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Archive for the ‘Day trips San Gimignano’ Category

Pitigliano View

South of Grosetto, the southern most large city in the Tuscan Province, stands the village of Pitigliano. Though it was not until the 11th Century that written records first mention this village, evidence of both Etruscan and 5th Century Christian presence have been discovered. The commanding position of the village, surrounded by valleys, is a spectacular sight regardless of how you approach the ancient walls.

During the 16th Century, city and state governments in Italy moved their Jewish populations into Ghettos. Many of those Jews who had been closed within the Ghettos of Siena, Florence and other cities began to move to the little-known, quiet, retreat of Pitigliano.

This is not meant to imply that Jews lived an easy life in these times; it was never easy. Despite requirements to wear certain types of clothing to mark themselves “Jew”, the closely knit community made a reasonable life for themselves in the tiny village.

The town’s unique geography includes a maze of spaces within the tufa that were created by prehistoric volcanoes or carved by those who sought shelter.

It is a curious twist of both Italian and Jewish history that this small town became a refuge for those seeking a more peaceful and protected way to life.

Some friends who live near Florence related the story that, during World War II, the non-Jewish residents of Pitigliano hid and protected the Jewish community, literally, under the village. Chambers once used by the ancients became a refuge for those persecuted. Throughout the war the townspeople stood resolute in their determination to protect the innocent.

I must admit to a certain ‘ache’ when I visit Pitigliano. The domination of religions and the persecution of centuries all seem very raw even in the narrow lanes and streets of this lovely Tuscan village. When I have explored the tufa spaces beneath the city, I have felt the presence of those who have gone before. At sunset, when the bells of churches toll there is, for many visitors, a clear sense of the terrible cost exacted from those whose religious beliefs were in conflict with the ‘powers that were’.

IF YOU GO:

The easiest access to Pitigliano if you do not have a car is by train. Trains connect Grosetto with both Rome and Florence and run on a regular basis throughout the day. Once you arrive by train you can take one of the numerous buses which travel to/from the village. Buses leave from directly in front of the train station in Grosetto.

If, however, you have a car, I strongly encourage you to add a day’s visit to this fascinating and historic village.

Bus schedules and details can be found here: RAMA Grosetto

Hotels:

There is one hotel within the city walls, the Albergo Guastini. This is an intimate hotel and its location offers immediate access to the village.

Piazza Petruccioli, 4, 58017 Pitigliano Grosseto, Italy

Tel: +39 0564 61410

Outside of the city walls, there are numerous choices. Most will require a car to visit the city if you choose one of these accommodations.

S.S 74 Maremmana Ovest,

58017 Pitigliano Province of Grosseto, Italy

Tel: +39 0564 616112

Via Valle Orientina, S.R. 74 , 58017 Pitigliano, Province of Grosseto, Italy

Sites to visit:

  • The Orsini Fortress, which achieved its present state in 1545 but represents a reworking of the earlier medieval fortress
  • the town’s walls and gates, the best preserved of which is the Porta Sovana.
  • The Cathedral of San Pietro e Paolo
  • The Jewish Synagogue and Museum

Quiet Corner of Pitigliano

Restaurants

(Note: You might enjoy trying the Bianca di Pitigliano, a local white wine produced from the vineyards surrounding the village.)

Il Tufo Allegro

Vicolo della Costituzione, 5

58017 Pitigliano Italy

Tel: +39.0564.616.192

My favorite. Slow Food, beautifully prepared with lovingly served. Don’t expect fancy. Expect exceptional food.

La Ceccottino*

(no web site)

Via Vignole

58017 Pitigliano

*I have never eaten at this restaurant, though the reviews are consistently good and friends say it is equal to “Il Tufo Allegro”.

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In the course of many years travel across Tuscany, I have created a list of my favorite places to enjoy lunch or dinner. This particular short list focuses on the areas in, or near, San Gimignano, Monteriggione and Barberino Val d’Elsa. Great food, fair prices and consistently good service? Try these if/when you go. Meals enjoyed at these restaurants have always been memorable.

For further details about this area of Italy:

www.private-italy.com

Restaurant Price Points:

*: Euro 15 – Euro 20 per person without alcohol

**: Euro 20 – Euro 30 per person without alcohol

***: Euro 30 – Euro 40 per person without alcohol

****: Euro 40 and above per person without alcohol

– – – – – – –

Hotel La Cisterna, San GimignanoLa Cisterna **

This Ristorante is located in the Hotel La Cisterna, on the Piazza of the same name, in the heart of San Gimignano. Llarge sliding glass windows face the valleys below San Gimignano. For lunch, especially, this is a wonderful place to eat. The food is fairly priced, traditional and the wine list pricing is fair for a city so full of visitors.

I recommend calling to reserve at table prior to your visit. You can also, on the day you arrive in San Gimignano, walk to the hotel and reserve a table for your lunch or dinner. Lunch begins at 12:30PM, dinner at 7:30PM.

