Recommendations for 6 days in Central Tuscany
I am heading to Tuscany with a girlfriend next week for 6 days of driving and relax. We are staying at a place near Pienza and we are planning to drive around most of the days. We got a few recs for Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino, and I guess we will spend more of our time in the area, but I was planning on visiting at least Siena, maybe the Chianti area and if possible, Volterra.
It would be great if we could have some extra recommendations, specially given that it will be August.
Our tastes are quite mixed, we can go from small pintxos places to Michelin star restaurants, as long as the food is good ;), but I guess that given that we will be driving, we will have to be careful with our lunchs. OK, we might be able to go crazy, order one of us not to drink, and go out for dinner a couple of the days, probably in Pienza, so suggestions are welcomed.
I do love coffee, and I like pretty normal places. A friend talked to me about Cafe Fiorella in Siena, so anything similar would be welcome.
Also, we´d like to bring back home some cheese and wine. Can you recommend us good shops or wineries selling to the public?
Just spent 10 days in Montepulciano in mid-May--with daily trips all around. An absolute "don't miss" is between Montepulciano and Pienze: La Porta Osteria in the tiny village of Monticchiello. It was so good we broke our own rule and went a second time. Fabulous wine list and the best meals of our 10 days [before heading off to Firenze for 5 weeks :) ]
I just had a wonderful lunch at the newly opened Dopolavoro last week. It's located about 15 minutes outside of Chianciano, on the estate of La Foce. Wonderfully prepared, local food. Gorgeous design of a restored ex-workers club house.
Hm, I know that bar in Siena is in all the guide books, but I don't "get" it. I guess I just don't have good taste in coffee. ;)
but I did want to let you know that it's not a destination place. There are no chairs or tables and people don't "mull around" in there. It's the "drink your coffee and go" type of place. It's TINY.
does it bother you that it's in guidebooks?
My comment was not directed towards what your habits may or may not be. :) I was more concerned about you driving all the way from Pienza. I don't think the place is worth that long drive. I ADORE coffee. Always looking for the next best. I buy my coffee in Siena as I like the way this place roasts it, but the place I go doesn't serve it, just sells the beans.
Well, not that you can't find wine where you are staying but there are two good enoteche in Siena, you can always go to the Casa del Brunello on Via della Sapienza. The owner is super knowledgeable and will even ship. You can also try Enoteca Italiana at the Fortezza in Siena as well. You can have drinks there as well. They even have a beautiful patio and a sort of upscale restaurant. (I've never eaten there though. )They have a huge selection, but nothing beats Casa del Brunello's helpful staff. Oh, you can also go to the Consorzio on the Corso, and actually even the local Coop Supermarket for the best prices, but it depends on what you're looking for. If you want less "mainstream" wines, you should stick to the area you are staying and visit the wineries there.
Oh dear me ! I do sound snobbish, right ?
No, it doesn´t bother me that it is in the guidebooks at all ( I go to plenty of places that appear in guidebooks just because I like them).
We are planning nevertheless on going to Siena one of the days, so I was thinking that it would be a good option just to stop, have a coffee, and continue the visit. And you have reminded me to put coffee in my shopping list, thanks ;).
For wine we will probably stay stuck in the area we are staying.