Sun, sea and delicious food: 10 wonderful agriturismos in Italy

<span>Italian colours: Corniglia, in Cinque Terre, Liguria.</span><span>Photograph: Minoli/Shutterstock</span>
Italian colours: Corniglia, in Cinque Terre, Liguria.Photograph: Minoli/Shutterstock

You can’t beat an agriturismo. Rural locations, owners whose main job is farming, plus food and drink produced on site all add up to a charmingly informal stay. There is rarely a reception desk and there’ll be dogs and crowing roosters to contend with, but they offer brilliant food and a friendly welcome. And they are not all buried in the countryside; there are lots of agriturismos around Italy’s 5,000 miles of coast. Here are 10 within walking or cycling distance of the beach.

Barrani, Liguria

The Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s top destinations, and can have crowds and prices to match, but this family farm’s five hectares of vines and olives are in the quieter village of Corniglia. A 15-minute walk from the station (there’s also a shuttle bus), it has six en suite rooms, and dinner might be pansotti (triangular ravioli) with borage and walnut sauce, followed by stuffed mussels. Corniglia’s rocky bay is a seven-minute walk away, and there are hiking routes to other villages from the door.
Doubles from €75pp half-board;

Gli Agrumeti sul Mare, Sicily

Guests can help themselves from the lemon, clementine and orange trees surrounding this old farmhouse between Mount Etna and the sea. Dogs are welcome at all four apartments, one of which is adapted for wheelchair users. The sand and shingle beach is 200m away, while buzzy Catania, swanky Taormina, and baroque Acireale are all under an hour’s drive. Owner Giovanni Russo will take guests on a tour of the Galeano Mazzullo distillery, founded by his great-grandfather.
Doubles from €60 room-only; ​​

L’Acacia, Tuscany

A mile from the Tyrrhenian coast facing Elba, this farm offers five flats, from a cute studio with a four-poster to one sleeping six, plus homemade breakfasts and dinners. There’s a tennis court, football pitch, swimming pool, play area and bikes to hire for the short ride through Rimigliano natural park to the coast. Miles of undeveloped sandy shore include a naturist area and a “dog beach” (four-legged guests are welcome at the agriturismo). Pisa is an hour away by car, Siena and Florence a little further.
Studio flat from €65 per night self-catering;

Tenuta Vigna Corallo, Puglia

Otranto, on Puglia’s Adriatic coast, is a pretty port with a castle and stunning 12th-century mosaics in its cathedral. This vineyard, a few miles north, offers 18 stylish flats sleeping two to six, with terraces and a shared pool. The fine white-sand beach is a 300m walk away via a private gateway through oak woods. Guests can join wine tastings, try a day in the vegetable gardens (special events for children), or help with the grape harvest.
Studio from €134 per night self-catering;

Podere Giulio, Lazio

This terracotta farmhouse half a mile from the Maremma coast has 11 spacious suites, all with furnished veranda and garden access, some with kitchenettes. Guests also have use of the pool at Podere del Gesso, 200m away. The restaurant uses homegrown meat and vegetables, and also serves woodfired pizzas, plus homemade jams and juices at breakfast. Unesco-listed Tarquinia, 10 miles away, has 3,000-year-old Etruscan ruins. Rome and the Vatican City are an hour from here by train.
Doubles from €110 B&B;

Torre Cangiani, Campania

The Amalfi coast is deservedly popular for its colourful villages, sheer cliffs and fancy villas. West of Sorrento, this organic farm built around a 17th-century pirate tower sits amid olive and lemon groves, with four elegant rooms and a two-bedroom flat, all with stunning views. Breakfasts and dinners use homegrown olive oil, tomatoes, honey, preserved veg and jam. Parking and driving here is tricky, but there are buses to Sorrento (for hydrofoils to Capri) and Positano. The beach at Marina di Puolo is about a mile away.
Doubles from €110 B&B;

Zio Cristoforo, Cilento

South of the Amalfi coast, the less showy Cilento area offers rugged hills, quiet beaches, lower prices and a slower pace. On an olive-clad hill above Casal Velino Marina, this farm has rooms and four apartments, and its restaurant was a finalist in Sky TV’s 4 Ristoranti series. The curvy, palm-shaded pool looks particularly inviting after a day’s trek on one of 10 waymarked routes, the beach is a half-hour walk or five minutes by bike (more on the way back up!) and Paestum’s amazing Greek ruins are easily reached by car.
Doubles from €110 B&B;,

Acqua di Friso, Calabria

One for lovers of sun, sand and food, this farm on Italy’s Ionian coast is named for an ancient Greek spring. Its 17 hectares running down to the sea were saved from desertification in 1990 with the planting of 12,000 trees and an organic vegetable garden. The wild, white-sand beach, a site of scientific interest, is reached via a remote-controlled gate, so is never crowded. There’s also a pool, wellbeing weekends, cooking courses, art exhibitions and an award-winning restaurant.
Doubles from €85 B&B;

Fiori del Conero, Le Marche

The Conero regional park is a pretty stretch of Adriatic coast with white coves under high cliffs, and this farm sits at its northern edge, a bus ride from Ancona’s cathedral, harbour and Roman ruins. The nine rooms and flats have sea-view terraces, and smiley host Silvano will recommend places to visit, book restaurants and show guests around his citrus and olive groves, and fields of delicious paccasassi (samphire). Wild Spiaggia del Baffo is a 10-minute cycle away.
Doubles from 73 room-only,

La Casa di Spinosella, Sardinia

Sardinia’s north coast, facing Corsica, boasts long, sandy beaches and secluded coves, and just half a mile inland this family farm has converted an old shepherd’s house into rooms and apartments, with splendid sea views. The silvery sand of La Ciaccia beach can be reached via a secluded footpath in about 15 minutes. Breakfasts might include salami and ham from the farm’s pigs, plus ricotta and hard cheeses from their own sheep. Alghero is just over an hour away by car.
Doubles from €68 B&B;