Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Restaurants Tuscany’ Category

Several of our readers and travelers have asked about Michelin rated restaurants in Florence. There are forty-four restaurants in the city’s 2016 Michelin Restaurant Guide. Of those, our list represents only those who have achieved at least one star by Michelin.

All of these establishments are more than worth making a reservation, even if it is months in advance!

As always, buon appetito!

***Enoteca Pinchiorri

Enoteca Pinchiorri

Via Ghibellina 87, Florence

+39 055 242757

enotecapinchiorri.it

Closed Sunday and Monday

Tuesday – Saturday 7:30PM – 10:00PM

via_ghibellina_96_palazzo_jacometti_ciofi_insegna_enoteca_pinchiorri

*Winter Garden By Caino

Piazza Ognissanti 1, 50123 Florence

+39 055 2716

http://www.stregisflorence.com

 

Daily 7:30PM – 10:00PM

Terrace 11:00AM – 1:30AM

*Borgo San Jacopo

Borgo San Jacopo 62R, 50125 Florence

+39 055 281661

lungarnocollection.com

Daily 7:00PM – 10:00PM

 

borgo-san-jacopo

*Il Palagio, Four Seasons Hotel

Borgo Pinti 88, 50121 Florence

+39 055 2626450

ilpalagioristorante.it

Breakfast Daily 7:00AM – 11:00AM

Brunch Sunday: (October to June Only): 12:30PM – 3:00PM

Dinner Daily: 7:00PM – 11:00PM

*Ora d’aria

Ora d’ariaVia dei Georgofili 11R, 50122 Florence

+39 055 2001699

oradariaristorante.com

Closed Sunday

Monday: 7:30PM – 10:00PM

Tuesday – Saturday: 12:30PM – 2:30PM

7:30PM – 10:00PM

*La Bottega del Buon Caffè

La Bottega del Buon Caffè

Lungarno Cellini 69R, 50122 Florence

+39 055 5535677

borgointhecity.com

Closed Sunday

Monday: 7:30PM – 10:00PM

Tuesday – Saturday: 12:30PM – 2:30PM

7:30PM – 10:00PM

Read Full Post »

 

So…you are staying in Lucca, have arrived in the city by train, or you have parked at the train station. Would you like to enjoy a unique break just outside the city walls-perhaps some exceptional pastries and fabulous coffee?

 

I recommend the perfect place: The LuccaLibri Coffee house and Bookshop.

Located less than a two minute walk from the train station piazza in Lucca (Piazzale Bettino Ricasoli) and only five minutes from the southern-most city gate of Lucca, Porta San Pietro, this place offers it all: great coffee, exceptional baked goods and a clean, safe environment in which to relax.

Wanda Martinelli, a dear friend and guide, introduced me to this special place in the spring of 2015. Every time since, when I visit Lucca with our small group tours or on my own, I stop in for a welcomed break. I have worked with Wanda for over fifteen years and she is, without question, the best guide in the area!

Next time you are in Lucca, regardless of circumstance, please give this wonderful place your business. You will not be disappointed!

Details:

LuccaLibri

Vialle Regina Margherita, 113

55100 Lucca

Tel: +39.0583.46.96.27

Hours: 06:00AM – 20:30PM (8:30PM) DAILY

Directions:

From the train station, walk across the graveled piazza in front of the station. Turn LEFT on the sidewalk along the main ‘ring road’. LuccaLibri is on your left about 100 meters from the station piazza.

If you park at the train station in Lucca, exit the parking area toward, and across, the piazza, and you will find LuccaLibri on your left about 100 meters from the station piazza.

If you are inside the city walls, you can exit the Porta San Pietro, walk to your left to the pedestrian walkway at the traffic light and cross the main road. Turn LEFT and walk about 200 meters to LuccaLibri.

