Vacationing on an Italian farm: You won't believe the pasta!

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It's got a funny name -- agritourism -- but it's the kind of vacation you've been dreaming about. Eager to foster tourism in innovative ways, the Italian government oversees a system of working farms that double as B&Bs, where visitors can affordably kick back in the rustic countryside, eating homemade cheese and learning to cook true Italian dishes made with pure ingredients you'll never find at the local Kroger.

Matthew Scialabba and Melissa Pellegrino met while traveling in Italy, and their love for it, and for fine food, brought them back there, where they spent months living in the hosted farmhouses of Italy and writing "The Italian Farmer's Table," a celebration of Italian farmhouse vacations through photographs and authentic recipes.



Right away, the couple dispels some preconceived notions about farm tourism in Europe. For one, they're affordable. You can spend as much chilling out in the Italian countryside, gorging on pasta and wine in the lee of the Alps, for less than you might spent for the same amount of time in Las Vegas.

Another surprise for some people: Language barriers aren't very high, because hosts are used to welcoming guests from all around the continent, no matter their native language. That's not to say tongues aren't important -- one common denominator all agriturismi seem to have is a love for homegrown and homemade delicacies.

And, no, you won't have to do any chores -- unless you really want to. Ever milked a goat?

The authors supplied WalletPop with a hand-picked list of five must-see Italian farms. Each one has its own appeal, and in our video interview, they share photos and stories from each one.

For a gourmand - Ca Villa
For families - Giandriale
For art and antiquities lovers - Le Occare
For a one-of-a-kind experience - Les Ecureuils
For tight budgets - Baite di Pra
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