Run an agriturismo in Sicily
An agriturismo is a best described as a small-scale farming hotel. The objective is to have the guests feel like a part of the farming lifestyle. The food served at the agriturismo is mostly produced on the farm itself, or farms in the surrounding area. This is the perfect solution for those looking for an independent lifestyle in combination with an income from the increasing tourism in Sicily.
The original concept behind the agriturismo was to let people come and work on a farm in the countryside, and in return, receive food and lodging. Today, however, most agriturismos are luxurious little hotels in the countryside with superb food. But there is nothing to stop you from running one with a more classic model, where guests can work in order to get discounted rooms or something else similar.
The legal requirements for running an agriturismo are higher than a B&B. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible in any way, just that there are more rules and regulations to consider. It can be a good idea to buy a property already registered as an agriturismo, rather than starting from square one with an ordinary farm.
The number of rooms allowed vary with the size of the land, the number of days open per year, etc. At least one room, or 5% of the total amount of rooms if it is a larger agriturismo, must be accessible for people with disabilities. The farm must have at least two hectares (20,000 sqm/close to 5 acres) of land, and the land must have been registered as farming land for at least three years prior to becoming an agriturismo. You must yourself also register as a farmer to run an agriturismo. You can either use the land for farming or for a combination of farming and animal husbandry. Olive groves, vineyards, orchards and such are all classified as farming.
Apart from the main sleeping accommodations, an agriturismo also has the right to run a camping site on the premises. The requirements for such a site are: 1 bathroom for every 4 guests and 1 laundry for every 12 guests.
The main idea of an agriturismo is to offer your guests local, often traditional, food made by the farms' own produce. Apart from that, sport and culture-oriented activities, such as horseriding and excursions to local sites, are in line with the principles behind an agriturismo. There are no real restrictions to what you can offer; you are free to use your imagination of how to best let your guests experience the local flair of the location.
The last big plus of investing in an agriturismo is that there are quite a few already registered agriturismos for sale. Most of which are old, nicely renovated farmhouses in a beautiful countryside location.
Should you instead want to buy, renovate and then register a property as an agriturismo, that works perfectly fine as well. The only downside is that it takes a while to deal with all the bureaucracy of the registration process. It is also important that you have someone with you in the process to make sure that the property is in line with the requirements and that the renovation will be carried out in a way that will make the registration possible. We will gladly assist you through it!
If you would like to have a few suggestions of available agriturismos sent to you, you are most welcome to contact Marie Wester at +39 328 444 8589 or by email. You are also welcome to ask any more specific questions you would like to have answered.