FB Page – LuccaLibri

The baked goods case and coffee prep area, on the right

Reading room at the Cafe

View from the cafe on a beautiful spring day

 

Read Full Post »

Many readers have requested information about restaurants that are a consistent favorite in the city. Below is a list of three and, well, one that is more a theater for food and performance. It is true that my tastes tend toward the traditional Tuscan dinner, served by family who have a great deal of ownership in a diner’s satisfaction, care deeply about the freshness and authenticity of their recipes and want you (us) to come back for more.

Hope that you will give these a try next time you are in Florence!

Il Latini

il-latini

Il Latini – Always busy

If there is any restaurant in Florence that personifies the insane cacophonous atmosphere of the true Italian trattoria, Il Latini is it. GO EARLY at opening to get in, otherwise you will have to wait, sometimes for more than an hour. You can call ahead for reservations. You often sit at long tables with other diners. The ceiling is covered in hanging prosciutto hams. This place is great fun and has great food. A Florentine tradition.

Via dei Palchetti, 6R
50123 Firenze, Italy

Phone: +39.055.210.916

Hours:

Tuesday – Sunday 12:30PM – 2:30PM, 7:30PM – 10:30PM
Monday Closed

Trattoria Bibe

Bibe

One of the dining rooms at Trattoria Bibe

This is a wonderful place with exceptional food. The Baudone family, fifth generation owners, were recently awarded the Foreign Press Association’s recognition as the “Best Restaurant in the city keeping an authentic Italian Tradition.”

Only restaurants in Italy with more than 100 years of hospitality service are eligible so this is truly an honor for the Baudone family. In the over fifteen years that I have dined at Bibe, never has there been a disappointment. Truly a Tuscan – a Florentine – treasure!

Your trip into the into the nearby Florentine suburb of Galluzzo, by taxi, will cost you about €20.00 each way and you will have a memorable meal, perfectly prepared and graciously served.

Via delle Bagnese, 1
50124 Firenze, Italy

Phone: +39.055.204.9085

Hours:

Mon-Friday Dinner only 7:30PM –9:30PM
Saturday/Sunday 12:30PM – 2:30PPM, 7:30PM – 9:30PM
Wednesday Closed

Ristorante Cafaggi

This fourth generation family run restaurant attracts local Florentines as well as the knowledgeable visitor. You may see an occasional large group here, but the main dining room is always reserved for tables of from two to six diners.

cafaggi

Nonna preparing to set a table at her family restaurant, Cafaggi

I recommend calling for a reservation for dinner. Famous for Beefsteak Florentine…and it is GOOD!

Via Guelfa, 35/R
50129 Firenze, Italy

Phone: +39.055.294.989

Hours:

Monday – Saturday 12:30PM – 3:00PM, 7:00PM – 10:00PM
Sunday Closed

Teatro del Sale

Florentine Chef Fabio Picchi is one of Florence’s living treasures who steals the Sant’Ambrogio show with this eccentric, good value members-only club located inside an old theater. (Everyone welcome, annual membership € 7.00 per person at entrance.)

teatro-del-sale

Fabio in the kitchen at Teatro del Sale

He cooks up weekend brunch, lunch and dinner, culminating at 9:30PM in a live performance of drama, music or comedy arranged by his wife, artistic director and comic actress Maria Cassi. Dinners are hectic: grab a chair, serve yourself water, wine and antipasti and wait for the chef to yell out what’s about to be served. You line up at the open kitchen’s counter for your first and second course. Dessert and coffee are laid out buffet-style just prior to the performance. FUN!

Befrore the performance Teatro del Sale

Guests lining up for dinner before the performance – Teatro del Sale

Via de` Macci, 118
50122 Firenze, Italy

Phone: +39.055.200.1492

Hours:

Tuesday – Friday  12:00PM – 2:30PM (Brunch)
7:30PM – 11:00PM
Saturday                11:30 – 3:00PM, 7:30 – 11:00PM
Sunday                  11:30AM – 3:00PM (Brunch Only)
Monday Closed

 

Read Full Post »

Travelers always ask about the best places to enjoy a great meal in cities across Italy. In Florence, my list of those still owned by the same family for more than three generations is very short. There are plenty of other great restaurants in the city, yet these three are special. Many families who have worked for generations are beginning to sell out under pressures of the economy. These will, I believe, continue to contribute their small share of making true Tuscany remain true.

