A fourteenth-century monastery and Gino Girolomoni tied together by a red string. How the monastery became the heart of a sustainable rebirth. We interviewed Maria Girolomoni and discovered this magical place in the hills of Urbino, Marche Region (Italy).
A monastery of 1380, basically fallen to pieces, comes back to life and becomes a unique organic farm stay.
The 14th century Montebello monastery
We’ll tell you something about Gino Girolomoni, visionary and father of the Italian organic agriculture. Here you can admire the beauty and charm of the ancient monastery of Montebello in the countryside of Urbino. Taste the pasta with ancient grains from the ground to the table. Then, visit the pasta factory, which from the end of the seventies transforms the grains of the Cesana highland into organic pasta.
Lunch at the Girolomoni Agritourism
We are among the soft, pretty green hills of Isola del Piano, fifteen kilometers from Urbino. Gino came to this place when he was only 18 years old and fell in love with it. Later, he decided to take care of it. “Earth is the mother who feeds you and you must guard“. So the Italian pioneer of organic farming decided to follow his dream. He went back to the land and resurrected the ancient monastery of Montebello to make it the heart of a peasant rebirth. “I don’t think organic farming will save the world but I’m committed to it to be on the side of those who don’t destroy it” – said Gino.
Montebello ancient monastery turned into biological agritourism
Today the family runs the organic farm stay with the same philosophy and offers a unique experience of diving and connection with nature. All around, more than two thousand hectares of fascinating, unspoiled nature. The Forest Demeniale of Cesane extends between Isola del Piano, Fossombrone and Urbino.
Landscape of Girolomoni biological agritourism
We interviewed Maria Girolomoni, owner of the organic farm stay and daughter of Gino, here’s what she told us:
How was born the Girolomoni Farm Stay?
In the ’70s Gino and Tullia Girolomoni decided to live in the Monastery of Montebello. At that time, there were only ruins. Initially, they lived in the rebuilt refectory. Then, in 40 years, they raise it completely. The first bricks were put in 1971, the last in 2011.
At the same time, they structured the pasta-producing Girolomoni cooperative (first to do organic agriculture in Italy), whose members were and are the farmers who donate the wheat.
Not by chance, Gino Girolomoni is considered the father of Italian organic farming.
Girolomoni biological pasta
At the end of the 90s, both the Inn and the Monastery were raised. During the same years, they built the farmhouse accommodation and the inn with the restaurant. In this way, they could welcome those who wanted to know this lifestyle. They allowed tasting the organic pasta. In so doing, they closed the production cycle and gave the chance to live the spirit of the place and the nature that surrounds it.
What good green actions have you undertaken?
Biological pasta of the agritourism
What do your guests appreciate the most?
The beauty of the place, the entrepreneurial and human history thank to which the project was born and carried on. Also, they like the beauty and charm of the Monastery and the tremendous meals that we offer in the restaurant.
The beauty of the Montebello monastery where the agritourism is located
Which organic products do you produce?
The Tenuta di Montebello, a farm belonging to the Girolomoni family, rears cattle and produces cereals. Subsequently, they give the products to the Cooperativa Girolomoni, which transforms them into pasta.
Can guests participate in farm life?
The experience we propose is the visit to the pasta factory and the monastery, which we name “educational farm” in our sites.
Moreover, on request, we organize e-bike excursions and short trekking on the hill for small groups. In the case of individual guests, we give them directions on how to move.
What is the must-do experience near the farm?
La Cesana, which is the upland that connects us to Urbino (15 km) and Fossombrone (15 km), is dotted with paths that you can walk or cycle. La Gola del Furlo (25 min from us) is a beautiful natural park with many marked paths.
Gola del Furlo, photo by Stefania Cimarelli, on Wikimedia
The natural parks and nature areas that you can’t miss near the organic farm are:
- I Monti Delle Cesane, where the accommodation is located.
- The Monte Catria, the cradle of the millenary Monastery of Fonte Avellana.
- Monte Nerone, with breathtaking views in all seasons.
- The State Reserve of Gola del Furlo is a suggestive natural canyon crossed by the river Candigliano.
- L‘Alpe Della Luna, with the magical landscape that inspired Piero Della Francesca.
- The Monte San Bartolo Nature Park, an authentic paradise, with unspoiled corners of coastline, small villages and a thousand views of the sea.
Monte San Bartolo, photo by Vid Pogacnik, via Wikipedia
- The Caves of Frasassi, an underground wonder that will leave you breathless with its spires and natural pinnacles.
- The Natural Park of Conero (Sirolo and the two Sisters), an amazing landscape overlooking the sea.
- The Sibillini National Park, a magical place rich in history, folklore, and legends.