The rustic farmhouses of Italy that host travelers and immerse them in the rural lifestyle of the Italian countryside are getting a new look.

Rustic-Farmhouse-in-TuscanyMany abandoned buildings and villas left vacant and alone were being renovated and restored in the late 1980’s and early ’90’s. Laws passed in Italy allowed small scale farmers to open their farmhouses to guests creating a new style of vacationing in Italy – the agriturismo farm house holiday. These agritourismi allowed farmers to augment their income and for adventuresome travelers to sample la bella vita  – the  idyllic life  of rural countryside. You could rent a room in a farmhouse or an apartment on the grounds where you would enjoy food and wine from fields, orchards and vineyards right on the property. In some cases you could even help with the chores. Guests could arrange for cooking classes, horseback riding, guided tours of the area and wine tastings directly with the owners of the agriturismo who knew the best places to see and savor the local lifestyle.

These types of accommodations have become so popular that enterprising Italians and expats are renovating a new style of agriturismo, one that is decidly more chic and upscale. Now known as agrifuturismo they have attracted a whole new group of travelers with amenities that rival a 5 star hotel. The rooms are decorated with a designer flair and the food is chef inspired. They still retain their rustic appeal and rural charm and the settings are photoshopped by nature. The hosts often still live onsite and are eager to please and proud of their artisan way of life which they are happy to share with their guests. Pools, tennis courts, hiking trails and gardens coexist with tractors and farm animals. Tenutas or estate farms are often stunningly restored villas with antique furnishings and private accommodations. Far enough from the maddening tourist crowd but close enough to motor down to the nearest Prada outlet.

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