Hey all - I know Italy doesn’t get quite the same posting attention as Paris . . . but why not ask.
I’ll be heading to Italy for 2 weeks in June (so ready to travel again) staying essentially between Montepulciano and Siena. (one night in Orvieto before we meet up with friends) We will be renting a house - so curious if anyone has any recommendations for restaurants, markets, must do foodie stuff, etc.
We will have a car and will of course do day trips all around (Florence of course), but this is a low key/relaxing trip so probably won’t be doing any super long day trips . . . but happy to hear any suggestions!
Haven’t been in Tuscany since 2015, but I recall very much enjoying La Taverna di San Giuseppe in Siena (there were several restaurants in cave-like settings, and this one had the best food, in my recollection).
I enjoyed Zeb in Florence. It’s relaxed, counter eating in a wine shop. Family run, as I recall. Delicious food. I had a birthday dinner at Bottega del buon Caffe, but it looks like it’s closed at the moment. It was fancy but not stuffy, and interesting menu, as I recall (in case it reopens before you go). The sandwich place near the Ufizzi is justifiably on the tourist map. There was a second shop across the street, same sandwiches staff, etc., but shorter to no line. I remember liking a sandwich called “diablo,” but couldn’t tell you what it was, but it’s probably still being made there.
I remember thinking Orvieto was beautiful. Been even longer since I was there. Would love to hear your thoughts after!
I spent a week in a Tuscan villa in 2017. We made day trips to Perugia, Montepulciano, Siena and Orvieto.
It was a group of 8 ladies, and I was the most food-focused, so I did a fair amount of cooking and I sought out local specialities. I visited markets when I saw them.
Off the top of my head, salami with fennel, various aged pecorino cheeses, Umbrian lentils and pici pasta (a thick toothsome long pasta) were popular regional specialties.
I can’t say any of the restaurant we visited during the day were excellent, as it was complicated to make a decision with 7 type A personalities- the type B individual didn’t like food I did have an excellent panini.
Likewise been a few years since our last visit. We rented an apartment in Cortona for a week and chose where to have lunch based on the strength of the aroma of truffles at the entrance. Mostly simple suppers in the apartment with treasures from the markets. Another year we stayed for a week at Il Melone near the base of the hill, below Cortona, when they were still renting apartments. The restaurant at Il Melone turned out to be one our best experiences that week, too bad we didn’t discover until the last day.
The last trip to Tuscany was at the end of 2019 so this advice comes with the caveat that I don’t know what’s survived.
Florence - Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino and not far from there is Gelateria della Passera
Siena - Trattoria Del Torre. Family run, pasta awesome and the meat grill…
Just outside San Gimignano, Montese Cooking Experience. Great setting to learn the fundamentals of Italian food.
If you havent looked, Slowfood is a super resource for this (their Osterie app is excellent tho you have to shell out some $ for it). There are many restaurants in the small towns of the area you are staying in - so you dont need to go to the larger cities to have as good experience, and exploring hill towns in their variety and beauty is wonderful and good exercise. In that area, the sheep cheeses are superlative and you will enjoy shopping for salumi, cheese and of course the wines. Its been almost 40 years since we had an extended visit (at Gargonza) so I dont have current personal reccs but it would be hard to go wrong at any of Slowfoods top rated places in the province of Siena, La Solita Zuppa or Il Grillo E Buoncantore in Chiusi, Il Conte Matto in Trequanda or Da Roberto (previously recommended) in Montisi and we have had good luck ove the years with many many of their other recommendations.