Barter B&Bs in Italy

You can sleep for free in Italy at these B&Bs open to barter deals

On the heels of the successful "B&B Barter Week" (usually in November) organized by comes a year-round service, a website where the owners of Italian B&Bs—and affittacamere (rental rooms), apartments, agriturismi (farm stay), and vacation rentals—can post offers of free rooms in exchange for some service or good: At last count, there were more than 750 opportunities scattered across every Italian region

OK, so it's not free-free; but you won't have to pay cash for the room. Just offer some skill, manual labor, or object in return.

Have mad HTML/CSS skills? There's a B&B in central Venice that will let you stay for free if you build them a new website. Computer-illiterate? No problem; they're also looking for someone to repaint the rooms.

In fact, any sort of handyman skills are in high demand and you could stay just about anywhere. Thousands of properties are looking for a bit of carpentry, plumbing, gardening, electrical work, painting, masonry, or general work to be done around the place. (Undoubtedly, part of this has to do with the Byzantine paperwork and requirements for getting any sort of "official" contracting work done in Italy.)

But you don't have to be good with your hands. There's an agriturismo in Tuscany offering two free nights to anyone who can provide them with artistic photos and videos of their property for their brochures and website.

Another near Siena will let you stay for free if you perform a concert or put on a show—yes, you can literally sing for your supper (because this one includes meals).

Some requests will be a bit hard for a non-Italian to fulfill, such as those who want furnishings, a working moped, or a swap for a stay at your B&B. There as even one in Sicily that wants a pony (girl ponies only, please—though they will also settle for a Sardegnan donkey, or some geese and ducks).

So, no, you probably can't provide a woman's bicycle to the owner of that B&B near the Vatican in Rome—but the good news is that she's also willing to trade for a selection of wines and oils, or a baritone ukelele (she already owns a soprano one—which is shame, since I actually have one of those I'm not using).

The site is currently in Italian only, but if you use the Google Chrome browser you already know it gives you the pop-up option of instantly translating any foreign-language page.

When you land on a property's description page, the barter "wants" are listed in the right column, just below the general contact information.

Have fun, and happy B&B bartering!

Tips & links

Barter / work stay links & resources

Other lodging links & resources
Useful Italian
Useful Italian phrases and terms for lodging

English (Inglese) Italian (Italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a hotel un albergo oon al-BEAR-go
...a B&B un bed-and-breakfast oon bet hand BREK-fust
...a rental room un'affittacamera oon ah-feet-ah-CAH-mair-ra apartment for rent un appartamento oon ah-part-tah-MENT-toh
...a farm stay un agriturismo oon ah-gree-tour-EES-moh
...a hostel un ostello oon oh-STEHL-loh
How much is...? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
a single room una singola OO-nah SEEN-go-la
double room for single use [will often be offered if singles are unavailable] doppia uso singola DOPE-pee-ya OO-so SEEN-go-la
a double room with two beds una doppia con due letti OO-nah DOPE-pee-ya cone DOO-way LET-tee
a double room with one big bed una matrimoniale OO-nah mat-tree-moan-nee-YAAL-lay
triple room una tripla OO-nah TREE-plah
with private bathroom con bagno cone BAHN-yoh
without private bathroom senza bagno [they might say con bagno in comune—"with a communal bath"] SEN-zah BAHN-yoh
for one night per una notte pair OO-nah NOH-tay
for two nights per due notti pair DOO-way NOH-tee
for three nights per tre notti pair tray NOH-tee
Is breakfast included? É incluso la prima colazione? ay in-CLOO-soh lah PREE-mah coal-laht-zee-YOAN-nay
Is there WiFi? C'é WiFi? chay WHY-fy?
May I see the room? Posso vedere la camera? POH-soh veh-DAIR-eh lah CAH-mair-rah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Is there a cheaper one? C'é una più economica? chay OO-nah pew eh-ko-NO-mee-kah

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