How did you start this project?
“Like many people, we thought about a life change and as vegans, about a project that would allow us to live not against our ideas and ideals.”
What jobs did you do before?
“Stefania owned a vegan natural food store in Milan. Luca is still employed in an IT company, in Milan.”
Where did you get the idea of a vegan agriturismo?
“We attempted to bring together a lifestyle less frenetic than city life, a job that could support us without interfering with our lifestyle and even better, one that could give us an opportunity to promote ideals we believe in.”
Were you already experienced in the business?
“Absolutely no! We are total beginners!”
Are there many vegan agriturismi in Italy or is it a new trend?
“When we started this project in 2004 nobody was doing it. Only a few vegetarian places. Now there are many vegan B&B’s, a few vegetarian agriturismi with vegan options and vegan agriturismi that offer meals but no accomodation. As far as we know, there are just 2-3 vegan-only agriturismi offering both meals and accomodation.
Were you both previously vegan or did you become vegan afterwards?
“Yes, we are both vegan since the beginning of 2003.”
Are you thinking of expanding your business into other fields?
“Our original idea, other than hospitality, was to add a cultural side to it (cooking courses, phytotherapy, synergic garden, etc…) and the sale of natural products, either wild or cultivated by us, and sometimes transformed. This is the project as a whole, we don’t think we are going further than that for now.”
Where are you from?
“We are both from Milan.”
Best time of the year to visit Il Borgo di Tara?
“All seasons, really. It depends on what you are looking for. Summer for sure, with its long days and hot weather, it’s best for walks in the woods and be under the sun. Fall is special for lovers of the colors of nature and Porcini mushrooms, native of Val di Tara. Winter is for quiet, especially when it snows and silence is king. In the background, the crackling of the wood in the fireplace or in the kitchen. Spring is to see a flower bloom everyday, nature awakening, buds on the trees, first days of warm weather. Things you don’t notice anymore in the city. Every time of the year is best to come and taste seasonal cuisine.”
Do you hold workshops and vegan cooking classes?
“We didn’t do it yet. We will and we have thought about how to: few people and experiential courses, that is, everybody makes a dish and shares it, to learn hands-on, share experiences instead of just watching a guest chef.”
Do you cook or use an outside chef?
“We do it. It’s a way to take care of the guests and have everybody try out that vegan cooking doesn’t require a Michelin-starred chef….also, we like to be in the kitchen!”
Are you from vegan/vegetarian families?
“Not really. To this day, none of our relatives is veg.”
Do you do other jobs or quit everything to dedicate your time to the agriturismo?
“Stefania dedicates full-time to this project, she has been living in Tara for some years. Luca it’s in it part-time since he works in Milan a few days of the week, but supports it full-time!”
What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
“We leave that to your imagination 🙂 A part from the jokes, Luca likes to read about agriculture, animal rights, macrobiotic and spends a lot of time in front of the fireplace. Stefania takes care of the animals, likes to read and does Tai Chi. She reads a little bit about everything, from esoterism to novels. Movies are a passion of hers also.”
A vegan place you would suggest in Italy or abroad?
“We did not have any personal experience with vegan places abroad. In Italy, we would recommend Gusto Arsizio, it started as a vegan deli and it’s now a restaurant. It is in Busto Arsizio, in the province of Varese.”
Are you thinking of getting more animals?
“As vegans and antispecists we do not encourage having pets, so all of our non-human friends come from rescue missions from death or a life similar to prison. That said and according to our means, we’re obviously happy to improve the quality of life of as many friends as possible. For example, we take care of two horses that live free in the fields nearby. We’ve also learned that some animals won’t adapt to our project, so we declined a few adoption requests.”
What are the names of your 4-legged friends?
“Gaga’ is a cat (kinda nervous one), with us since 2007. Mister Cane (a dog) was abandoned around here by a hunter, he’s with us since 2012. Inti is a sardinian horse, former champion, he’s with us since 2012. Ismail is an arabian horse, she was a breeder, with us since 2012. Matteone is the old family guy, with us since the end of 2013, since when Stefania pulled him out from the basement in which he lived. Special mention for Spino: he was our old friend, with us since 2003, one of the reasons Tara exists…unfortunately he passed a few days ago, ciao Spino.”
Anything to add?
Want to know more? Visit Agriturismovegan.itby