If you do visit Florence, these are three you should be certain not to miss. I continue to take every opportunity to enjoy meals at these wonderful places!

Garden Dining Terrace Trattora da Bibe Galuzzo

Garden Dining Terrace
Trattora da Bibe
Galuzzo

Trattoria da Bibe

Five generations ago, Signore Baudone established the Trattoria da Bibe (in honor of his wife, whose nickname was Bibe) along a small stream in the village of Galuzzo just outside of the ancient Roman gate of Florence. Since then, the family has dedicated themselves to a tradition of fabulous food, well prepared, fairly priced and presented with excellent service.

Tables on the garden terrace – left – are wonderful in season and the homey interior is reminiscent of many family villas across Tuscany.

GO!

Trattoria Anita

Tucked into a small corner on a little walked street directly behind the Palazzo Vecchio, this place is one of the best places for lunch in the city. The staff is energetic, the food is fabulous and very very affordable (lunch of three courses is often less than 11 Euros!) and the location makes it a perfect stopping place between the Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and the wonders of Santa Croce’s neighborhood. GO!

Ristorante Cafaggi

For all the details about my favorite restaurant in Florence, please click on the link below to my March 2012 article about this fabulous, family owned and operated restaurant near Piazza San Marco and the Accademia in Florence.

Ristorante Cafaggi

For an unforgettable meal in a lovely, simply atmosphere with great food and service – and very fair prices – enjoy.

Trattoria da Bibe

Bibe website

Via delle Bagnese, 1/r

Ponte all’Asse, Galluzzo

Firenze

Tel: (+39) 055 20 49 085

Trattoria Anita

Via del Parlascio, 2

50122 Florence, Italy

Tel:+39 055 218698

Ristorante Cafaggi

Web Site, Ristorante Cafaggi

Via Guelfa, 35

50125 Firenze

Tel: 055 295 989

Read Full Post »

Monterosso al Mare View

Fragrance of lemon blossoms, the taste of salt-tainted breezes and the wash of persistent sea greet me when I descended to Monterosso al Mare, the northernmost village on the Cinque Terre.

Lane, Monterosso al Mare

This is the largest of the five villages and I find that what the local’s refer to as Old Town and New Town are not substantially different. As I walked through the tunnel which now links the two areas of town, the arc of a sandy beach stretches before me from the breakwater to the small peninsula which juts into the sea on the southern end of the village.

Unlike the other towns along this stretch of coastline, Monterosso is easily reached by car. From the A12 autostrada that connects Pisa with Genoa, and beyond, there are well-marked exits that will lead you to the largest of the villages on the coast.

Please read the “IF YOU GO” section below regarding driving to Monterosso as well as parking challenges near the village.

Historically, the story of Monterosso is not dissimilar to those of the other Cinque Terre Village. Genoa subjugated the residents along the stretch of sea for centuries.

Long on the Italian summer holiday list of popular places to get to the sea, the narrow streets and beaches are always busy in the ‘high season’.

Monterosso Umbrellas

It seemed appropriate that my articles about the Cinque Terre would end in town with two huge statues.

In 1910 the sculptor, Arrigo Minerbi of Ferrara created a nearly 45 foot tall statue of Neptune, complete with Trident and Nautilus. As a result of  bombings during World War II, the “Gigante” was heavily damaged. Still, it stands at the southern limit of the beach, looking over the sea from whence he came.

Neptune of Monterosso

In 1962, Silvio Monfrini, a sculptor who was born in Milan, created a large bronze statue of St. Francis petting a dog. The statue occupies a gorgeous terrace high above the village near the Conventi del Cappuccine. While the steep stairs may tax your muscles, the view from the terrace is breathtaking. Well worth the effort!

