Discovering the Lazio region: farm-stays in Bracciano to get the authentic feeling of the countryside
What fascinates me so much about travel is the way one destination is considered “attractive” while another one (just as beautiful) gets the cold shoulder. Who decides which towns, regions and countries are “cool” and “worth it”, anyway? I’ve been asking myself this question on my recent exploration of Italy’s Lazio region. Apart from the world-famous “Eternal City”, it seems like Italy’s capital region isn’t getting much of a buzz. And yet the Lazio region has everything one could wish for: beautiful towns, loads of history and art, and even splendid sceneries that range from lakesides to seasides and countrysides. So how come nobody takes the time to explore Lazio? How come everyone spends a few days in Rome and then flees to the famous “Tuscany” for wine tasting and rolling hills? Or maybe to the Amalfi Coast for the sea, or Venice for a romantic retreat? I think I figured it out: Rome is out-staging all the little gems that populate the Lazio region. Today, that comes to an end.
The best farm-stays near Rome for your next getaway
But there’s too much to talk about in the Lazio region. So in this article, I’m going to concentrate on the famous agriturismi of the Lazio region, in this case the farm-stays in the Bracciano area. Not familiar with agriturismi? They’re simply farm-stays that can be found in Italy. But to be exact, the term agriturismo was coined in the 1970s to describe those aziende agricole (or farm estates) that serve local or homegrown food, wine and produce; that offer some type of activity on their land – whether it’s trekking, sailing or other types of activities; and that also offer hospitality services. So if you want to dive into the rural countryside vibe, detox from your phones, taste delicious food and unwind, an agriturismo is a great way to go. But don’t expect luxurious estates, these are rustic family-run farm-stays where the authentic Lazio can be lived. So here we go, let me tell you of four great agriturismi near Rome for your next farm-stay getaway.
Agriturismi in Lazio: Monte La Puglia50km from Rome
Couples, families with children
Dog friendly (small dogs)
Escape the city life and get hands-on in this beautiful agriturismo in the Bracciano area. Monte La Puglia is a charming farm-stay where you’ll really get to unwind by immersing yourself in the tranquility of the Maremma Laziale. Drive through the road until you reach the beautiful estate, surrounded by hills, crops and vegetation. This is when you’ll feel like you’ve left everyday chaos behind, entering a completely different universe. Recently renovated, the Monte La Puglia estate offers 9 charming rustic accommodations with lovely views of the valley and an apartment. My whole group and I slept like angels! When you wake up, walk through the surroundings and admire the sheep roaming the hills. Once you’ve had breakfast, go horse-back riding around the estate’s lands or better yet, get hands-on with a cooking class. We learned to make ricotta gnocchi with a sauce made from the tomatoes of the estate’s vegetable garden. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. We also learned to make pasta frolla and an occhio di bue sweet with Liana. We enjoyed our lunch in the agriturismo’s beautiful dining hall, located in the estate’s former stables, where the original feeders are still present! But first, we tasted the estate’s products: from the oil and wine coming from Montoro (a town close to Narni and Amelia), to their tomatoes coming from their vegetable garden – everything was great.
This azienda agricola is actually quite old, born in the mid 16th century from the famous Marchesi Patrizi of Siena who later united with the Montoro family. Fun fact, the mother of the owner of Monte La Puglia comes from the famous Frescobaldi family – a wine producer family – so they have some friendly wine competition at home! At the local level, Monte La Puglia produces cheese, like the typical Roman ricotta, they also have their own vegetable garden where they grow tomatoes, onions, pears, kiwi (planted by the owner’s father in the 80s). Did you know that 15 years ago Italy was the first producer of kiwis until prices were brought down so much that they stopped being the first producers? With 283 hectares of land surrounding the estate, Monte La Puglia is the perfect place to recharge your batteries, go for long walks and relax in the countryside of the Lazio region.
Agriturismi in Lazio: Acquaranda25km from Rome
Families, friends, couples
Dog friendly (small dogs)
Who knew that just a short ride from Rome you could stumble upon places like Acquaranda. Rustic, family-run and authentic are the words that come to mind to describe this azienda agricola in Bracciano. Call them up on the weekend to reserve a seat at their restaurant, where only homemade or regional products are served at the table. Ever heard of the concept “farm-to-table”? They were the first to devise it! They have a vegetable garden where everything is homegrown, and from the vegetable garden it goes into the restaurant’s kitchen and straight to your dishes! All the foods served in their boards are produced in the Lazio region, the cured meats come from Arcasal di Campagnano and the mozzarella from Agricola Terra Rome di Maccarese. While the cheese and jams are produced in their land! So yes, at this agriturismo you can taste the freshness of the products. But the king of them all is Acquaranda’s cheese. Let me tell you about the exceptional quality cheese they make!
