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Agriturismo to Know (Part II)

Agriturismo to Know (Part II)

In her second blog on agriturismo or agrotourism (‘agriculture’ plus ‘tourism’), Nina Rennie looks at two further communities in Ibiza and Italy that are dedicated to providing food for the soul in beautiful settings. Click here to read her previous blog.

Atzaro, Ibiza

Based in a centuries-old finca amidst 13 hectares of productive orange groves, hidden in the north of Ibiza, Atzaro relaunched last year and has since been listed by Conde Nast Traveller as ‘one of the world’s most beautiful hotels’.

Far from roughing it in mud and wellies, guests at this farm are wrapped in ‘natural luxury’ and invited to see, smell and taste the delights of abundant land that has been owned by the same family for eight generations.

The jet set continues to escape here for country weddings, catwalk shows, luxury picnics (think hampers, rugs, china and champagne), open air cinema screenings, world class spa treatments and generally fruitful relaxation. Atzaro’s dreamy white suites, indulgent day beds, palm-fringed sunsets and 43m-long fresh water pool with its famous ‘love’ sign, provide aspirational Instagram background material, but nature remains the star of the show.

Scents of orange blossom and jasmine entice you as olive and cypress tree-lined walkways lead you to a variety of majestic gardens that overflow with colour and every fruit, vegetable, herb and flower you could imagine in this part of the world. The likes of passion fruit, figs, avocado, papayas and pomegranates reappear artfully on tables in the Atzaro restaurants where nourishing Mediterranean food, made with homegrown and locally-sourced ingredients, served on romantic terraces under hanging vines, with eat-your-heart-out views.

This summer, to mark their 15th anniversary, Atzaro will open an eight-acre organic vegetable garden – planted with internal eco-systems, watered from the estate’s well and powered by on-site solar panels – the first of its kind in Europe. Different areas are dedicated to producing different types of seasonal edible perfection.

If you can’t make the VIP launch party with live opera and botanical cocktails featuring Atzaro’s homemade orangello liqueur, console yourself with the estate’s intoxicating orange blossom oil, a key ingredient in their new organic spa product range which is also launching this year.

Agrivilla i pini, Italy

The family behind Agrivilla i pini renovated their 15th century farmhouse to be as ecologically sound as possible with the aim of creating a Tuscan haven for guests, flora and fauna.

Perched on a hill overlooking San Gimignano, with an organic vegan restaurant and salt water pool, 11 guest rooms have been formed entirely with natural and sustainable materials including hemp, rice husks and clay. Void of clutter, phones, TV and internet, they encourage a holistic detox. Handmade elements range from the bed linen and biodegradable hair and skin soaps (there’s no plastic around here!), through to the terracotta floors, restored wood and locally crafted furniture.

Outside, guided by permaculture and the moon calendar, the team cares for 15 blissful acres of olive groves, vineyards, and gardens, and produce cold-pressed olive oil, natural wine, vin santo, cherries, lemons, apricots, saffron and various vegetables. There are also resident bee colonies producing honey but it’s left with the bees “as nature intended”. At i pini, everything’s vegan including the beekeeping.

Head chef Lahiri, a keen forager, will gladly show you the ingredients he hand-picks for the kitchen, as well as share recipes and techniques, and if you’re lucky, some secrets from the art of healthy Italian cooking.

Overall, the owners hope their guests will leave with a new or renewed ‘sense of gratitude for the gifts of nature that surround and sustain us’, and their recipe seems to be highly successful. Consider slow travel via return train for another Italian feast for the eyes and a side of, hopefully lasting, gratefulness.