Want a fast track to la dolce vita? Do what the locals do, says Casey Mead...
It doesn’t get more local than staying on an agriturismo with an Italian family. An agriturismo is essentially a working farm with accommodation built in. Every day you can throw open the shutters and be reminded you are in the heart of the Italian countryside. You can enjoy home-cooked meals as well as interactions with the family, their pets and even farm animals!
It’s no surprise that food in Italy is generally outstanding, but you can really get to know a lot more about the region you are in by trying the dishes specific to the area. For example in Tuscany, the local Cinta Senese pig which dates back to the middle ages was brought back from the brink of extinction in the 1990s. And Limoncello can only be called such if it is made with lemons from Sorrento. There’s a lot of local history and culture to found simply through the joy of eating local delicacies...
Familiarise yourself with the towns and cities, but also be sure to get out in nature to meet locals in a more natural environment. Even better, ask a local about their favourite place to get outdoors, and you will be pointed in the opposite direction of the tourist trails. Soak up the natural environment and views while snapping some amazing images along the way.
Taking the time to learn a few key words and phrases can really add to your experience. If you want to go truly local you won’t have the luxury of fluent English-speaking hotel staff. Although some people will speak a little bit of English, it’s always great to connect with people in theirs too. Plus, it helps when it comes to reading the menu.
One of the best ways to learn about a place and its people is to head to a local bar or pub and have a drink. Local people are generally proud of their home so love to share their favourite tips, spots and quirks of their culture. Avoid the pricey tourist bars and head for a local hole-in-the-wall. You’ll also save on the bar bill at the end of the night!
G Adventures' Local Living tours are designed to get you under the skin of your chosen destination, offering characterful accommodation, local activities like cooking classes and plenty of time to roam. You'll find more details here.