Statue of Saint Francis above Monterosso al Mare

As I departed the village on my way north to Genoa, those two statues haunted me. Neptune, who no longer holds his Trident nor Nautilus, hunches armless over the cerulean blue Mediterranean. The five villages that cling to the shores of the Cinque Terre were for many decades falling in to disrepair, nearly forgotten save for the thousands of tourists who descended before and after the war.

Monfrini’s 20th Century work stands high above the village, an ever present reminder of the role of faith and church in the lives of the men and women who have, for centuries, survived on the richness of soil and sea.

The villagers have created bountiful lives through the gifts of faith, sea and soil. Statues may suffer, even disappear, yet the beauty of this precipitous coastline remains to be enjoyed and shared by visitors in years to come.

IF YOU GO:

Driving to Monterosso al Mare:

From the A12 Autostrada, heading either north of south, the exits for Monterosso al Mare are well marked. Follow the signs toward Levanto and, from there, to Monterosso. The road between the Autostrada and the village is treacherous and narrow, so I advise extreme caution especially if you are driving a large rental car or van. Parking in the village is challenging. There are a few public garages, most notable above the ‘new town” , where you enter the village.

Some hotels offer temporary parking for registration and/or departure. Do NOT park if  you are not sure you are allowed to. The local police do ticket and, believe it or not, the tickets always catch up with you.

Diversions:

Angelo’s Boat Tours

My first experience with Angelo and his lovely wife, Paula, a few years ago. Clients I was traveling with were just leaving the port on Angelo’s boat and Paula invited me up to her incredible hillside garden where, from time to time, she leads small group cooking classes. The roses, the oleander, the lemons all conspired to make me want to sit and never leave.

The tours are available through pre-booking on their web site – see below. For information on Paul’s cooking classes, you can contact her directly, via email, on angelosboattours@yahoo.com.

Angelo’s Boat Tours, Monterosso

These are incredible journey’s along the coast and I highly recommend, as part of your visit to the Cinque Terre, to enjoy one of their unforgettable boat tours.

Hotels Monterosso al Mare

A brief word about the Hotel Porta Roca. This would be the splurge of your time on the coast – but the views from the sea-facing rooms, the level of service and the comfort are simply unmatched in any other hotel on the Cinque Terre. This is one gorgeous hotel!

Hotel Porta Roca 

Località Corone, 1  19016 Monterosso Al Mare

Province of La Spezia, Italy

Tel: +39.0187.817.502

Hotel Pasquale 

Via Fegina, 4  19016 Monterosso Al Mare Province of La Spezia, Italy

Tel: +39.0187.817.477

Hotel Villa Steno   http://www.villasteno.com/

Via Roma, 109  19016 Monterosso Al Mare Province of La Spezia, Italy

Tel: +39.0187.817.028

Restaurants Monterosso al Mare

Given the size of the village of Monterosso, your options are varied and numerous. These are only a few where the food and fair pricing have brought me back numerous times. Enjoy!

Ristorante Miky (web site, as of this writing, not linking)

Via Fegina, 104  19016 Monterosso Al Mare Province of La Spezia, Italy

Tel: +39.0187.817.608

Ristorante L’Alta Marea (no Web Site)

Via Roma, 54  Monterosso al Mare, Province of La Spezia, Italy

TeL: +39.0187.817.331

Read Full Post »

Fishing Boats – Manarola, Cinque Terre 

As I headed out that first morning, walking the trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola, I remember being, simply, stunned at the beauty of the coastline. The path, in sections, is a bit of a challenge, but who cares when you have views like that!

The approach to Manarola from the south is not as spectacular as those who encounter views as they near the village from the north. Once inside the village however, I was again surprised and enchanted by the narrow lanes, the friendliness of the people and the sense that these places are straight from a 1950’s Cinecittà vision of bella Italia.

While I imagined that living along the coast, before it was ‘discovered’ was not just difficult, but downright tough, the positive impact on people’s lives from all we visitors is evident in shops, restaurants, hotels and B&B’s.

Poet and writer Eugenio Montale, who lived in Manarola for over thirty years,  wrote of senses heightened, of that compelling dichotomy between poetic beauty and darker truths.

