The alberghi diffusi model is revitalising dwindling communities across Italy by repurposing their unused buildings into ‘scattered hotels’. Our writer lives like a local in a few of these hamlet gems. Scroll down for more
It was an unusual invasion: well-to-do people, most speaking strange tongues, and pulling their belongings behind them on little wheels. Arriving as couples, families, groups of friends, they spent money in the village shop and ate at its few restaurants. Feathers were occasionally ruffled when an outsider sat in some local’s chair at the bar but, overall, these “tourists” were seen as a good thing. This is not somewhere remote in the developing world, however, but Tuscany, just a few years ago. People often fail to grasp how much more there is to this region than Chiantishire and coach tours. Tuscany is bigger than Wales and almost as mountainous, with plenty of places where no one’s heard of Waitrose or – until recently – wheelie bags.