Italy offers some of the world’s most significant cultural and historical experiences. But is the protection of Italy’s heritage at the heart of your travel decisions? It certainly should be, especially given how easy it is to travel the country with appreciation and conservation in mind! Here’s our guide to eco-friendly travel in Italy.
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism (sustainable travel) is about bringing conservation, tourism and the local community together to promote a sustainable travel industry. The idea is to minimise the ecological impact you leave behind, and to support local industry and culture. Not only does this promote understanding and respect for Italy’s centuries-old history, but it also contributes financially to the conservation of its cultural heritage. It’s about creating a global culture of curiosity and esteem for local identity. Ecotourism, then, is at the heart of a more authentic Italian experience. There’s lots you can do to contribute to eco-friendly travel in Italy!
This one is simple, especially in Italy. Most cities offer public transport systems. Buses, trams, water taxis or the metro – all leave have less impact than renting a car. Better yet, take the opportunity to walk or cycle – something that’s not always possible back home. If you do plan to rent a car, request a hybrid or the most fuel-efficient model you can find. If you’d like to go the extra mile, book a direct flight, which is more fuel efficient. Plus, you get to skip that panic-stricken connecting flight.
Eco-Friendly Accommodation & Agritourism
There are several avenues to consider when it comes to where you stay. You could go the whole hog and consider a farm-stay at one of Italy’s official agritourism spots. Agritourism involves any stay on farms or ranches, and staying with locals in more rural parts of the country. See how they make mozzarella di bufala or help harvest olives for oil. Not only does it promote appreciation for local production techniques and produce, it promotes off-the-beaten-track experiences of Italy and is one of the biggest travel trends this decade. If the countryside isn’t your thing, turn your attention to your hotel. For example, request that your linen and towels not be changed every day to save water, or try to book at a certified green hotel that adheres to European eco-friendly practices. Find your eco-friendly dream accommodation at www.legambienteturismo.it.
In Italy, eco-friendly dining has never been easier. Who wouldn’t want to eat fresh ingredients grown locally and plucked straight from the town’s surrounding fields (or sea)? There are whole movements dedicated to the idea. Slow Food, founded by Carlo Petrini, is a non-profit organisation promoting local, seasonal ingredients and traditional cooking, while the Kilometre Zero movement promotes self-growing and ingredient sourcing from as nearby as possible. Eating like this is part of the food culture in Italy, so finding a restaurant that adheres is easy! You can also head to your local Eataly market for the real deal.
A low-impact holiday does not mean low-impact memories! Visit www.responsibletravel.com for more tips on eco-friendly travel in Italy. For more info on what Italy is doing to conserve its bounty, read our article on Fondo Ambiente Italia or Eataly.