Trade tree-cutting, a bike or Springsteen memorabilia for a hotel stay in Italy

The Local Italy
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Trade tree-cutting, a bike or Springsteen memorabilia for a hotel stay in Italy
Fancy a free stay in an Italian hotel? File photo: Pexels

From November 13th-19th, you can stay for free in one of thousands of Italian B&Bs. The catch? You need to 'barter' with the hoteliers, offering them a product or service in exchange for your visit.


November 2017 sees the ninth edition of Barter Week, when guests and hotel owners trade skills or goods for accommodation.

Plenty of hotels have made public requests, listing the offers they're willing to accept in return for a few night's board – but guests are also encouraged to take the initiative and suggest their own offer, which a hotel may respond to.

So if you've got material goods to offer a B&B, or a skill they might find valuable, you can search the Barter Week website to find a hotel that's open to offers.

Wine and olive oils are the most popular requests in the food and drinks category, with plenty of hotels also looking for local produce from guests' home countries or regions.

Language lessons, translation, and help with practical tasks such as gardening, laundry or olive harvesting can all be given as payment for a hotel stay.

Or perhaps you've got some spare children's books, an old bicycle or some antique mirrors that are just gathering dust? All of those are on the wishlist too.

Una Casa nel Bosco near the Terme di Genova spa is seeking lumberjacks, while La Scalinatella in Rome offers bed and breakfast in exchange for extra virgin olive oil and vegetables. 

With a more niche request, Candy's Room B&B in Pesaro is seeking extra Bruce Springsteen memorabilia to decorate its chalet dedicated to The Boss. 

And some establishments are looking to diversify their skillsets: Il Palagetto in Florence will host Japanese guests who can give lessons in origami, while Up Bologna would like accordion tuition. 

The sharing economy, with sites like Couchsurfing and Airbnb, has boomed over the past few years.

Barter Week began when VillaVillaColle, a B&B in the heart of a medieval Sardinian village, was the first in Italy to start offering to swap accommodation for goods or services. The idea soon spread to others, with thousands now taking part in National Barter Week and 800 accepting barters all-year-round.

The organizers argue that taking cash out of the equation puts the focus back on "the human aspect of hospitality", and that by giving the opportunity to travel to those who may not normally be able to afford it, barterers can "take a journey of self-discovery".


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