Italian concept of “diffuse hotel” to promote
guest stays in local communities
Albergo Diffuso Japan – Official Site
What is “Albergo Diffuso”?
In Italian, “albergo diffuso” literally means “diffuse hotel.” The term refers to a way of revitalizing the economy of small towns and communities by utilizing vacant homes dispersed around the town for tourist accommodation and operating them collectively as a single hotel business.
This idea was first proposed by Giancarlo Dall’Ara, a professor who has worked exhaustively for many years on local revitalization projects in Italy as a town planning consultant. The idea of “albergo diffuso” arose amidst efforts to revive towns and communities that faced the risk of total abandonment following a severe earthquake in 1976 in the northern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The idea was to renovate deserted houses and vacant shops and set up reception, dining room, and other functions in separate, dispersed buildings to create a single hotel facility. Under this system, guests stroll around the town independently, adding vitality to the local community. In a sense the concept is the opposite of creating an ordinary hotel, in which a variety of facilities are confined within a single large building.Click here to learn more
Let’s go! AD-certified Hotels
Yakage-ya Inn and Suites
Yakage-cho, Oda-gun, Okayama City
In 2018, Yakage-ya became the first “albergo diffuso” hotel in Japan certified by the Associazione Internazionale Alberghi Diffusi (“International Association of Diffuse Hotels”). It is centered around an old private house built over 200 years ago, located within the main building of the hotel. The hotel, which straddles the old Sanyo Highway (sanyodo), features a number of machiya townhouses, with their unique elongated structures known as “eel beds,” spread out over a wide area. On the side of the road where the main building (honkan) stands there are six guest rooms, a courtyard evocative of the Edo period (1603-1867), a kura storehouse, and also a Japanese-style restaurant “Kachofugetsu” that utilizes local ingredients, as well as a café/bar “Ebisu.” On the other side of the old highway, there are eight guest rooms, including two Japanese-style rooms, and the “Yu no Hana” onsen hot springs facility, which boasts an open-air bath (rotenburo) and hot stone spa (ganbanyoku).
The newlyweds held two ideals about how they wanted to live. Firstly, they wanted to live somewhere that allowed them a high quality of life; secondly, they wanted to earn a living by offering hospitality in their own way. In 1985, five years after getting married, they purchased a trattoria. Over a four-year period, they then worked to convert and renovate 12 rooms without a bathroom into six guest rooms and one apartment. Two years later, they bought two more rooms. All these facilities later became part of the “albergo diffuso” (AD) hotel. The husband, who embodies the spirit of the “albergo diffuso” movement, currently serves as the vice president of the Associazione Nazionale Alberghi Diffusi (“National Association of Diffuse Hotels”). The wife, who is more reserved, embellishes her extraordinary local dishes with flowers. Set in the village of Palazzuolo Sul Senio, once a vacation and health resort, the couple enjoy their life in the village with great passion, happy to share their time with the travelers and tourists who visit. (Member of the Associazione Nazionale Alberghi Diffusi since 2004)
La Piana dei Mulini
This “albergo diffuso” (AD) originated with a stone building constructed in the late 1700s that originally served as a water mill and dye works for wool. The place was first opened to guests in 2002, but after the owner encountered the AD philosophy in 2006 the hotel became an AD (despite the fact that he had never previously belonged to any type of hotel association). In 2011, the hotel was awarded a Premio Ruota D’oro Stanze Italiane (“gold wheel award for Italian-style rooms”) by the Touring Club Italiano. Also, the extensive and beautiful land on which the AD is built was selected in 2016 by “La Repubblica” magazine as one of the 20 finest rural locations for weddings in Italy. In addition to fine dining, the hotel and the locality offer a wide range of possibilities for sports and leisure activities, including canoeing, hiking, baking workshops, olive oil workshops, truffle hunting, and archeological site touring. (Member of the Associazione Nazionale Alberghi Diffusi since 2007. *Opened as an accommodation facility in 2002.)