Due Papaveri, our first Agriturismo experience.
It’s not often that you leave your accommodation with a hug from your host. But that is how our visit ended at the argriturismo “Du Papaveri”, our home for three nights while we explore the Emilio-Romagna region of Italy. Hosts Charlotte and Luca have created an oasis in the hills above Modena for their guests and it was the perfect introduction to the Argriturismo experience.
Argriturisumos, or Italian farm stays, are popular in Italy, and give guests a more local experience than staying in a traditional hotel. The intimate setting enables guests and hosts the chance to get to know each other, and when food is provided it is mostly either from the farm itself or from the local area, and hosts share their local tips for visiting other small locally-run businesses - a true authentic Italian experience.
Our trip to Due-Papaveri was an escape. We left the kids well cared for back in Switzerland and planned to do nothing but relax, explore and eat for 3 days
I love my kids dearly, but sometimes to be a good mum, you have to forget that you are a mum for a couple of days, and so the plan to escape to Italy for 3 days was hatched. Hubby and I, together with SFT editor Pamela and her husband decided to explore Italy through our taste buds.
The price per room at Due Papaveri 140-160 euros per night. This included a hearty, not to mention beautiful, breakfast.
“Hard to find, hard to leave” is how Charlotte and Luca describe this peaceful corner in the hills above Modena and it couldn’t be more true. Due Papaveri, 40 minutes up from Modena, and just over an hour from Bologna, is down a winding narrow road just outside the tiny village of Benedello. The closest shops or restaurants are about a 30 minute drive (but don’t worry you won’t need to leave for food!)
After our long drive from Switzerland, with a stopover in Parma for lunch, we were warmly greeted by Luca. He showed us around their property explaining the layout and what they grow, and then showed us to our rooms. Once settled we gathered in the dining room for a welcome drink around the fire.
Due Papaveri has three suites and one apartment and is mostly aimed at couples or adults traveling together a as a group.
On this trip Rolf and I stayed in the open planned Legania apartment, a renovated wood-storage barn across the courtyard from the main accommodation, but close to the pool. It consisted of a large bed, mini-kitchen, bathroom, small dining table, as well as a fireplace. And if the weather would have been drier we would have also enjoyed sitting out on our balcony on the outdoor sofa to take in the view, but we had to settle for a warm fire and bean bag (tough life!). The apartment also had a small loft with two beds that could accommodate two children had we traveled with them.
Pamela and her husband stayed in the two level Yellow suite located in the main renovated barn house. The room has two big glass windows which brought in plenty of light (but little privacy), a bathroom, a large sofa which converted into a bed and a four poster bed on the second level. This apartment could also accommodate two children at an additional cost.
Both rooms had air-conditioning for those hot italian summers.
Although they mention that children are welcome in some of the rooms, I would stress that Due Papaveri is ideal for a holiday without children. If you do want to bring children along, I would suggest they be teenagers, or at least kids who can swim (the pool is not fenced) and easily entertain themselves (there is no playground or specific children's activities).
I had done zero research before arriving, aside from knowing that we could do a pasta making course and breakfast would be included. I had assumed we would pop out b&b style to the next village for our evening meals. But upon reaching the isolated Due Papaveri, it become clear that we would be much more comfortable to stay on site for our meals - and boy am I glad we did.
Both Charlotte and Luca are fabulous chefs. Each evening would start with a sparkling bottle of white around the fire while one them would busy themselves in the kitchen preparing a four course meal for us to enjoy, which was always enjoyed by local and regional red wines. We had traditional favourites like tortolloni (bigger tortellini), risotto and tiramisu but also more adventurous combinations like pumpkin soup with mozzarella accents and wild fennel. Each meal was finished off with a liquor they had made themselves. Usually we would have the nut liquor, but on one night we were lucky enough to “help” them finish off an amazing limoncello with hints of orange. All this for 35 euros per person (wine purchased separately).
Breakfast was included with our accommodation and consisted of breads made from their own grain that they had milled down the road, their own lavender honey, cheese from the local cheese maker as well as yoghurt, cured meats, muesli and homemade jams. Eggs were offered as well upon request.
I can imagine summer evenings would be amazing here with a beautiful terrace ready for long dinners as you watch the sunset.
We had three lunches off-site during our stay, one in Parma, one in Bologna and one in Vignola, which were each as wonderful as the other. Come back soon to find a more detailed review of those restaurants in our weekend itinerary.
If I had known what a paradise our accommodation would end up being, I would have stayed closer to home base.
On our drive from Switzerland, we stopped in the quaint town of Parma for lunch and a walk around. On Friday we tried to visit “Eataly”, an indoor food market, in Bologna but after a 30 minute search for a place to park we headed into the city instead. (the rain combined with with Italians traveling home for All Saints Day on the 1st November meant that it was packed). Finding a carpark in the city was also a challenge, but we eventually found one and enjoyed an afternoon strolling through the city.
On our last full day we enjoyed a trip to a family owned traditional aceto balsamico business on the recommendation of Luca and Charlotte. It was a wonderful tour and we left with not only an appreciation for this amazing product, but also with a boot filled with wonderful balsamico products to take home.
On site we participated in a cooking class with Charlotte, where she passed on her vast knowledge of Italian cooking. I must admit I was at first a bit concerned to have cooking lessons from a Danish Chef and not from an Italian Grandma, but taking lessons from Charlotte who moved to Italy for love at 18 was all parts of amazing. Not only does she has an extensive knowledge of the Italian kitchen, she also has the added advantage of having an outsiders perspective - combining tradition with her own touch - like the pear, walnut and ricotta filled tortolloni - yummy. I loved hearing her stories, in particularly of how she gathers with 8 local women for a day of tortellini making in the run up to Christmas.
If you visit during the warmer months, make sure you plan for plenty of pool time and get in contact with Charlotte for other tours that she offers, like to breakfast at a parmesan factory. She mentioned a 5 day food tour through the region that she offers and I am trying to figure out how on earth I can get back there for 5 days without kids. Anyone want to babysit?
I was honestly sad to leave. Not only was I more relaxed that I have been all year, but I really felt a connection to Luca and Charlotte and I was sad to say goodbye. We all agreed we will be back at some point, and even suggested it become our yearly tradition. Pamela and I can also see potential in a Mum’s escape, and agree it would be a great place to bring a group of 6 or so other women to enjoy a long weekend of amazing food, wine and company. Anyone up for it?
We advise first time visitors to Due Papaveri not to make the additional trek into Bologna, it is for one too far and secondly for me personally way too busy - a big contrast to the peaceful secludedness of Due Papaveri - which in my opinion just doesn’t mix with a big city experience. If I had my time over, I would spend my time exploring with the help of Charlotte and perhaps pop down to Modena or another small town. Oh—and did I fail to mention—getting an onsite massage for 35 Euros per hour or doing yoga with Luca?
Yes, maybe you’ll want to just stay on site as much as possible and enjoy all Due Papaveri has to offer!