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NY Times explores "albergo diffuso"

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Rooms in Sextantio, an Italian albergo diffuso.


In “Saving Towns by Filling Rooms in Italy,” New York Times reporter Gisela Williams examines the “albergo diffuso” or “scattered hotel” and the role this hospitality concept has played in bringing tourism to Italy's small, isolated villages.


The idea is the brainchild of Giancarlo Dall’Ara, an Italian hotel marketing consultant inspired by a visit to a remote village in Friuli, writes Williams. She explains:


"The principle is that rooms, decorated in a consistently authentic and local style, are scattered throughout different buildings within the town but overseen by one manager. A traditional breakfast might be served at a local cafe or in the kitchen of one of the local houses, or delivered to your room. Call it a B & B village.

Like a holiday apartment, an albergo diffuso allows travelers to imbed themselves in village life, but the bonus is that it offers the basic services of a hotel. There is a reception or central area to report to — sometimes a cafe, other times a shop — where a manager is available to help with questions, recommendations or bookings."

As one former guest explained to the Times, “We loved living next door to locals with their dogs and their washing lines. Scenes from life!”

Perhaps more interesting than the article is the accompanying slide show depicting rooms in hotels, like the Sextantio, scattered throughout medieval hamlets. The scenes show visitors walking craggy, time-worn streets and feasting in seemingly ancient rooms. 


According to the article, there are now more than 40 albergi diffusi in Italy, and the trend is emerging in Spain and Croatia as well. So, what's your take on this idea?