“Not all those who wander are lost.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien
Dogs really understand the art of wandering. It has much more depth than being lost, and we took this onboard when we found ourselves off the main road in search of some lunch on the trip from Mieders, Austria to Florence, Italy. With stomachs grumbling, we quickly tried to find parking at the first place we saw after venturing off the Autostrade (Highway). The small pizzeria looked nice enough and would certainly fill a hunger hole, but just as we went to back the car into what was seemingly the last spot in the entire town, a car zipped in behind us and left us searching once more.
Sigh, back onto the road to keep looking.
A small sign saying ‘Agrotourism’ and pictures of cows popped up as we went a few more miles down the road. Thinking it was probably a small cheese making farm, it may have some snacks to keep us going. Then the adventure began as we kept seeing the sign but seemingly didn’t get any closer to it. Just when we thought we must have missed a turn the sign would pop again. And then a turn off to a dirt road that became steeper and rougher had us thinking, this can’t be right, time to turn back. We were even off of the GPS map…
As we were navigating a three point turn, we noticed a small handpainted sign way up the hill and a farmhouse. Ok, one last try, let’s check it out.
And then the wonder of travel unveiled a present right before us. The road opened up to a beautiful property with fields and an old farmhouse. We spotted a couple of cars and motorbikes and began to think we were onto something special. It was. The agrotourism initiative, as it is defined most broadly, involves any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch and we had stumbled on a wonderful example with Il Passeggere.
We took Tikka out for sniff and a pee and wondered if we’d be able to get a small bite. The main stone building is a huge restaurant with gorgeous big windows through which you can gaze over the farm while stuffing your belly. A quick reply from the server ‘yes, of course you can bring your dog inside’ and we were soon sitting by those very windows with much more than a small bite in front of us.
It was a Sunday that we came across Il Passeggere just in time for a typical, slow Italian Sunday lunch. No menus, just a small chalkboard with a short list of items which we soon discovered was a seven course set meal (charcuterie, soup, pasta, vegetables, meat, dessert and coffee with biscotti). And wine was included for under 30 Euros each. We made out a few words but most of the meal was a surprise and it couldn’t have been nicer. A perfect introduction to eating in Itay.
After our long lunch with Tikka patiently waiting under the table we went outside to explore and visit the donkeys, throw the ball in an open field and have a short nap in the grass. What a lovely day, all made possible by someone that took our parking spot and left us to wander the countryside.
If you are traveling with your dog in this region, Il Passeggere makes for a wonderful stop to refuel along your journey, or as a visit from Florence to have a great meal and explore the paths and hills with your dog.
How to get to Il Passeggere here.
Read about our next adventure in Florence…