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Archive for the ‘Tuscany hotels’ Category

eurosThe fees began in 2011 in Venice and within one year city hotels in Rome, Florence, Milan and Naples had followed La Serenissima’s example. Now, nearly every city, town and village hotel, B&B and self catered accommodation in Italy charges these fees to guests. As of the date of this blog post, AirBNB property owners in Italy are fighting the requirement to collect these duties.

Over the course of many years of travel in Italy, there has never been anyone at any hotel who has been able to clearly tell me (1) why it has to be paid, (2) for what purposes are the taxes collected (3) who distributes the taxes and (4) where, physically, are they paid in each city or province.

Keep in mind, also, that most of these payments are collected in cash from guests at the time of check out.

Below is a table of the amount of taxes collected for most major cities by region in Italy, including Sardinia.

You would be wise to double check the web site for the places you will be visiting to confirm that these rates, current as of June 2016, are still correct.

Remember to keep these numbers in mind when you calculate the cost of a hotel stay in Italia!

 Region/City 5-star 4-star 3-star

B&B and

Self Catered

Tariff
Tuscany
Lucca € 3 € 3 € 2.50 For a maximum of 3 nights
Florence € 5.50 € 4.50 € 3.50 € 2.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Cortona € 3 € 2 € 2 For a maximum of 4 nights
Siena € 5 € 2.50 € 2.50 € 1.50 For a maximum of 6 nights
Montepulciano € 5 € 2.50 € 2.50 € 1.50 For a maximum of 6 nights
San Gimignano € 3 € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Chianti €4 € 2.50 €1.50 €1.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Veneto 
Bardolino €2 €1.50 €1 For a maximum of 20 nights between 01/04 and 30/09
Sirmione € 2.50 € 1.80 € 1 Per night
Desenzano del Garda € 2 € 1 € 0.80 Per night
Peschiera del Garda € 2 € 1 € 0.80 For a maximum of 5 nights between 01/05 and 31/10
Venice € 5 € 4.50 € 3.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Verona € 3 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Valeggio sul Mincio € 1.50 € 1.50 € 0.80 Per night betwen 01/04 and 31/12
Padova € 3 € 3 € 2 For a maximum of 5 nights
Vicenza € 3 € 2.50 € 2.50 Per night
Campania 
Positano €5 € 3 € 1.50 € 1.50 50% discount from the 4th night
Sorrento € 2 € 1.50 € 1 € 1 For a maximum of 7 nights
Ravello € 4 € 3 € 2 € 2 For a maximum of 6 nights
Praiano € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 € 1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Amalfi € 5 € 3 € 1.50 € 1.50 50% discount from the 4th night
Massa Lubrense € 2 € 1.50 € 1 € 1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Naples € 5 € 3 € 2 For a maximum of 10 nights
Ischia € 2 € 1.50 € 1 For a maximum of 7 nights
Rome
Rome € 7 € 6 € 4 For a maximum of 10 nights
Marche
Numana €1.50 €1 €0.50 Per night
Ascoli Piceno €1 €1 € 0.50 For a maximum of 6 nights
Basilicata
Matera € 2 € 2 €1 €1 For a maximum of 3 nights
Maratea €4 €2.50 €2 For a maximum of 5 nights
Puglia
Ostuni € 2 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 5 nights
Lecce € 3 € 2 € 2 For a maximum of 5 nights
Fasano € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 3 nights between 01/05 to 30/06 and 01/09 to 31/10
Fasano €4 €2.50 €2 For a maximum of 5 nights between 01/07 and 31/08
Monopoli €2 €2 €1 For a maximum of 14 nights
Alberobello €1 €1 €1 For a maximum of 3 nights
Vieste €1 €1 €0.80 For maximum one night between 15/05 and 15/09
Otranto €2 €2 €1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights between 01/04 and 30/09
Lombardia
Milan € 5 € 4 € 3 Per night
Varenna € 1 € 1 Per night
Como €2.50 €2 Per night
Bellagio €2 €1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Emilia Romagna
Ravenna € 4 € 3 € 2 Per night
Bologna € 4 € 4 € 3 For a maximum of 5 nights
Umbria
Perugia € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 10 nights
Orvieto € 2.50 € 2.30 For a maximum of 10 nights
Sicily
Syracuse € 2.50 € 2 € 2 For a maximum of 4 nights
Catania € 2.50 € 1.50 € 1.50 € 1 For a maximum of 3 nights
Cefalu € 1 € 1 € 1 € 1 For a maximum of 10 nights
Aeolian islands € 1.50 One off charge
Modica € 2 € 1.50 € 1.50 For a maximum of 7 nights
Palermo € 3 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 4 nights
Taormina € 2.50 € 2 € 1.50 For a maximum of 10 nights
Sardinia
Alghero € 2 € 2 € 1 For a maximum of 7 nights
Villasimius € 2 € 2 € 1 Per night
Piedmont
Cannobio € 1.20 € 1.20 € 0.80 For a maximum of 7 nights
Arona € 3 € 2 € 1.50 Per night
Baveno and Stresa € 2.50 € 1.50 € 1 For a maximum of 7 nights
Verbania € 2.50 € 1.50 € 1 For a maximum of 15 nights
Turin € 5 € 3.70 € 2.80 For a maximum of 4 nights

