“Pet friendly” seems to be a buzz word thrown about quite a bit lately, here in Italy. But Pet and Breakfast Guesthouse in Monferrato, gets it right.
It just so happens to be the perfect backdrop for some lovely pet photos, too!
Italy in general is much more pet friendly than the US. It’s not uncommon to find a pup fixated on getting some pasta scraps underfoot indoors at a restaurant. You’ll see them on the public transit. They even come along as folks grab a mid-morning pick-me-up espresso at the bar.
What’s weird for me is seeing dogs tag along while pet parents do their browsing in stores. They’re pretty much allowed everywhere except for museums, the post office and grocery stores. But there are even some express grocery shops with a sign on the door welcoming pets for a quick run. For someone who hates making trips, it’s a godsend to be able to pop in and grab some eggs after dog park time.
But, just because a place claims to be “pet friendly” and welcomes pets, doesn’t always mean it’s an ideal situation for pet owners.
So imagine having two rowdy Catahoulas. They aren’t happy on leash all the time. So if you say you’re pet friendly and don’t have a small fenced-in dog run on your property, I’m gonna judge. Just saying.
Or you’re a pet friendly hotel that offers a lovely continental breakfast, but only for humans. That’s going to mean that me and my husband need to take shifts. Most places don’t like pups being left alone, unattended, in the room. And rightfully so, it’s also stressful for the dogs! Imagine being left in a strange space, with strange smells and not having your people. BUT! Have an option to order in the room or eat on the patio somewhere. Then, say you’re “pet friendly.”
This is where Pet and Breakfast shines.
It’s a lovely farmhouse, nestled amongst the vineyards of Monferrato. It’s big property far from any busy streets or city bustle. And it’s all yours!!! Well aside from the owner Antonella, who lives there with her crew of animals. But their home is completely separate and her dogs have their own private space in back. So no need to coordinate with her furry crew!
It’s clear Antonella and her partner are true animal lovers and understand what it’s like to enjoy a vacation with them!
Being only about a 2 hr drive from Milan’s city center, it’s perfect for a weekend escape. We went in early November. The air was crisp. It was perfect weather for lighting up the fire pit and enjoy some krumiri (the region’s specialty – a buttery cookie that smiles back at you!) while the dogs wrestle and run amok in the yard.
We booked our weekend with another couple and their dog, Sligo. He’s a whippet that’s just over a year old and happens to be Nola’s BFF. Those two can ruff-and-tumble for hours on end. I kid you not. Which is why it was such a luxury to have a completely fenced-in yard to let them loose.
Nola even met her first sheep!
The two sheep on the property bounced their way over to the other side of the fence, oblivious to the borky dogs around, and had to say hi anyways. Nola did. Not. Like. Ha!
We even caught a sighting of one of the cats that runs the place. They tended to keep their distance from our barky crew, but we had no problems and we were supervising the dogs anytime they were out playing. Plus there are chickens, geese and some beekeeping on the property.
Antonella and her partner have thoughtfully curated activities for pets and people alike. We were welcomed to the home with a bottle of local Grignolino wine and some sausage snacks for the pups. Mucca found those right away! Meanwhile, I went straight for the wine. Win-win.
For people: there’s a ping pong table, an outdoor shared library, the firepit and during the warmer months patio tables and sun chairs.
For the fur-kids: there’s a box full of balls, ropes, and other fun goodies, a stick library (take one, leave one!) and sprinklers or wading pools for the summer.
The area surrounding the farmhouse has lots to offer too. If you like long treks with your dog, there’s lots of country backroads and forest trails that Antonella can tell you all about. She also offers a guided tour. Fall months you can even sign up for truffle hunting excursion with your dog! Maybe next year, Mucca…so he can finally start paying rent, dangit!
There’s also plenty of towns to hop in the car and check out. Casale Monferrato is lovely and filled with baroque architecture. We went for aperitivo and some window-shopping in Asti. Then we headed over to the truffle festival in Cella Monte. Perfect for stocking up on truffle-flavored everything!
All in all, if you need a weekend escape to get out of the noise of the city with your dog, cat, ferret, chicken, parrot or whatever animal you share your life with, Pet and Breakfast is for you!
Or pop over to her Instagram and see what the animal friends are up to.
And if you think you may want one of these epic photoshoots for yourself, reach out!
Ready to book your next Doggy “Disneyland” trip? AKA – portrait session?!