Family Travel in Tuscany - Agriturismo Living
By Lucia Stoller
In planning a family vacation in Tuscany, you've probably got all the beautiful images it in your mind: A lovely accommodation on a rolling hillside, a bountiful supply of food and wine, and plenty of activities for the whole family. And then, inevitably, you start to worry about how in the world you're going to plan such a picture-perfect trip.
Enter the Agriturismo. A combination of the Italian words "agriculture" and "tourism", these farmhouse accommodations are ideal for families of all sizes. And don't worry about staying on a typical "farm", these locales often feature extensive amenities more along the lines of a high-class resort and are an ideal choice for families with children of any age. The setting is rural, with all the picturesque features you might expect from staying under the Tuscan sun. The condo-style living arrangements come well-equipped, with kitchens and living rooms that give families a spacious home-base. Most have swimming pools and you can also find full resort amenities with an onsite restaurant, tennis courts, a fitness center and a myriad of other features.
There are more perks that come along with Italian "farmhouse living." The owner or manager of the property may live onsite and serve as a point of contact to help your family with anything you need - from planning activities to offering general guidance about the region. Most are conveniently located so your family can sightsee for part of the day, touring neighboring towns and experiencing the local culture and history of Tuscany, and then relax at the pool for the afternoon. Some Agriturismi offer structured onsite activities such as Italian cooking classes, horseback riding, and wine and/or olive oil tasting. Many properties serve their very own farm-harvested food in an onsite restaurant, so you won't need to worry about cooking up meals - unless you'd like to showcase your new Italian cooking skills. Some accommodations even offer daily housekeeping, so you'll be able to focus on the fun stuff.
Unlike the isolation you could expect if your family rented an independent villa, Agriturismi provide a wonderful balance of services and privacy. Well-located throughout Tuscany, it is easy to explore the surrounding areas. Most options are small with family-focused services including babysitting and equipment rental, making it easy to relax and experience the best Tuscany has to offer, both onsite and off.