 

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Corniglia – Cinque Terre

The village of Corniglia occupies the high ground above a stunning headland on the coast of the Cinque Terre. The climb to the village from the train station is a challenge, yet approaching it from the south it comes as a surprise. As I walked along the main street, I came to a prescipe that took my breath away.

A drop of about three hundred feet falls away to the sea. The Oratorio of Santa Caterina, an Eighteenth Century church is situated just off of the Piazzetta di Largo Taragi, one of only two small piazzas in the village.

Oratorio di Santa Caterina – Corniglia

This is not a particularly easy place to find accommodation, though the two I have listed in my “IF YOU GO” section, below, are very reasonably priced and offer comfortable clean rooms. Do not expect fancy, yet family ownership brings with it additional pride in service, as with all such small businesses in Italy.

The hiking trails that hug the coast will bring you Corniglia. The stretch between Manarola and Corniglia is one of the longest on the coast. You should plan on booking well in advance, especially in high season, for rooms in Corniglia. Most visitors hike up from the train station, spend an hour or two, then head back to the station to continue their travels up the coast. Keep in mind, also, that there are stretches of the hiking trails that offer no bannister and drop precipitously to the sea.

Unlike the other villages along the coast, this one surmounts the sea and clings to the rocks above. its position offers incredible views. It seems somehow appropriate that the middle village of the five along this coastline would be situated on a high promontory above the sea.

Hotels Corniglia

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 Corniglia. You may well have a favorite, yet I can recommend these with confidence that you will enjoy a safe and fairly-priced stay.

 

Corniglia Lane – Cinque Terre

B&B Le Terrazze 

Via Fieschi, 102  19018 Vernazza Province of La Spezia, Italy

Tel: (Italian Cell Number) +39.349.845.9684

Sole Terre Mare 

Via Serra 20, 19017 Corniglia

Restaurants Corniglia

Corniglia does not offer a diversity of places to have lunch or dinner. Particularly at lunch, the trattorias and cafes that are open do fill quickly. You should plan either an early, or relatively late, lunch. For dinner, I always recommend calling ahead for a table.

Osteria e Cantina de Mananan

Via Fieschi 117, Corniglia, Italy

Tel: +39.0187.821.166

Caffe Matteo 

Via Fieschi 157, Corniglia, Italy

Tel: +39.0187.821.044

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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

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When you have had the opportunity to explore and experience Pisa, I recommend heading to the sea.

Marina di Pisa Panorama

The Arno River, which divides the city of Pisa, empties into the Mediterranean Sea at the small village of Marina di Pisa. You follow signs out of the city for Marina to Pisa, Mare (the sea) or Tirrenia and you will find yourself driving along the final kilometers of the Arno.

Sycamore trees shade the entire distance of the Lungarno Gabrielle D’Annuzzio, the road that traces the south side of the river between Pisa and the sea. These trees have lined this narrow road since I was a child. My father often drove our family on this same road to visit our landlord and his family in Pisa or to head further on to Pontadera and Florence. In the days before the superhighway that now connects Pisa and Florence, this was one of the main roads connecting those cities.

On fall days, when the leaves scatter across the road and a golden curtain of season’s ending  fill the air, the memories of my early years in Italy are particularly clear.

Marina di Pisa

As you enter Marina di Pisa (about ten minutes from the outskirts of Pisa) you will see a parking area and some old fishing stalls on your right.

Pull over, park, get out of the car and walk to the water. Large alabaster stones cut from nearby quarries (including Carrara-the quarry made

Fishing Hut – Marina di Pisa

famous by Michelangelo) line the bank of the river. As you look north, you will see some fishing huts on stilts, their nets hung from large poles above the water.

On clear days from this quiet parking area you can see north up the coast toward the Cinque Terre (the Five Lands). The long arc of the coastline invites further exploration and the desire to walk along the sea (read on) strengthens.

The town of Marina is Pisa is a very small and unassuming place. One main road leads you through the town to a sharp curve to the south. It is from the city front park you can see south along the coast to the port city of Livorno. If you have time, I recommend leaving the main road and exploring the side streets of the town.

Laundry hangs from balconies, a few dogs amble down dusty, quiet streets and a few locals peer inquiringly from their front doors. This is a place that seems straight from a 1950’s Italian film; only during the months of July and August is it filled with daily or seasonal visitors who desire the sun and sea. During the other months of the year, the town folds up on itself and just exists as do so many village across Italy.

Many excellent seafood restaurants line the ‘beach’ as you head south along the coast. I use the word beach a bit loosely , as visitors literally lay out on huge boulders brought in to protect the sea front. There are stretches of level beach, yet even those are stone. If you plan to spend time getting some sun and sea, bring thick towels and plenty of padding!

Tirrenia, Beach View

Our family was fortunate to live in this small village during my father’s military assignment at the port of Livorno. My brother and I attended the school at US Military Base at Camp Darby. We shopped in the stores, ate in many of the restaurants and actually stayed in a hotel along the main road when we first arrived.

There are plenty of ‘private beach clubs’ along the road as you drive into Tirrenia. You are welcome to approach any of them if you desire a more private beach experience; be aware, however, that these places all charge fees since they provide a place to change clothes, umbrellas and beach chairs.

The town is becoming more popular for the summer season visitor. Private villas abound on the eastern side of the main road, and a short trip to view some of them is well worth the time.

You can continue on the road that parallels the beach all the way to the port city of Livorno. My next blog will be all about that interesting city.

Via del Terreno
Marina di Pisa

IF YOU GO:

The closest cities, to use the train system, are Pisa or Livorno. Both have regular service to Florence. From either train station you can take a bus, or if you prefer you can take a taxi. Negotiate the rate with the driver before you leave the station and before you get in the taxi!

Average fares between Livorno Centrale and these villages is Euro 40 each direction. Between Pisa Centrale Station and the villages, Euro 45 each direction.

Marina di Pisa

Restaurants:

Oltremare

Via Repubblica Pisana, 7/8

Oltremare, Marina di Pisa

Marina di Pisa, (PI) Italy

Tel: 050.353.86 or cell number +39.393.788.4775

I’ve eaten here a few times. A VERY informal place with exceptional seafood. Often crowded, so I go either early for dinner. The latter you go, the busier this place is during season. Call ahead to make sure that the restaurant is open if you want to eat here off season, especially November through April.

