A slow tourism project in southern Italy.
Wonder Grottole started out as an experiment but quickly evolved into a social enterprise that aims to introduce a new tourism model focused on slow living and sustainability principles. With a mission to revitalize aging and depopulated Italian villages, the community focuses on promoting age-old crafts and rural living traditions as well as a deeper connection with nature and with the local history of a place. Their latest project, Wonder Bee & Bee in an area between Grottole and Matera in southern Italy, is a great example. Run by Italian beekeeper Rocco Filomeno, this is the world’s first Airbnb bedroom where guests can sleep among 1 million bees. The design brings guests closer to nature while also shining a light on the reality of declining bee numbers.
Sleeping among 9 beehives.
Davide Tagliabue, also known under his artist name of metrocubo, designed the structure. The solid wood building has elements that subtly reference organic and hexagonal shapes found naturally in beehives. Built from birch and fir wood, the structure nestles naturally in the site, among centuries-old olive trees. Constructed entirely by local volunteers, the retreat contains one comfortable bedroom with two single beds. 9 hives surround the room, but guests don’t need to worry about stings. Nets create a border between the bedroom and the hives. One of them offers a great view of the interior of an apiary. At the same time, guests can hear the buzzing of the 1 million bees and smell the scent of honey.
A stay at Wonder Bee & Bee is truly a one of a kind experience, but guests can also enjoy moments of relaxation in nature. The host offers an included breakfast, with spaces also available in the olive grove for alfresco dining. Envisioned as a 100% rural experience, the space has an outside bathroom and an outdoor camping shower. There’s no electricity inside the bedroom, but the host provides solar-powered LED lighting. Plus, the location alone is worth the visit. Wonder Bee & Bee stands in an olive grove and overlooks garden, valley and vineyard views. The nearby road also leads to the nearby historic center of Grottole and its winery district. Photographs © Wonder Grottole.