I have been recently reviewing and writing articles about hotels in northern Italy for my blog and other sites. Hotels used to be the first thing that came to mind when planning a vacation to Italy. But since Airbnb arrived on the scene, apartments have also gained popularity. What about all the other options out there? I will start with those more unique places and then touch on some of the more traditional options.
Sometimes referred to as a farm-house stay, agriturismi have been gaining in popularity in the past 15 years. The literal translation stands for agricultural tourism, but don’t be fooled by all the farm talk, these properties can range from the rustic to the opulent, but they will always be in a wide-open setting.
The accommodations themselves can vary from a property that offers hotel-like rooms to a property that has only 3-4 apartments that include kitchens. Many have swimming pools– a perfect way to end a long day of sightseeing – a dip in a pool overlooking a Tuscan vineyard.
In addition, the manager is probably going to be the owner of the property and will likely be producing a variety of products such as wine, olive oil, honey, etc… A bonus to this situation is that if there is a restaurant on the premises, expect fabulous meals serving home-grown specialties. In fact, there are also agriturismi that only have restaurants and do not offer accommodations. So if your Italian friends suggest going to agriturismo for the afternoon, it just means they are inviting you to a long, leisurely lunch – not an overnight stay.
Agriturismi can be very affordable and can cost as little as 40 euro a night. Many will have a minimum night stay especially during high season. NOTE: You will need a car.
This site also has a selection of villas, B&B’s, and castles. Each property will have photos and a review rating system.
This site offers a mail alert service that allows you to receive notices when a place comes available that suits your needs. Scroll down to perform an immediate search.
This site allows you to search by every imaginable amenity, location and service you could imagine. Every property has a photo gallery and reviews.
Thinking of an “Under the Tuscan Sun” vacation? Staying at a villa can make that dream come true. A villa is somewhat similar to an agriturismo in that they tend to be in the countryside and have lots of space. Many times they will also have a pool. But whereas an agriturismo has a large range of pricing and comfort options, villas tend to be similar in their offerings. It is going to be an entire house that is perfect if you are traveling with a large group of people and especially with children. There will not a restaurant on-site, so come prepared to cook.
This site allows you to search by specific location and even has a handy calendar that shows availability saving you a few clicks. They have over 200 properties to choose from.
Only allows you to search by “Italy” so you have to scroll through their catalogue to find your location – it can be time-consuming.
This site offers villas in European countries. Click on Italy and the region you are interested in. Shows the overall rate and a breakdown of cost per person.
It might seem nuts to even think of staying in a castle, but these days even a hostel can be a castle. Similar to the agriturismo and villa situation, castles tend to be in the countryside. Don’t be intimidated by the word castle and think you cannot afford it. They can be very price-friendly as noted in the hostel article and – well – fun! Especially for kids. Of course, these “castles” tend to be small, don’t expect to find Neuschwanstein. Still, they will have a romantic feel to them not to mention a rich history.
Offers a mix of luxury accommodations and castle stays throughout the world. Click on “Collections” and then “Stay in Castle.” Continue your search from there.
HomeAway offers all kinds of accommodations but has a special section just for castle stays. Scroll down to “Find Spaces That Fit Your Style,” and you will see the castle offers.
Monasteries can be found all over Italy, but also in some of the most expensive parts of cities like Rome – all at bargain prices. Accommodations will be simple, but always spotless and comfortable and typically include breakfast, sometimes lunch and dinner. Keep in mind that there will usually be a curfew of 11:00PM.
Offers guesthouse, monastery and convent properties throughout Italy. Booking done directly on the site.
A list of various religious lodgings all over the world with a specific page for Italy. Contact info is listed and arrangements need to be made directly with the facility.
The title of “camping” might fool you because upon hearing that word, I automatically think of tents and outdoor bathrooms. But the camping facilities in Italy are laid out on huge grounds and offer everything from the tents to bungalows (mobile homes) to Tuscan cottages (which are basically hotel rooms). Many campgrounds will have pools, outdoor activities, a small grocery store and several restaurants.
Great for families and they are really fun and lively.
This site has a directory of camping facilities listed by region. You have to contact the facility directly to book
Day Stay Hotels
Ok, so there is nothing unique about a hotel. But what about when you need one during the daytime hours? And I am not talking about an illicit need. I am talking about when you have some weird scheduling and you need a place to crash in the middle of the day? The sites below offer nice options in awesome hotels at discounted rates. Kinda cool to think you can check-in at 9am and stay until 5pm AND have use of the hotel’s facilities like pools, saunas and steam rooms. Very cool actually. They usually offer hotels in bigger cities and you do have to pay close attention to some of the hotels….because it does look like a few might just be for the illicit need.
This site allows you to search by location and also services such as a spa or restaurant.
Search by list or map – super easy site.
ALL THE REST
There are so many fun options for accommodations in Italy with a variety of prices and atmosphere that it can be almost overwhelming to choose. I have listed some of the lesser-known options here, but there are always the old reliables: hotels, apartments and B&Bs. And for those I have listed below a few sites that are very helpful for these searches:
This is my favorite site when traveling in Europe. This site used to only list hotels, but now they have added apartments, B&Bs, camping, agriturismi and other accommodation types. If you are looking for a hotel, they have lots of great filtering options, reviews and great search options.
This site was listed above, but they also have over 1,000,000 accommodation listings in 190 countries. They bought many other apartment rental companies in the past years including Ownersdirect, Abritel and Vrbo.
A well-known site with 4 million listings in 33,000 cities. This site allows the user to look for entire apartments or just a room in an apartment.
This site lists B&Bs all over Italy and also has other types of accommodations such as apartments and guesthouses.
This site does just what it sounds like. It pulls listings from many of the big sites and combines them all in one listing. Some of the sites include: Booking.com Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Getaroom.com
A listing of hostels by city. Prices are deceiving, so make sure to fill out all the info before getting too excited about the crazy inexpensive deal you just found.
This site has more than 260 hostels in Italy in 84 cities. Yet again, hostels are not always the most affordable option. Make sure to compare prices to the other options.