Every moment brings new leaves to you,
amazement overwhelming every other
fleeting joy: life comes on headlong waves
to this far garden corner.
Now you stare down at the soil;
an undertow of memories
reaches your heart and almost overwhelms it.
A shout in the distance: see, time plummets,
disappears in hurried eddies
among the stones, all memory gone; and I
from my dark lookout reach
for this sunlit occurrence. 

As evening descended on this first full day on the coast, I took a seat in a small cafe and observed. Locals stopped to discuss the day’s developments, tourists peered at menus posted outside trattorias and cafes and a gentle breeze en wrapped the lanes as curtains billowed from windows high above. The lull of the ever present sea slowed us all to the pace of Italian life.

There is a question I ask myself all the time in Italy, and it has to do with love. There is not a region, hardly a place, in this incredible country that I don’t find myself asking “How can anyone not fall in love with the . . .?

Such a question is one asked as I sit on the rocks near the harbor and enjoy sunset by the sea.

Before I get to “If You Go” and the details of staying in, and enjoying meals in, Manarola, I leave you with a photograph from National Geographic.

In its capture of the restless sea and the fishermen’s boats and homes, I see an encapsulated summary of the Cinque Terre’s attractions: rocks, precipitous cliffs, quiet lanes and extraordinary beauty. Enjoy.

Manarola – Photo: National Geographic

IF YOU GO:

Hotels Manarola

As is true with all of the villages along the coast, you are strongly encouraged to book your hotel rooms(s) well in advance of your travel dates. If you visiting during late October – late March, then you will find accommodations available for ‘last minute’ arrivals. Regardless, reserve in advance and you will have one less worry for your trip.

These are all places I have stayed, over the years, in Manarola. You may well have a favorite, yet I can recommend these with confidence that you will enjoy a safe and fairly-priced stay.

La Torretta   

Vico Volto, 20 | Piazza della Chiesa, 19017 Manarola, Italy

Tel: +39.0187.920.327

Carugiu B&B  

Via Ettore Cozzani, 42  19017 Riomaggiore Province of La Spezia, Italy

Tel: (Italian Cell Number) +39.349.346.9208

Affittacamere San Giorgio  

Via Discovolo 280 – 19017 Manarola (SP)

Tel. +39.0187.760.542

Restaurants Manarola

During high season, you should reserve for dinner in most places in Manarola. The restaurants are, in general, very small and fill quickly for the evening meal. I recommend these places. I have eaten in them and have enjoyed wonderful meals and refreshments at a fair price.

Trattoria Locanda il Porticciolo 

Via Renato Birolli, 88  Riomaggiore, Province of La Spezia, Italy

0187 920083

Aristide (no web site)

Via Discovolo  19017 Manarola, Province of La Spezia, Italy

Tel: +39.0187.920.000

Read Full Post »

Livorno Panorama, Piazza XX Settembre

Livorno. For most travelers, it is only the final destination for trains that connect Florence with Montecatini Terme, Lucca and Pisa. However, for those with a curiosity about renaissance history, those who wish to visit a less crowded city and those interested in seeing unique canals, add Livorno to your list of places you must visit while in Tuscany.

Bernardo Buontalenti, (Bernardo Delle Girandolea) a highly respected architect, military engineer and artist of the 16th Century, designed the fortifications that stand to this day at the port entrance. The port’s geographic proximity to Pisa and Florence (over land and by transport on the River Arno) created the need for the port’s protection.

Leggi Livornine 1587

It was the laws of trade, in the latter part of the 16th Century, that created Livorno’s nickname of “Venice of Tuscany”. Ferdinand I di Medici,

Grand Duke of Tuscany, created what was called the Leggi Livornine in 1587. The law created a ‘porto Franco’, or tax free port for goods that moved through the city. This law motivated merchants from across Europe, who sought the advantages of location and cost savings, to establish branches of their businesses in the city.

