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November trip to Tuscany & Umbria: what's in season? Regional specialties?

My spouse and I will be traveling though Tuscany and Umbria in late November, specifically Pisa, Pienza, Siena, Arezzo, Gubbio and Assisi. We'd like to eat seasonal food and regional specialties. For example, I know that pecorino cheese is made in Pienza and that it's probably a good time of the year for mushrooms.

What would you recommend? We eat everything, but we need to stick with a modest budget. We really love street food and enjoy picnicking.

Thanks!

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  1. Sorry to be a bore, but there have been dozens of posts on dining in these towns. Be sure to do a search on this board for each town you are thinking of visiting.

    Il Rosselino, in Pienza, has been recommended in the past by myself & others. It is run by an older couple and has about 5 tables. Reservations are essential.

    You can find white truffles available in November in this part of Italy. The NY Times had an article a few years about white truffles in and around the village of San Giovanni d'Asso, which is south of Siena. If I can find it on the NY Times website, I will post a link.

    8 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      Here is the link: http://travel.nytimes.com/2005/07/10/...

      I have been to San Giovanni d'Asso. It is a very modest village, with a small museum dedicated to truffles.

      1. re: DavidT

        I would also recommend a visit to the charming town of San Quirico, which is between Pienza and Montalcino.

      2. re: DavidT

        thanks DavidT. Il Rosselino sounds excellent. I also have a recommendation for latte del luna in Pienza. Have you eaten there too? If so, how would you compare the two?

        1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

          Sorry, have not been to Latte del Luna. I think it has been commented upon on this board several times over the past year or two.

          Here is a link to a very recent NY Times article on touring Tuscany in the fall/winter:

          http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/...

          1. re: Henrietta Stackpole

            Latte di Luna is by far the better of the two restaurants.

            1. re: Tuscanlover

              Thanks--I made a reservation for Latte di Luna.

          2. re: DavidT

            Reservations are NOT essential at this place. (Il Rossellino.) It is always empty whenever I go, which is several times. Be prepared for a weird experience!

          3. It might be worth it for you to pick up a book called Authentic Tuscany put out by the Touring Club of Italy (TCI)

            They have a large section devoted to regional specialties - meats, cheeses, wines, pastries etc. not only of each region but each town along with lists of recommended shops you can buy these items. They are weak on actual restaurant recommendations but it sounds like thats not what you are asking.

            1 Reply
            1. re: r.vacapinta

              Thanks--I'll look for Authentic Tuscany at the library.

            2. In Tuscany this time of year , of course, truffles are in season, but for those watching their pennies, they are perhaps not the direction to take. I certainly recommend you try Cinghiale (wild boar) in umido and coniglio (rabbit served in a variety of ways), as they are Tuscan specialties and worth trying.If you get to Orvieto, which I highly recommend, as a delightful little hill town famous for its wonderful white wine, do look for the restaurant in the cave, a hidden gem full of delicious food.

              1 Reply
              1. Although you are more likely to see it north of the Apennines than in Tuscany/Umbria, one other fall specialty to look for is fresh pasta (tortellini, ravioli, etc.) stuff with zucca (pumpkin). It is usually served with sage leaves sauteed/fried in butter. Very tasty indeed!

                1 Reply
                1. Radicchio is in season; it's not regional, but most places should have it as a contorno. I like it grilled.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: zerlina

                    I'll absolutly love radicchio, so I'll keep my eyes open for contorno.

                    Thanks.