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Jul 9, 2013 08:02 AM

Help with restaurants in Cinque Terre and restaurants and farmers markets in Siena Region of Tuscany

Hi, In 10 days we will be driving down from the South of France, stopping in Cinque Terre for 2 days (staying in Vernazza) and then driving down to a small town called Rigomagno, which we will use as our base for a week. Rigomagno is in the middle of Siena, Arezzo, and Montepulciano. We will visit all 3 (maybe Montalcino instead of Montepulciano) as well as Pienza, maybe Orvieto, and who knows where else. I'd love to find some great restaurants for lunches and some farmers markets so we can cook some fabulous dinners.

In Siena, we were looking at the classic Le Logge or L'Osteria. Montalcino has Re Di Macchia or Il Leccio. rossellino in Pienza also sounds good. Any recommendations are welcome to replace these. We're not looking for fine dining, but rather just amazing cuisine. Love family run places, homemade pastas, etc.

What about farmer's markets? Where are the best ones? When are they?

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  1. I recommend that along the way you invest in a copy of Osterie d'Italia.

    Local residents are the best sources of up-to-date information about local markets, including their hours and what is particularly good this season for the days you are there.

    In le Cinque Terre, it would be a pity, I think, to miss anchovies and whoever is dishing up the best pesto in Vernazza, and I don't know who that is, but ask many different local people specifically and see if you can zero in on advice that sounds reliable. Half the steering you get will be friends boosting friends, but sometimes you can suss it out. In the heat of the summer, it is often unappealing to book restaurants in other towns and then rely on trains to and fro, so I would focus on Vernazza.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barberinibee

      My mouth is watering! My parents gave me the same advice, Barberinibee, about Cinque Terre and anchovies, so I think that's a must. My groups Italian is poor, but we'll try to suss out or sniff out the best pesto. Thanks for the advice about moving around. I think we'll hike some during the days, so maybe some lunches in other towns.

    2. re markets, I recommend shopping for food during your daily travels - towns such as Siena, Montepulciano, Pienza, etc will have shops with local cheeses, oils, wine and meats, as well as good fruits and vegetables. There are travelling markets (not necessarily with more local produce than the town stores) in tuscany but Im not sure they are better than the local shops - Heres a link to schedule info, it you want to check one out as part of your travels.

      Im sure your hosts in Rignomagno will be able to direct you to the best local food shopping sources.- the area around Pienza is well known for its sheep cheeses - Id imagine you could spend your evenings (as we did in once in tuscany) eating mostly bread, fruit and cheese and cured meats with our wine, of course..

      1 Reply
      1. re: jen kalb

        Thanks for the link, Jen. I definitely want to check out a market. Unfortunately we have no hosts in Rigomagno to direct us, but I'm starting to get a good sense of must tries. Eating bread, fruit, cheese and meats, with lots of wine sounds perfect.