Holidaying at a farm might hold a lot more appeal if said farm were, say, nestled in the hills of Tuscany. Agritourist farms are a type of ‘niche tourism’ that is gaining momentum and Montagna Verde in Apella di Licciana Nardi is one such vacation spot in complete harmony with nature.
Imagine a week – away from it all – hiking ancient trails, horseback riding, and picking Porcini mushrooms. It’s afternoons learning about aromatic herbs and evenings floating in a pool overlooking the Apuan Alps. It’s savouring homemade dishes with chestnut, pecorino, pappardelle and wild boar and, once satiated, lumbering back to your lodgings in the pitch black of night with only an iPhone to light the way (and just the teensiest thought to coyotes).
Located in the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park in Lunigiana, Italy, the Agriturismo is at once the park’s Visitors’ Centre as well as an educational farm (with its associated animals) where urbanites can explore the biodiversity of the area. Once home to an ancient monastery, the rambling site was converted to an exclusive reserve housing a handful of guest apartments, a restaurant adjacent to a historic watchtower, a tasting room, and a honey workshop. The medieval stone structures were carefully restored with reclaimed local materials and their furnishings are simple and rustic. At 660m high, the Agriturismo offers serene, panoramic views over the mountains and valleys beyond while at night, the sky reveals nothing but a littering of stars and the clearest reading of the Milky Way.
The winding, mountainous drive just beyond the farm leads to innumerable other treasures – castles, parish churches, and walled villages with local crafts and wine. Make a trip to Parma, to the coastal towns of Cinque Terre (see previous blog), or to Pietra di Bismantova, a geological formation in the Reggiano Apennines that you can climb to its plateau.