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What would you do? Three nights in Lucignano Tuscany, endless possibilities

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SE_ME Sep 2, 2009 02:05 PM

My husband and I are heading to Italy for our first anniversary; in the middle of our September trip we'll spend 3 nights in a villa outside of Lucignano. I've read TuscanLover's praise for nearby Da Toto so we'll likely have a dinner there. I've also booked a winery tour and lunch at Poggio Antico, but so far that's it. I’ve compiled a long list of CH recommended restaurants for each of the popular towns and I’m armed with both Italia Red Guide and SlowFood Osteria guide….we know we can eat well wherever we happen to be when hunger strikes. We’re willing to spend high if warranted and have no dietary restrictions. CH has Florence well covered so we are set there.

With that in mind, what is your favorite Tuscan culinary experience? Something worthy of planning around, even driving out of your way to reach, that is beyond the typical Lucca-Siena-San Gimignano circuit?

Best romantic dinner? I've heard San Gimignano is better than Siena at night, but most posters seem to agree that particular after-dinner drive is too far….so anything special closer to Lucignano? Locanda dell'Amarosa seemed to fit the bill perfectly, but alas, nothing but mediocre reviews for their food. Hosteria la Vecchia Rota is the nearest Slow Food establishment, has anyone been there?

For an Umbria day trip, which town would be better for a leisurely lunch... Perugia (detour into Gubbio for Taverna del Lupo) or Orvieta? We're thinking about doing that loop for ceramics shopping in Deruta and site seeing in Orvieto. Should we re-consider this piece for more time in Tuscany?

Thanks for your feedback (if anyone makes it through this long post)!

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  1. vidanto RE: SE_ME Sep 2, 2009 03:14 PM

    More or less 22kmetres from Lucignano, there is Montepulciano.
    It deserves a not short visit and the happy dinner or lunch could be at OSTERIA DELL'ACQUACHETA, in the historic center of the town.
    A lovely and delightful experience to enjoy the Tuscany meat.
    Look ati its website at its English version: www.acquacheta.eu.
    Ciao.

    Vincenzo

    3 Replies
    1. re: vidanto
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      SE_ME RE: vidanto Sep 2, 2009 06:06 PM

      I LOVE the picture on the website, thanks for sharing! I wanted to have at least one really excellent bistecca fiorentina during the trip, reviews lead me to believe this is the place. Vidanto, do you recommend anything specific for first course? Is it still necessary to reserve in advance?

      1. re: SE_ME
        vidanto RE: SE_ME Sep 3, 2009 05:01 AM

        to reserve in advance is ok, but only few days before the date.
        As first course, if available: tagliatelle al tartufo bianco delle crete senesi, if you like white truffles. You have to know, anyway, it is the most expensive first course.

        Vincenzo

        1. re: SE_ME
          k
          kyeblue RE: SE_ME Apr 20, 2010 08:27 AM

          Heard that reservation need to be made a month ahead for this place. But the meat displayed on their website does not look appealing to me and not being dry aged.

      2. j
        Jeremy M RE: SE_ME Sep 2, 2009 06:09 PM

        There is a Slow Food (2009 guide) restaurant in Lucignano. I don't have the name handy, but we stopped there for lunch about 3 weeks ago, en route from Le Marche to Lucca. We had a very nice meal - plates of excellent cured meats and local cheeses, a fine rendition of panzanella, some very good pastas, and a bottle of Cervaro della Sala for the very fair price of 20 euros. (I haven't seen it elsewhere, including wine stores, for less than 35). Folks at neighboring tables were eating wonderful looking bistecca alla fiorentina and tagliata. We had four kids under the age of 6 at the table, and the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, even frying up an egg in the idiosyncratic fashion that my 3-year-old demands. I'll try to dig up the name and to recall the specific pasta dishes that we tried - they were mainly meat-based, with cinghiale and the like, but my vegetarian wife had ravioli that somehow involved black truffles. In any event, I would make a detour to return, and recommend the place strongly of you are staying near Lucignano.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Jeremy M
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          SE_ME RE: Jeremy M Sep 2, 2009 07:17 PM

          Shoot, I didn't realize there was a new guide out, mine was printed in October 2006. I am terribly saddened, do you think the recommendations in the 2006 guide still be valid? Lucignano is not included.

          If you do recall the name please let me know, it sounds delicious.

          1. re: SE_ME
            j
            Jeremy M RE: SE_ME Sep 2, 2009 09:10 PM

            It's called La Rocca, and it's on Via Matteotti, just inside the walls. Well worth a visit, and it should be quite convenient for you.

            Slow Food puts out a new edition of the Osterie d'Italia guide every year. There is considerable continuity from year to year, but they do add and drop places, so you may want to pick up the new edition. You can also register at their website, and find most if not all of the recommendations there.

            Sorry that I didn't respond before to your questions about Umbria. I don't think you will go wrong with Orvieto or Perugia/Gubbio. Many have recently run through the several great places in Orvieto, and the Duomo, pozzo, and feel of the town merit a visit. If you go the Perugia route, you might try Stella, a new addition to the Slow Food guide, or divert to Foligno for Il Bacco Felice or to Spello for La Bastiglia. In the lower part of Deruta, there is a great Slow Food place called Il Borgo, but it may only open for dinner.

            1. re: SE_ME
              jen kalb RE: SE_ME Sep 3, 2009 05:25 AM

              slowfood guide does add and drop places from time o time tho hot quickly and it is not a bad sign if a place is dropped, necessarily, since they seem to highlight a limited number of places and if a restaurants prices go up beyond their target range, it will be left out for that reason. Personally, I think gubbio is a long way away for a day trip from lucignano - why go so far with so many closer entrancing places - I particularly recommend Arezzo, with a couple of slowfood recs, its Piero frescos and a very charming town which at least many years ago when I was there had a very nice ceramics store -There are other slow food possibilities if you go in that direction, very convenient to you.
              Pienza, Chiusi, Val d'orcia in southern tuscany, Cortona Chiusi, etc all more convenient from your very central location.

          2. Chinon00 RE: SE_ME Sep 2, 2009 09:54 PM

            White Truffles.

            1. s
              SE_ME RE: SE_ME Sep 4, 2009 10:00 AM

              Thanks all for the input. We'll be sure to try the white truffle dish and La Rocca in Lucignano (many thanks Jeremy for finding the name...I like the thought of dinners close to home).

              I thought Orvieto looked lovely (plus I really wanted to try I Sette Consoli), but I'm beginning to realize that the trek to Deruta for ceramics followed by Orvieto for food is probably not worth it. I'll look for some recs closer to home base, plus I'll have another chance for ceramics shopping in Positano.

              I feel better about the outdated book...so many of the entries have been around for generations, pretty good chance they can maintain quality for 3 more years.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SE_ME
                jen kalb RE: SE_ME Sep 4, 2009 10:31 AM

                The ceramics on the amalfi coast are very different from those in deruta etc - much more naive in style. In fact, after going thru all of the shop contents of the big store in Ravello we wound up, ironically, buying only some deruta tiles. There is a studio in Monte San Savino (Studio Giotto) which might be worth a visit for you. Its a great town for shopping and strolling, we had some very good porchetta from the butcher there many years ago.

              2. s
                slrobertson RE: SE_ME Apr 20, 2010 03:32 AM

                Had lunch in la Rocca, Lucignano on Friday - can't recommend it enough. My enjoyment was probably heightened by having just completed an 18 hour drive from London due to the volcanic eruptions and cancelled flights. Chefs ravioli with nettle, ricotta and pancetta, and then pork fillet in pecorino sauce with truffles - to die for...

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