in the national park, horseback riding, language and pasta-making lessons from Maria, touring historic monasteries, frequent sampling of the farm’s wine, produce, and olive oil, and a visit to the local cheese-making shepherd. The region is known for its truffle production and one evening we visited a local restaurant – virtually everything on the menu featured truffles, yet it was the great food bargain of the trip. We also greatly enjoyed our dinner and breakfasts at the family table, and again, almost everything was produced on the farm. Our kids (ages 4 and 8) absolutely loved it, but it’s a great place for anyone to visit. There’s surely enough to see and do to stay a week or more. It caters to English-speaking travellers and Antonello has spent time in the United States. What a wonderful place… we hope to visit again someday!