By: Dianne Sivulka, Ouredventures.com
There were footsteps outside our cottage, and we knew it could only mean one thing. We swung open the door to take a peek, and sure enough, our fresh-farm basket had arrived just in time for breakfast. Here in northern Italy, in a region called Sudtirol (also called South Tyrol), that’s the way they do breakfast. Our basket of goodness sat there at our doorstep with the items we had requested with a little form. The night before, we had set it out before going to bed.
In the shadows of the Dolomite Mountains and just south of the Austrian border, is Italy’s Sudtirol region. Characterized by green meadows, medieval castles, and countless farms (many of which welcome guests), this special place had everything our family was looking for in a unique holiday.
We brought the basket inside and sifted through the contents like hungry nanny goats. Oh yum, everything we requested was there! Farm fresh eggs, milk, butter, and homemade jams all made right on the farm we were staying at. Also, a nearby bee harvester supplied the honey, and a local bakery provided the fresh bread.
After filling up with a hearty meal, we were ready to set out and explore. First, we wandered around the farm, meeting some of the characters who supplied our breakfast, and others who were merely a special part of this farm, like Charly and Waschtl, the resident donkeys. We also chatted with Maria, the friendly owner of Obereggerhoff. She and her family have lived in this area as farmers for decades.
Then it was time to venture away from the farm, and we chose a nearby adventure park. Ropes courses, zip lines, and Tarzan swings pleased the boys while we adults enjoyed a leisurely picnic. Then we were off to hike to a mountain village only accessible by foot. Maria had given us some great suggestions for local things to do.
In the coming days, we would visit nearby Rodenegg Castle with its 12th-century frescos and the beautiful Kloster Neustift Monastery. Indoor swimming pools, alpine slides, and museums gave us more than enough to fill our days, but quite honestly, we were glad for the chance to slow down and take in the unique experience of life on a farm.
Tips for planning your farm stay
If staying on a farm in northern Italy sounds perfect for your family, start with Red Rooster (the most extensive online directory of guest farms in the area). You can search by location, style of farm, amenities, or particular family-friendly activities. Some farms have playgrounds, while others have bread-making workshops or opportunities to help with farm chores. Links to the farm websites are provided on Red Rooster, and you can email them directly to make your reservation. To keep costs down, most farms do not accept credit cards and instead require lodging to be paid in cash upon departure. They may also request a wire transfer of money to secure your reservation.
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