IF YOU GO:

Albergo Ristorante La Cisterna

Piazza della Cisterna, 23

53037 San Gimignano (SI) Italy

Tel: 0577 940328

www.hotelcisterna.it

Dorando, Slow Food, San GimignanoDorando ***

When the Slow Food Movement began in Italy, Dorando was one of the first restaurants to deliver on the goal of incredible food, great wine list and time to enjoy the meal. The restaurant is located down a narrow alley, directly off of the Piazza Duomo in San Gimignano. There are no views, as the restaurant is located in the cellars of a 14th Century building.  Lovingly and beautifully restored, you will not miss the view – the food and wine are the focus in this fabulous restaurant.

This is not an inexpensive place – and you should plan at least two hours for a meal, especially dinner. Reservations strongly recommended.

IF YOU GO:

Ristorante Dorando

Vicolo dell’Oro, 2

53037 San Gimignano (SI), Italy

Tel: 333 2786611 (Owner Cell Phone)

www.ristorantedorando.it/

Bel Soggiorno **

Just inside the Porta San Giovanni, the main gate of the town of San Gimignano, is the Hotel Bel Soggiorno. UnbeknowDining Room, Hotel Bel Soggiorno San Gimignanonst to many visitors, the hotel offers one of the finest restaurants, with some of the most gorgeous views, in Tuscany. This is also a lovely hotel, providing clean and comfortable, though not particularly large, rooms. There are a few rooms available that have large terraces. The views across central Tuscany are unforgettable.

The restaurant is located off of the lobby at street level. As you enter the space, the entire valley below San Gimignano spreads before you through huge glass windows. Great place for lunch or dinner. I do highly recommend reservations if you plan dinner.

IF YOU GO:

Ristorante Bel Soggiorno

Via S.Giovanni, 91

53037 SAN GIMIGNANO

Tel: 0577 940375

www.hotelbelsoggiorno.it

View of San Gimignano from above Poggio AlloroPoggio Alloro **

Some Florentine friends introduced me to this restaurant five years ago and I’ve returned many times. The local Florentine beef is outstanding – some of the best in Italy. The wine list is certainly sufficient and the prices are very fair. The view of the towers in San Gimignano from the terrace is one in a million. I can’t recommend this place highly enough for both lunch and dinner. It is the unique combination of perfectly prepared meals, the view and the loving care that the owners give to their farm, that makes this place very special.

Please note: The Poggio (small hill) is located outside the San Gimignano city gate of San Matteo. You will find the Poggio on your right as you drive down away from the Porta (Gate) San Matteo. The sign for the place is not very easy to spot…but just keep looking to your right as you drive away from San Gimignano. If you drive more than ten minutes or so, you have missed the turn into the Poggio. Well worth the effort!

This is an Agriturismo, so you will find vacation apartments and a gift shop along with the restaurant. A wonderful place to enjoy a shaded lunch or dinner with spectacular views of San Gimignano.

IF YOU GO:

Fattoria Poggio Alloro

Via Andrea Mantegna, 23

53037 San Gimignano (SI), Italy

Tel: 0577 950153

www.fattoriapoggioalloro.com/

Restaurant Il Pozzo, Main Square, MOnterggioneIl Pozzo, Monteriggioni **

The village of Monteriggione is located within sight of the Florence-Siena motorway, but you will hardly notice that proximity. This is a true medieval walled town that has little changed since it was built by the Sienese centuries ago.

There is one small piazza and Il Pozzo is located directly on that square. Tables on the terrace offer umbrellas for shade and lunch or dinner at this restaurant is – for good reasons – memorable.

If you wish to eat on the terrace, come early. Lunch begins at 12:30PM.

IF YOU GO:

Ristorante Il Pozzo

Piazza Roma, 20

53035 – Monteriggioni (SI)

Tel: 0577 304 127

www.ilpozzo.net/

Osteria L’Antica Quercia **

A family run, small, restaurant near Barberino Val d”Elsa. Excellent meals, lunch or dinner. Highly recommend especially if you are driving in the area for a day’s exploration. Well worth the stop for a lovely lunch in this area of Tuscany.

The food is incredible and there are few places out in the country that offer the tranquil shade of a terrace with memorable views. Enjoy a flavorful meal at this lovely restaurant.

IF YOU GO:

Osteria L’Antica Quercia

Via di Sant’Appiano, 33

Barberino Val d’Elsa, Italy

Tel: 055 8075281

www.osteriaanticaquercia.it/

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Welcome to the world of Private Italy Tours LTD

The goal of our journeys is to expose travelers to the exceptional heart of this stunning country. Clients have time to explore and relax on their own; in Florence and the hill towns of Tuscany, afloat on the canals and lagoons in Venice, along the narrow streets of villages in Umbria, amidst the Roman ruins in and around Rome, while driving along the spectacular Amalfi Coast, or exploring the beautiful remains of Greek and Roman civilizations in Sicily.

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