To help move goods to warehouses and to facilitate ease of transportation, these new companies supported the creation of canals which connected the places of business to the main port and sea. Thus was born “Veneiza Nuova” or “New Venice” as that area of the city came to be called.

The new trade  laws also created a city politic that became a welcome safe haven for those who sought refuge from both religious and political persecution. One of the little-known effects of the Thirty-Years War was that the economy of Livorno particularly, and Italy in General, experienced a serious and long-lasting downturn.

In early 1921, Livorno was the birthplace of the Italian Communist Party and to this day is known as a very left-leaning city. Politics and intrigue aside, this is a lovely city and absolutely worth your time to visit while in Tuscany.

Livorno “Venezia Nuova”

The city today is a major departure point for ferry services that connect Livorno to Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and other Med ports. If you have the time, taking the ferry between locations during your trip can be both helpful and enjoyable.

Livorno is famous, as well, for its being home to the Italian Naval Academy.

Ferry Services from Livorno:

IF YOU GO:

Trains to Livorno run nearly every hour to Florence. You can also head north toward Genoa and the “Cinque Terre”, or direct to Rome. For schedules and costs, go to  http://www.trenitalia.it. If you are driving into the city, my recommendation is to park close to the port at the Parcheggio Custodito al Porto (the secure parking area near the port). If you have a choice of taking the train or driving, take the train!

Driving in Livorno is complicated by security systems which limit the access of cars to the city center – much like most cities in Tuscany.

If your schedule allows, you can take a ferry from Livorno to some major locations in the Mediterranean, including Sicily, from the port. For further information, here are some links to review:

Direct Ferries Schedules and Information

Moby Lines Ferry Service Information

Private Guides for city tours – Livorno

Private Guides, Livorno

Tourist Information, Livorno

Restaurants in Livorno

This list is focused on restaurants in the Venetian quarter of the city. There are certainly others. However this the neighborhood with the most picturesque places to enjoy a meal. There are many excellent restaurants in the city. The short list, below, are places I have enjoyed dinners and/or lunches over the years.

Al Fosso Reale

Rated very highly on several web sites, this lovely small restaurant is located near the Fortezza Nuova in the city center. Well worth going-I’ve only eaten here once for dinner, and highly recommend this place to all. Order the “Zuppa di Pesce di Livorno” – Local seafood soup. Outstanding!

Al Fosso Reale

Scali delle Cantine 52/54, Livorno

Tel: +39.0586.888.474

Trattoria L’Antica Venezia

I’ve had the privilege of eating in this small delightful place several times. The food is outstanding, fairly priced and the service reliable and friendly. GO!

Trattoria L’Antica Venezia

Piazza dei Domenicani,  15 Livorno

Tel: +39.0586.887.353

ttp://www.livornonow.com/lantica_venezia_trattoria_in_livorno_tuscany_italy

Chez Ugo Pizzeria

Don’t expect fancy in any way, yet this place serves exceptional pizza – of more kinds that you can count – in a clean and busy atmosphere. For lunch its great, for a light dinner even better.

Scali Monte Pio, 35, 57123 Livorno

Tel: +39.0586.219.230

Hotels in Livorno

Hotel Gennarino

This lovely hotel is located directly across the Via Italia, along the waterfront across from the Naval Academy. The rooms are clean and the rates are very good-between

Hotel Gennarino

Viale Italia, 301 – 57127 livorno (LI)

Hotel Teatro

Located in the heart of the city, this hotel was recently fully updated and modernized. Excellent location, great rooms and fair prices. A wonderful hotel base while in Livorno.

Hotel Teatro

Via Mayer, 42/57

Tel: +39.0586.89.8705

Hotel Stazione

Located an easy walk from the train station, this is a very nice property in the city center. If you are planning on an overnight for an early train or ferry, this would be a great place for an inexpensive evening. Lots of cafes and trattorias in the neighborhood. I do not recommend this hotel if you are hoping to be close to the canal neighborhood of the city, though.

Hotel Stazione

Viale Carducci, 301 – Livorno (LI)

Tel: +39.0586.429.504

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: