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May 21, 2007 03:58 PM

Vacation in Tuscana

Help Chowhounds:

My Fiancée and I are spending two weeks in Tuscany real soon. The first week, we will be staying at the Albergo Del Chianti in Greve in Chianti. Looking forward to that, the wine tastings and food. We have a pretty good start on the wineries, but are not too familiar with the better cafes and bistros and restaurants. Can anyone out there give us a good list of local eateries? Caio.

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  1. We didn't eat in Greve, although it's certainly a pleasant place to wander around. If you are going to Castello di Gabbiano, eat at their wonderful restaurant. We had a fabulous three-course meal including vegetable antipasti served in a fried Parmesan basket, and a beautifully-prepared beef filet, all paired with their wines. Also there are a number of good places in Castellina in Chianti including La Torre (great pasta e fagioli) and Il Fornaccio, where I had the best pizza of our whole three weeks in Italy.

    If you go to Civita di Bagnoregio, there is a tiny place on the main street, open for lunch--I don't remember seeing a sign with the name, but it only has two or three long tables and a big woodburning fireplace at the back. If you peek in and see that fireplace, you'll know you're in the right place. On that hearth they toasted the bread for the best bruschetta I've ever had--very simple, one with just olive oil and garlic and one with perfectly ripe tomatoes. Off to the side, in a little alcove, a man was slicing prosciutto, paper thin. The house wine was served from ceramic pitchers, and with those bruschetta (bruschetti?) and a plate of prosciutto and pecorino, next to that fireplace on a chilly, drizzly day, we wanted nothing more. That was the day I really felt like I was in Italy.

    If you are going to Cortona, try the pizzas and the Belgian tripel beer at Fu Fluns, and the crepes and wonderful chocolate desserts at La Saletta.

    Have a wonderful time. Tuscany is so beautiful. I wish I could go back today.

    2 Replies
    1. re: zorra

      I forgot two good ones: Tre Porte in Castellina, and La Bucaccia in Cortona for a special fine-dining evening.

      1. re: zorra

        zorra, we are hitting Castello di Gabbiano and will surely take advantrage of your recommendations. We haven'[t set the other locations, yet. Your input will help a bunch. Thanks.

      2. Hi Stewartjoslin
        I went to a fantastic restaurant in Greve about two and a half years ago and the ridiculous thing is I can't remember its name. It is in the main square, Piazza Matteoti its quite small - family owned....the food was tremendous, and it was really reasonably priced - sorry I cant remember what it is called, all I remember is you take the main approach road it is nearly facing you on the far long side of the triangle shaped square (I hope that makes sense - and perhaps some other Chowhound might know the name of the restaurant.

        3 Replies
        1. re: LotsC

          My wife and I visit Castellina-in-Chianti nearly every year. As Zorra mentioned, La Antico Torre is very good, lots of locals eat there. Also there is Osteria a la Piazza, about 10 minutes outside of Castellina. In Panzano, Oltre il Giardino. Also in Castellina, actually just outside the center of town, there is a restaurant called La Pietrafitta which we really enjoyed but was closed the last two years we visited. On our last visit to Castellina, a year ago in April, we stopped by because we saw some activity. It seems there are new owners and they were getting the place ready to open. So I imagine that by now it would be up and running again. I can't vouch for how it might be now, but it was always very good under the previous ownership.

          1. re: LotsC

            Thank you, LotsC. We will look for it and I'm sure Francesco at the hotel -- Albergo Del Chianti will help. He has thus far. I'll let you know the name if we fine it...again, thanks.

          2. We went to a fabulous restaurant called La Cantinetta di Rignana, located just out of Greve in a place called Rignana. It was a little difficult to find as it is hidden away on the hillside, down a dirt track - but was well worth tracking down!

            Details of our meal are here:

            1. We had a very good meal in a restaurant adjoining an 11th century abbey outside of Gaiole in Chianti two weeks ago. The place is Badia in Coltibuono. Tours of the estate are also available. If you go to the Prada outlet in Montevarchi you'll pass right by it.

              There are two Porchetta trucks at the Saturday Market in Greve. The one with the long line and the sandwich maker who won't be hurried is worth going out your way for.

              The porchetta truck in Piazza Mazzinni just outside the walls of Cortona is also excellent.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jaweino

                A "don't miss" lunch in Panzano (the next town south of Greve on the 222) is Il Vescovino. They have a beautiful terrace overlooking a typical Chianti valley. The food is fabulous!

                You may want to look here for other Chianti reviews:


                have a great trip,


                1. re: jangita

                  Thanks for the help...we've got great tips from many folks -- only there for two weeks. Can't eat everywhere, but it will be fun trying.

                2. re: jaweino

                  jaweino, we are headed for Gaiole in Chianti for a visit. We will do it at a mealtime. Thanks.