Sometimes navigators take you to the least expected side roads, most often the paths less trodden, which can end up in harrowing conditions and that’s the time when you swear you will never take those shortcuts again. But unpredictably, at the end of it all, you can be rewarded with a picturesque view. There are two roads that take you to Agriturismo Regio Tratturo, the backdoor through a bumpy road amidst stretches of hilly pastures or the main one which simply cuts through the principal road of the town. Obviously, I took the backdoor and left through the front door.
The 211-kilometer Regio Tratturo is considered the second longest and most important path in Italy, after Tratturo Magno, used by shepherds to move herds and flocks from one pasture to another. It is a very long route with a wide dirt path that starts from the mountains of Abruzzo until the flatlands of Puglia passing through Molise and Campania. These passages are completely immersed in natural scenery that have maintained its beauty for thousands of years. In Campania, the route covers a short stretch in Sannio and five municipalities of Irpinia, which includes Ariano Irpino which is where Agriturismo Regio Tratturo is located.
Built from the ground by the Di Gruttola family in 1911, the farm has seen considerable growth through the family’s hard work. Devotion to agriculture remained in the blood and when Saverio inherited the farm, he put his knowledge to good use by creating bull stud station for the entire rural community, an idea that stemmed out from the usual problem of high cost of keeping bulls in farmhouses. Years later, Saverio and Angela’s daughter Antonietta took over the farmhouse. Together with her husband Rinaldo, they decided to continue the work of Saverio.
At Agriturismo Regio Tratturo, Antonietta and her family preserve the genuine essence of farm-grown ingredients in her kitchen. She is an excellent cook while Rinaldo takes care of the work around the farm including making his own prosciutto. Everything that you eat at the farmhouse is homemade with ingredients that they grow themselves. The farmhouse is located in the family’s 25 hectares of land at 650 meters above sea level in an area with a strong tradition of cereal cultivation and animal husbandry.
They have a production of wheat, corn, barley and legumes (broad beans, chickpeas and chickling peas) while some vegetable plots are dedicated to the fresh produce. There are rows of Ravace olive trees, a native cultivar and forty native fruit trees of apples, crabapples, quince, pears, plums, cherries, apricots, figs and medlar, some of which are in danger of extinction. In addition to the plants and trees, the farm breeds bees for their own production of honey, rabbits, birds, pigs, sheep and goats. These include the rare breeds of the area, Valfortorina goats and Laticauda sheep, which are in high risk of extinction. Since 1996, the farm follows the principles of organic farming, ensuring the quality of products in complete accordance with the environment, human health, plants and animals.
Agriturismo Regio Tratturo offers four rooms for the guests and a restaurant wherein Antonietta and her staff create outstanding dishes of the local tradition prepared with the products grown in the farm. Appetizers include salumi, sage fritters, omelettes with thyme accompanied with traditional baked bread with wild herbs and Ravece extra virgin olive oil of their own production; handmade pasta prepared with Senatore Cappelli flour like orecchiette, cavatelli, fusilli and cavaiuoli, local ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese; while the typical Arianese meat dishes included coniglio (rabbit) alla cacciatora, spezzatino di vitello (veal), sausages, potatoes and peppers, while the desserts can be crostata with quince or other fruits in season, zeppole with their honey or whatever it is that Antoinetta whips up in her kitchen. A complete menu costs around €30 and its open for lunch from Thursday to Sunday. Reservation is a must.
Agriturismo Regio Tratturo
Contrada Camporeale, 157
83031 Ariano Irpino (AV), Italy
Tel: 0825 881407