Tuscany is the Italian region where all the Italy’s clichés are true. Rolling hills, sun-drenched days redolent with the smell of cut grass and the hum of honeybees, fine wines, food from the hands of the gods, and a truly Italian attitude to life that prioritises family, fresh food and Dolce Vita life. To know Italy, it is vital to know each of its regional traditional foods and recipes. We’ve made it easy with our pick of the Top Five restaurants and Tuscany hotels that are still among the hidden gems of Tuscany.
1. Antica Dimora Residenza and the Piccolo restaurant
Torrita di Siena is a 600 year old stone village that looks like something conjured up by a travelling poet. The Antica Dimora is a family-owned boutique hotel that welcomes its guests into the historic, but lushly appointed rooms, many of which overlook the picturesque Tuscan countryside. The Piccolo is Torrita di Siena’s best restaurant, offering traditional Italian pizza and its signature range of seafood dishes. The owners, Mario and Gioia, have been in the restaurant trade for a couple of decades, and are always happy to share their Tuscany’s travel tips, and to recommend the right Tuscan wine to match any palate or dish.
2. Villa Sassolini hotel and restaurant
At the base of the Chianti hills, in the heart of Tuscany, are the suites of Villa Sassolini. Geographically, this is a perfect staging point for day tours to visit the nearby Siena and Florence. Most suites have a view of the Tuscan countryside, and the aged architecture houses up-to-date technology. The Villa Sassolini restaurant is perfect for long lazy dinners ordered from the a la carte menu designed to offer a mix of traditional local dishes with a truly modern Italian twist.
3. Hotel Villa il Tesoro and the Bracali Ristorante
In the midst of the Maremma hills is the medieval city of Massa Marittima, home of the converted farmhouse boutique hotel Villa il Tesoro. Set in the grounds of a four-star vineyard, the Villa il Tesoro is an intimate affair of just twenty richly appointed suites. While the Villa has its own notable restaurant, an even better choice is the Bracali. Family-owned, the Bracali serves up traditional dishes with a modern edge in it’s décor that emphasises roman columns and the occasional piece of leopard print to offset its mother-of-pear walls and Swarovski-crystal encrusted lamps.
4. Il Pellicano Hotel and Restaurant
Porto Ercole sits on the Italian Mediterranean coast, and it is here that lucky guests can while away their evenings at the Il Pellicano. This boutique hotel (six cottages and one main guesthouse) is true Italian decadence, unabashedly devoted to romance. Romantic couples are Il Pellicano’s bread and butter, and it is easy to see why this hotel is popular with honeymooners. There are two restaurants at Il Pellicano: The all-aperto grill that serves more casual fare – fresh seafood is always popular in the warmer months. The jewel in Il Pellicano’s culinary crown is the Restaurant Il Pellicano that has not one but two Michelin stars. Here diners are served world-class modern Italian fare on a sweeping terrace overlooking a starlit Mediterranean sea.
Some would say that this is the most intriguing and magical city in Tuscany, and it is the site of the famous annual horse race “Palio di Siena” that makes the cobblestones tremble to the thundering rhythm of hoof-beats. In this ochre-coloured piece of a fairytale is the luxurious Hotel Certosa di Maggiano and its restaurant, Il Canto. Once a Carthusian monastery built in the 14th century, the design was turned over to architect Renzo Mongiardino who created the breathtaking ambience that has been the hotel since 1978. Il Canto (The Chant) is a standalone achievement: Award-winning food in the relaxed environment of a building that was devoted to silent prayer for centuries.
Guest post by Escapio.com
Ciao from Italy
Since 1997 Nancy Aiello Tours offers its valuable guests visiting Florence and the Tuscan countryside the most comprehensive selection of private guided walking tours of Florence, Florence day trips, Florence Museum Tours, Chianti and Maremma wine tours, Tuscany culinary tours and food tours for Italy food lovers led by qualified English, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Chinese speaking qualified Italian touristic guides and licensed driver/guides.
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