The creation of cheese is the main activity at Acquaranda. They’ve won numerous prizes and have received awards from the Comune di Roma for their cheese and azienda agricola. They were the first to produce sheep milk, with which they make 10 different types of exceptional cheese that recall Ancient Rome. The cheese is sold both in their shop right at Acquaranda and to 40 different shops and restaurants in Rome. Among their clients famous Roman wine bars, shops and … the Vatican! And to put a cherry on top of the cake, this agriturismo is even energy self-sufficient!
In their 60 hectares land, they graze sheep but they also have cattle, chicken and other animals. The most beautiful part of their work ethic is the respect they have for nature and seasonality. They respect their animals, they don’t milk the sheep during the summer since in summer there’s little grass and the milk isn’t all that good.
But let’s take a better look at they cheese! We had a cheese making workshop and were guide through the process of their famous cheeses. First things first: Acquaranda produces 250L of sheep milk per day. They work with the milk they milked the day before and they are always up-to-date with the latest techniques. One of the most important cheeses they produce is the Caciofiore della campagna romana – which even has a Slow Food Presidia. This type of Presidia sustains quality production at risk of extinction, protects unique regions and ecosystems and recovers traditional processing methods like the one to produce the Caciofiore della campagna romana cheese. Want to learn how to make it? I won’t give it away, but you can call them up for a workshop!
Agriturismi in Lazio: Casale di Martignano35km from Rome
Couples, families with children
If you’re on the hunt for a peaceful scenery, Casale di Martignano is for you. Sitting right on the famous Martignano Lake, this agriturismo is the perfect estate to relax and enjoy the surroundings from spring to autumn. As you drive into the property, you feel like you’re on the movie set of Under the Tuscan Sun, but you’re in the Lazio region. Standing in all of its glory, a beautiful ivy clad house with 5 rooms is there to greet you, with additional 9 nearby apartments for your stay. As we entered the estate of Casale di Martignano, I thought to myself “this is a great wedding location”. And guess what? It just so happens to be a famous wedding location! I could picture it in my head: string lights, shabby chic setting, stunning view of the lake, and rooms to let your guests stay the night. I immediately asked and the owner also told me they collaborate with nearby estates for weddings, so guests sleep in different estates that are all nearby. During they day, they even organize fun games for the guests, from boat competitions to trekking, how cool is that!
But if you’re not looking for a wedding location, Casale di Martignano is still a great place to stay. We had lunch in the scenic open-air dining area offering breathtaking views of the lake. We had tastes of their cured meats (produced in the estate) and cheese (coming from nearby estates they collaborate with). Not to mention their delicious pork! After lunch, we headed to the lake, where we enjoyed the breeze and went sailing on the lake. So relaxing. Lake Martignano has banned motor boats, so only sailing boats are allowed! Apart from eating and sailing, they also organize trekking around their lands as well as walks in their farm when you can see their animals. A great place to put on your list.
Agriturismi in Lazio: Tenuta Monte la Guardia33km from Rome
Couples, families with children
Dive into a countryside oasis at Tenuta Monte La Guardia. In between Bracciano and Cerveteri you’ll find this wonderful agriturismo immersed in 200 hectares of land, amidst natural waterfalls and remains of ancient bridges. While the driveway to reach the gates of Tenuta Monte La Guardia is quite bumpy (not to worry—they can pick you up at the small town with their off-roads), once you set foot inside the gates, you’ll find yourself catapulted in a rustic farm-stay. A beautiful estate which has recently been renovated and two wonderful hosts, Gioachino and Piera, to make your stay unforgettable. What’s amazing about this family-run farm-stay is how authentic it is: animals are free to roam the estate, and wild plants, flowers and berries dot the surroundings. Sometimes horses will come near you, hoping to get a carrot, an apple or just a pet! So if you’re a nature and countryside lover, this place will leave a special place in your heart. For your stay you can choose from 15 apartments, two bedrooms and a spa suite (perfect for couples). The accommodations are simple and comfortable, so don’t expect anything luxurious. Wake up every day to Piera’s super homemade cakes and sweets. The gluten-free chocolate cake is truly fabulous, not to mention the crostate with different types of jams!
During the day, roam the 200 hectares of the estate on the hunt for beautiful panoramas. The natural waterfalls are must-sees (a pair of comfy shoes is a must), my favorite one being the Cascata della Mola. But while you’re there, you’ll also get to admire two ancient bridges and 17th century Vatican State forges! In fact, these lands were formerly a latifundium owned by the Marchesi Patrizi and Ruspoli princes until they were dismembered at the end of the Second World War after the Agrarian reform. As you could guess, one of the biggest activities of this agriturismo is the cutting and maintainance of the forest, as well as raising different animals and even hounds. After a day exploring the estate or the surrounding areas, indulge in a delicious dinner at the cozy restaurant of Tenuta Monte La Guardia. They start off with a typical antipasto with cured meats, cheeses and yummy potatoes with truffle sauce. To continue, the boar pappardelle are to die for. Come to this estate to get the real taste of a farm stay, eat delicious food and enjoy nature.