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Food in Sienna vs. Sorrento

  • j

My husband and I have just decided to go to Italy right after Christmas. We'll be in Rome for 3 days (thanks for all of the great restaurants already posted there) and are trying to decide between Sorrento and Sienna for another 3 days (which will include New Year's).

We love to eat great, local food without too much of a splurge. If you had to choose between these two places based on food, which would you recommend? (And if you have thoughts beyond food, we'd love those too!.)

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  1. Siena is much more affordable and probably a better place to aim for in December/January. Lots of really good Tuscan cooking which is perfect for that time of year - molto semplice e molto delicioso!

    1. Simple, go to Sorrento if you like seafood. Go to Sienna if you prefer beef & pork!

      However, if you are thinking of going to Sorrento, I would certainly check to see how many restaurants there close over the Christmas-New Years season. I am guessing a good number of restaurants in Sorrento close over the winter months and even more close for the holidays.

      1. I don't know if I am allowed to post a link, so...go to www dot poggiosalvi dot net. We were in Tuscany the last two weeks in Oct - stayed at this place which was fantastic! The descriptions and pictures of the apartments are exactly as it is. They even have a wine spigot outside for guests to use - charge for wine is very reasonable and on the honor system. I am not a wine drinker, so can't comment on quality, but it certainly adds to the ambience. This is near Sienna. The proprietor makes eating suggestions and there is a book where previous guests have written their opinons. We enjoyed visiting Sienna, but probably enjoyed the countryside more.

        1. At that time of year, I would lean toward Tuscany, but not for food. Just my opinion, but I found the food in Tuscany about the least interesting in all of Italy, with seemingly the same menu at every restaurant. Sorrento is a better foodie destination, but it is a summer coastal resort and the winter may be bleak.

          1. Sorrento. No Question. Since this is a "real" town as opposed to being solely a resort, you should find many places open for the holiday period. I find the food much more appealing in Campania than in the Siena area..agree with Rrems on the Tuscan cuisine issue.

            You might also consider Amalfi. We had consistently great meals there last May and you can make a day trip to Cetara which is one of the food meccas of southern Italy.

            5 Replies
            1. re: erica

              Thank you everyone for your thoughts! We're definitely leaning toward the coast now, and are intrigued b Amalfi. Has anyone been there in late December/January? Are many restaurants still open?

              1. re: JACM

                I would say this is NOT the season for Amalfi - many if not all places on the Amalfi coast close in the winter. If you want to go to Campania, Naples or Sorrento would be a much better choice.

                I also differ with the critique of tuscan food. For three days in winter, it could be wonderful. There are places with open grills, delicious steaks, wild boar and pork, succulent soups like ribollita, beans, vegetables , pasta like pici and cannelloni- it is fine winter food. Id find a nice cozy place to stay , with a fireplace, if possible, and tour around a bit`, perhaps.

                Wherever you go, do be careful to check on opening and closing schedules. The period between Christmas and Epiphany is a vacation period in italy - which is good and bad, because italians many travel at this time (creating business), but some restaurants and hotels may want to close. Id say the period right after Epiphany, though, may be the low period of the whole year for italian tourism. As I say, check carefully what is and isnt open before making your final decisions.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  In Tuscany, don't forget those incredible, artisanal cured salumi plates for appetizers. The Tuscans use an ancient breed of pigs found nowhere else.
                  Also in Tuscany, those amazing once a year treats like white truffles and FRESH porcini mushrooms. And, lest I forget, fresh pressed olive oils from the current harvest. No contest. Tuscany for this time of year!

                2. re: JACM

                  The Amalfi coast is best during the spring and summer months.

                  1. re: JACM

                    I have to disagree about the holiday season NOT being a good time for Amalfi. There are many celebrations and many restaurants and hotels remain open. From what I gathered in speaking to locals during my recent trip, many places DO shut down AFTER the first week in January. Take a look:


                    In any case, you could certainly contact a local hotel and ask...I will give you the name of the place we stayed in Amalfi if you are interested in pursuing that idea.

                3. On a slightly different tack, There is a marvelous place about 15 miles north of Sienna. It is a winery. They have taken over half the old workers places and turned them into a luxury hotel. The left the other places for the workers, so you actually get to mingle with real people in the evenings. We were there in mid-Nov and it was still warm in the evenings so folks were out with their kids, playing cards etc. Fascinating! The Main house has beenconverted to a lovely restaurant, and of course, the wines are superb. THE best champagne I ever had came from the winery. The place is called Relais Borgo San Feliice and is located in the village of Felice. It was and may still be a member of the Relais et Chateaux group, so that will give you some indication of the food - and the price.

                  1. I would go to Sienna. I have been to Amalfi in January, admittedly right after Christmas, and was very disappointed as there were hardly any restaurants open. There are many options in Tuscany in the winter, on the other hand. I would recommend renting in car as some of the better restaurants are in towns not too far from Sienna, but not in Sienna. Plus the wine in Tuscany is wonderful!!!