Ristorante da Gino

Via Curzolari,2
56128 Marina di Pisa (PI)

Tel: 050.354.08

I’ve eaten here twice. It is a pretty pricey place, but in exchange for the prices you get one heck of a meal. This is Tripadvisors #1 rated restaurant in Marina di Pisa. Make reservations for certain – and you will enjoy a great meal.

Hotels in Marina di Pisa

You are only twelve to fifteen minutes from the center of Pisa from this village. If you wish to find very inexpensive accommodations along the sea while exploring the city of Pisa, Marina di Pisa offers some alternatives for you to consider.

Do not expect luxury AT ALL in this small village. These two hotels offer acceptable accommodations, but please – again – do not expect big city comforts. This is a small fishing/seaside village, after all! Please use the links below to go directly to the property’s web site.

Hotel Manzi, Marina di Pisa

Hotel Manzi (Three Star)

The place offers the simplest possible accommodations, while keeping clean and safe. Run by an amicable Marina di Pisa family.

Hotel Manzi

Via Repubblica Pisana (Lungomare) , 25

56013 Marina di Pisa (Pisa) Italy

Tel:

Hotel Boboba Il Villaggio (Three Star)

This place is like Disney World on Italian steroids. Water park, close to beach, huge pool. Accommodations are mostly apartment like spaces. Clean and safe.

Hotel Boboba Il Villaggio

Via Litoranea 7, 56013 Marina di Pisa, Pisa, Italy

A bit more upscale than the Manzi.

Tirrenia

Restaurants

Ristorante Martini

This family owned restaurant, in the same family for generations, offers up flavorful fresh seafood at modest prices. In high season, I recommend

Ristorante Martini, Interior, Tirrenia

reservations in advance. Season in Tirrenia runs from mid June to early September.

Ristorante Martini

Via dell’Edera, 16 Tirrenia

56018 – (PI) Italy

Tel: +39.05.0 37.592

Ristorante lo Squalo

Located just off the south side of the main traffic circle, this unassuming place is near a gas station, of all things. Don’t be fooled by all of that. Specialties include shark (Squalo) and other fresh and beautifully prepared seafood.

Ristorante lo Squalo (No Web Site)

Via delle Rose, 1

56128 Tirrenia (PI), Italy

Tel: +39.050.373.05

Hotels

Grand Hotel Continental

Grand Hotel Continental, Tirrenia

As it name implies, this is a large, convention style hotel located directly on the beach. Close to the main traffic circle in town, it has a loggia full of shops – everything from magazines to gelato. Large private beach areas are reserved for guests, complete with umbrellas and beach chairs. Room rates average Euro 110.00 per room per night.

Grand Hotel Continental

Largo Belvedere, 26

56128 Tirrenia (PI)  – Italy

Tel: +39.050.37031

EuroHotel Tirrenia

Located very close to the main traffic circle in Tirrenia, this is an old stand-by. Do not expect fancy or a lot of frills, but the location and cleanliness of the rooms – added to the rates which are between Euro 36.00 for a single to Euro 67.00 for a large double – make it a very attractive choice.

Eurohotel, Tirrenia

V.le del Tirreno 217 Tirrenia

Tel: +39.05.033.028

Hotel Florida, Tirrenia

Located about 300 meters  from the main traffic circle, this lovely small hotel offers very affordable rates, between Euro 40.00 and Euro 60.00 per room per night, with very good service. Guests can access many of the private beach clubs (remember, you can enter – just pay for the day and you can use the facilities) easily from the hotel.

Hotel Florida, Tirrenia

Viale del Tirreno 227

56128 Tirrenia – Pisa, Italy
Tel:  +39.05.037.236

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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.

Most importantly you will meet the people of Italy – the true heart of the country. We bring Italy to YOU!

We know you love Italy; come see it through our eyes.

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