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It’s ‘Barter Week’ At B&Bs Across Italy

You can swap a night’s stay for a bottle of olive oil.

This could be you and your hosts!
This could be you and your hosts! Filippo Napoletano/Public Domain

Feeling the sudden need to split for a bit? Does the idea of a relaxing in an Italian bed and breakfast, sipping on wine, gazing over insanely verdant and benevolent hillsides, and doing all of this absolutely as soon as possible appeal to you at all? And do you have in your possession, say, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, lentils, beans, and/or chickpeas?

Next week is your lucky week. From November 14th through the 20th, thousands of B&Bs across Italy are eschewing the monetary system and instead trading their hospitality for various concrete goods and services, like vegetables, photography, and vintage gramophones, the Local reports.

The initiative, called “Barter Week,” was inspired by VillaVillaColle, a Sardinian B&B that began accepting swaps in lieu of payment eight years ago. Others cottoned onto the idea, and the idea slowly expanded into a bonafide movement. Now you can barter your way into a night or two’s sleep anywhere from Messina to Milan.

That is, as long as you have the right stuff. Many proprietors seem to be interested in local produce, wine, and olive oil. A lot would also love professional-quality photos and videos, musical performances, and iPhone 6s. Others are looking for deep cuts: sushi-making lessons; “CLOCKS… NOT MODERN”; or a secondhand Mercedes (which gets you an entire 12-bed villa for at least a week). Scrolling through these eclectic listings makes Italy seem very zany and fun—it’s almost like a vacation on its own.

If you’re interested, head over to the Barter Week website, where you can read what different establishments are looking for, as well as list your own particular set of skills and expendable possessions. And even if you just can’t quite skip town right now, over 800 Italian proprietors are open to barter all year round. Wouldn’t it be great to take a trip soon—say, on January 20th?