Farmhouse stays or agriturismi are a delightfully popular Italian thing, allowing tourists and travellers to get off the beaten path and explore the countryside, pay reasonable B&B rates, and often dine on delicious rustic cuisine (almost always characterised by hearty portions).
Il Bagolaro is a charming farmhouse retreat and restaurant, a 40 minute drive from Rome, situated in the Sabine Hills on the edge of the quaint town of Nerola and not far from Rieti.
No wonder it’s a popular spot for weddings, but you can also opt for a more informal experience as well.
Il Bagolaro vaunts a lovely marigold yellow farmhouse, where the owners live, next to a magnificent tree – the eponymous Bagolaro – which is a 500 year-old oak just generating good vibes.
Standing in pride of place on the lawn, its serene spirit extends to the excellent home-cooked food, the languid swimming pool, and comfy beds in a private annex beyond a row of trees.
A weekend here is a real escape thanks to the garden layout of the guest rooms, which have peaceful views of the olive groves and even their own front doors opening directly onto nature. It’s also two or three degrees cooler than Rome which is more than welcome in the summer months.
The extensive olive groves are big clue about the other main business here – in fact Il Bagolaro has also been producing a protected type of olive oil since the 1950s. The olive terrain today stretches over 150 hectares and produces a locally recognised oil ‘vintage’ – Olio DOP della Sabina.
The kitchens are also busy here producing jams, patès, roast vegetables stored under oil, fruits in syrup and even chocolate made with olive oil. There are also wonderful artisan salamis, including the extremely tasty ciauscolo, a spreadable cured salami paste typical of Central Italy.
On my visit to Il Bagolaro, I didn’t stay the night but I dd take a peek at the charming rooms, and then sat down for supper with our host to get a real taste of this corner of Lazio.
We began with a hearty round of antipasti or starter dishes which could probably have served a small army. From the sweet saltiness of the ciauscolo, spread on wood-fired bread, to doorstep bruschette and other local meats and cheeses, we got off to a great start.
I in particular loved the coppa and orange wild rice dish (pictured below). Coppa is a typical Italian salami made from the neck and a part of the shoulder of the pig. It’s a strong, tasty salami usually mixed with fennel seeds, and this was set off wonderfully by the fresh orange slices.
Next up, we tasted an exquisite potato tartlet, which was wrapped with slices of pancetta. Just delicious.
After that, we passed to a popular local starter, gnocchi alla puttanesca.
These gnocchi were a bit different to ones I had tried before, being made directly from pizza dough. That’s right – the chef just pinches thumbfuls of pizza dough and dumps them in hot water to cook. They’re a tiny bit heavier than traditional potato gnocchi but great with strong flavours. The puttanesca sauce combined home grown tomatoes with chili peppers for a great kick,
We rounded the dinner off with lamb and pork cutlets, all washed down with lashings of red wine, and then closed with a homemade strawberry trifle.
The dining experience was great and I would highly recommend calling Il Bagolaro to book dinner some time if you’re in the area. Even better, go for the half-board option and stay for the weekend – you know that pool is just calling you!
Rooms start at a very reasonable €70 per night for a double room plus breakfast for two, with half board and even full board options available. Book directly with the structure here or check out more images and reviews on Booking here.
Il Bagolaro is still open for the rest of the summer and autumn but closes over the winter, so don’t delay!
Testaccina was a guest of Il Bagolaro
IL Bagolaro | Loc. Silvestri snc 00017 | Nerola (RM) | +39 0774 644029