Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Sunday 4 December 2022

Italy: off the beaten track...

6th July 2011

Share This Article:

When most people think of a holiday it's sun, sea and sand all the way. The gentle lapping of the waves, the bare feet on hot sand and….the fat, lobster-red, fifty-something man with a huge beer belly, sweating profusely and breathing heavily on a neighbouring sunbed.

As a student it is difficult to afford a beach holiday with guaranteed sun without finding yourself in this situation. A post-exams summer holiday with your friends should be relaxing with no worry of sunbed fighting with Germans or large older men breathing down your neck. A tranquil setting, complete with sun, pool and copious amounts of wine.

Yet students, blinkered by the beach often don’t think of going a little more inland. I am currently on my year abroad and have discovered the great concept of the “Agriturismo.” It sounds a little more fancy in Italian but basically translates as a farm holiday, however these are farms with glorious turquoise swimming pools, converted barns serving as accommodation, wine on tap and views that you only find in films- perhaps not the same connotations held for the English word “farm.”

Living on a farm at home and always surrounded by animals, working on an “agriturismo” to improve my very basic Italian was a natural option- and the best decision I have made throughout my whole time at university. I was casually looking through in search of a possible new home for 3 months and I stumbled across “The Harvest Moon” and having been here 2 months now, I am completely in love with this place. Firstly the pool; set in the middle of Val D'Orcia natural park, the heart of Tuscany with Mount Amiata keeping watch in the background, an infinite view of softly rolling fields and hardly a house in sight, the turquoise water slightly rippled from a warm breeze, you could not ask for a more inviting place to swim. The sea, that is so sought after, is instead replaced by undulating hills, swaying barley fields- a golden sea of its own.

It isn’t only me that is bowled over by this place- the first word my friend uttered as she strolled through the garden of “The Harvest Moon” for the first time was- “paradise.” It is hard to describe the feeling you get when you just sit and look out over the Tuscan hills, a kind of peace comes over you as you wonder how hills so strangely rolling could possibly have been made. I am not one to talk in cliché but this really does happen- for anyone who hasn’t experienced Tuscany, it is indeed a unique place and there is no other place in the world like it.

The region is the home of red wine, you can buy it by the gallon at a ridiculously small price that makes Tesco prices seem more like Harrods’. So perfect for students-and this vino is actually surprisingly drinkable- in fact far more than just drinkable. The apartments at “The Harvest Moon”, typically Tuscan, with rustic charm, huge fireplaces, exposed stone work whilst managing to be both cosy and spacious at the same time. The Red, Green and Yellow houses all slightly differ but in total sleep 19 people- a large group of friends, a beautiful property, incredible food, excessive vino and a spectacular pool, who needs a beach now? A perfect get-away for exam de-stress, with the most famous spas in Tuscany just a ten minute drive away and quaint villages built around thermal baths just down the road, students packed into sweaty beach clubs don’t know what they are missing.

If you are afraid of being too out in the sticks then no need to worry. The property organises parties just to your taste- what could be better than a personal party with a group of your best friends, summer heat, illuminated pool and fantastic music. Siena is easily reachable with the infamous “Palio” horse race happening on 2nd July. Tuscany is known as the most expensive place to go in Italy, but agriturismo’s provide good value for money. “The Harvest Moon” can be completely self-catered or if you would like a taste of the real Italy then delicious buffets can be gladly provided. From £1000 to £1,200 a week for a spacious apartment, divided between 5-6 friends it is very affordable, easily accessible by airports in Rome, Pisa, Florence and Perugia by economy airlines such as Ryanair- and the best bit? There is currently a 15% last minute discount so it’s time to treat yourselves to a slice of paradise……

Check it out at and I promise no more sea urchin dramas, sandy sunburn or sweaty red men….

Articles: 29
Reads: 192514
© 2022 is a website of Studee Limited | 15 The Woolmarket, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PR, UK | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974