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Rural tourism is an option chosen by more and more travelers, and the offer of rural accommodation has experienced a notable improvement in terms of quantity and quality. Italy is no exception, and these are some of the Italian rural accommodations recommended by the experts at The Guardian Travel.
Casa del Grivò, Friuli-Venezia Giulia: This is the house that Toni built or, rather, resurrected from ruin. Adults can relax with a book on a bedroom balcony or in any far corner of the garden. The walks are wonderful and there is a castle and a river where you can have a picnic. In addition, Paola cooks with old recipes and her own organic production. There is a beautiful fireplace and dinner is served by candlelight, sometimes to the soft accompaniment of country music sung by Paola. www.grivo.has.it
La Piana dei Castagni, Emilia Romagna: Small house in the style of Hansel and Gretel isolated between chestnut and cherry trees. The rooms are painted in light pastel colors, there are small pictures hanging above the headboards of the beds and small windows in thick walls that overlook the valley. Valeria lives 10 minutes away in La Civetta. She is kind and charming and brings home-made torta di noci (walnut cake) for breakfast. It also helps organize everything from hiking to truffle hunting. www.pianadeicastagni.it
Le Cinciallegre, Umbria: In its time it was a small 13th century village at a crossroads near Gubbio and Fabrizio used to be an architect. In the lively living room, seating is arranged around a 200-year-old wood stove, lots of rustic furniture, and an old dresser. Simple rooms have their own terraces and spotless bathrooms. It is a quiet place, overlooking the valley, the meadows and the forests.
Casa Cambi, Liguria: You can hardly believe that a village has survived intact until the 21st century. Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena is a tangle of cobbled streets and medieval fairytale houses on a green, rocky hill. Around it there are spectacular mountains and great views. A castle dominates the hill; bottom right is Anna's fascinating house. A small front door (the house is 700 years old, after all) leads into a vaulted room. Pale colored walls contrast with a gleaming hardwood floor and antique furniture. Breakfast is served in the garden, among olive and fig trees. www.casacambi.it
Contrada Durano, Le Marche: This hillside farmhouse, built in the late 18th century as a refuge for monks, has been restored by an Anglo-Italian couple, Jimmy and Maria Concetta. Rooms are simple and some small, but the bar and living rooms offer plenty of space. Almost every night there are dinners made from local or homegrown organic ingredients; and they have their own bread and wine. In spring and summer, you can stroll through fields of wildflowers to the town of Smerillo. www.contradadano.it
Giardino di Mezzavilla, Veneto: House of bohemian beauty, owned by very nice people. The beautiful 17th century courtyard remains intact, as are the haystacks, the cellar and the greenhouse; all of them surrounded by hectares of garden. It has two large guest rooms with wooden floors, colored walls, old-fashioned radiators and comfortable beds. Janine often offers maps for bike rides; in addition to breakfasts and organic parties with all kinds of home-made products. You can also go by car and visit the Dolomites or the sea. www.iardinomezzavilla.com
Masseria GiòSole, Campania: Ideal for families, this place has 60 hectares of olive and fruit trees, a children's playground, an amazing swimming pool, free bikes, tennis and a relaxed atmosphere without rules. Or also, we can wander through the orchards of the river with only the birds for company. Rooms are large and spacious with terracotta or wood floors, high beamed ceilings, and pale colored walls; and they are full of family antiques. The rooms, some with a garden terrace, are clean and quiet. Nearby are the ancient churches and palazzi in Capua, the royal palace of Caserta, Naples and Pompeii are less than an hour away. www.masseriagiosole.com
Vivifying, Puglia: Jane Shaw is a ceramist, textile designer and former teacher, teaching courses in her workshop. At the heart of his house is a charming little trullo, a traditional Apulian stone dwelling with a conical roof. There are only two bedrooms in the guest wing, with terracotta floors, garden views, and an art-deco bed of Naples and his daughter's artwork. Guests can relax in Jane's great room with its sofas and wood burning stove. Breakfast is served in the kitchen. So far Jane has planted oranges and lemons next to 40 olive trees, and built a small hexagonal pool around it. There is also a charming outdoor dining area, with lanterns and mismatched wooden furniture. www.vivificante.com