As Ferragosto — August 15th, the Italian holiday celebrating the Feast of the Assumption — draws near, vacation farms and agriturismi are expecting full occupancy. Italian news agency ANSA reports that approximately 550,000 overnights are anticipated in the 18,500 holiday farms in Italy over the three-day holiday weekend this year.
These numbers may be impressive, but they may not spell big business for the farmhouse owners themselves, who can expect to see reduced profit margins as the total number of farmhouses continues to grow. The Italian travel magazine Gente Viaggi reported earlier this year that the number of holiday farms in Italy has almost doubled since 1999. That fact, combined with the trend of visitors to stay fewer days (now an average of five) than previous years and the fact that only 1% of holiday farms raised their prices from last year, means that farmhouses owners can expect reduced profits during this holiday weekend.
With rates for farmhouses remaining low, compared to so many other sectors of the travel industry, consider staying at a vacation farmhouse or agriturismo on your next trip to Italy. Most popular in Tuscany, followed by Sicily and Lombardy, farmhouses provide a new take that is uniquely Italian, as only 25% of farm tourists were foreigners last year. –Justine Gregory