"Next time you travel to Italy and want a unique experience, consider staying in an albergo diffuso (scattered hotel). In Saving Towns by Filling Rooms in Italy, the New York Times notes that "the concept of albergo diffuso...is that rooms, decorated in a consistently authentic and local style, are scattered throughout different buildings within the town but overseen by one manager. A traditional breakfast might be served at a local cafe or in the kitchen of one of the local houses, or delivered to your room."
The Associazione Nazionale Alberghi Diffusi describes the concept as "Un pó casa e un pó albergo, per chi non ama i soggiorni in hotel; questa é in poche parole la nuova forma di ospitalità che prende il nome di Albergo Diffuso." The albergo diffuso offers travelers a glimpse of village life and contact with the local population. It's healthy too for the host villages, since converting an existing room into a hotel room is more sustainable compared to building a new hotel. Currently there are more than 40 official alberghi diffusi in Italy and over 100 more in the planning stages".
By Michael San Filippo (About.com Italian language 2010)