Starting up an agriturismo or Bed & Breakfast
Regularly we receive requests from people who want to leave their home country forever to start their own agriturismo or B&B in Umbria. This is a great idea with many opportunities, but it is not easy, be aware of bureaucracy! Below you will find an indication of the permits and regulations you have to comply with.
Agriturismo:Registration as a farmer
On the basis of the Italian law only a “coltivatore diretto” or “imprenditore agricolo professionale”, that is: a farmer can run an agriturismo. Running an agriturismo offers you many opportunities and privileges, such as less taxes, more subsidies (although the EU subsidies are almost finished now) and training courses.
You register as coltivatore diretto with the Comunità Montana. There they judge if you are suitable on the basis on the land you work on and farm activities you want to do. Following a kind of score system they evaluate if you will be working at least 104 working days per year in agriculture. If you will and you register as farmer you have to apply for a permit for agriturismo at the Regione dell'Umbria. There they judge your application also on the basis of criteria and tables. Then you have to hand in all you building permits and the hygienic and fire safety standards of your premises are checked. If you want to run a restaurant you will have to keep animals (at least 30% of the products served in the restaurant have to come from your farm, and the rest from other local producers).the maximum allowed number of guests in an agriturismo is 30, in the restaurant no more than 60 persons. If you have more guests in the restaurant you have to separate it from the agriturismo (and pay more taxes). The restaurant has to comply with the HACCP directive from the European Union.
The Regione (its competent bodies are called SAT or ARUSIA) check if everything is ok from a technical point of view. The application procedure takes about three months.
Than the fire brigade will do a check, sent by the commune which also has to release a permit. A communal commission will decide if you will get the permit and if so you will be allowed into the register of “operatori agrituristici”!
Alternatives to Agriturismo
If you don't have enough land to be a farmer or don't qualify for running an agriturismo you could register at the local Chamber of Commerce as "Country House" , casa per ferie (holiday apartments) or as Bed & Breakfast . Here you have to comply with the building permits, safety, hygienic and fire regulations. If you're not a farmer you have to follow a course and if you want to run a restaurant you have to get you REC diploma or find someone with all the right qualifications to run the restaurant in your place. You could also run a small Bed & breakfast: up to 3 rooms (maximum) you don't need a special permit or VAT number, as it is considered as a supplement to the family income.
Who can help?
The information above is general, every case has to be treated individually. If you are looking for a house or estate and seriously want to know your chances in running it as an agriturismo we can put you into contact with people who went through this procedure and who can help you. You also will need an agronomist and a surveyor to value the property. We can help you in finding the right persons.