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Mar 23, 2014 02:48 AM

Villages and food south of Bologna

Hi all

Looking for a country hotel / restaurant with rooms for one night stopover with great food ( or in village with good restaurant ) just south of Bologna- maybe within 30km?. Not expensive but good family atmosphere and preferably in a " scenic / historical" village. Any suggestions please? thanks Keith

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  1. By "good family atmosphere" do you mean family-owned or that you are traveling with children?

    Also, what is "not expensive" to you? Can you give a per person price for dinner exclusive of wine?

    5 Replies
    1. re: kmzed

      Yes sorry not very clear! I meant casual family type trattoria/ home cooking and no children involved so just two aged foodies!! Was thinking meal around 30-40 euros a head so not Michelin star type and not too formal. Accommodation maybe around 60-90 for a double room. Other alternative could be a good clean basic hotel in a character village with a good restaurant . We are driving on to Pienza ( any restaurant/ wine/ foodie tips for there also appreciated by the way ) so just a memorable stopover sought. Thanks in advance

      1. re: keithangus

        About 35 kms south of Bologna on the most direct route to Pienza is the town of Loiano. It is not so much historic as it is just untouched by time -- although locals do go up into that area for excursions. There is a super basic country hotel (La Pineta) and an absolutely small town casalinga osteria (d'Angela) or you could get more amenities at Palazzo Loup (and eat at its restaurant). If you are traveling on the weekend in nice weather you could run into weddings at Palazzo Loup.

        There is no town of interest in and around nearby Monzuno but plenty of nice scenery. You could pick a b&b and eat at Gustavino & Passalacqua (probably the area's officially "best" restaurant). Or you could head to Agriturismo Arco delle Braine and eat a rustic farm meal (you would probably need to give them advance notice you wanted dinner) and then spend the night.

        Roads around there are wiggly and prone to slips and slides in the rain so allow time for getting lost and plan to arrive well before dark. Should you book in that area and the day turns out to be torrentially rainy then cancel your booking and find a place to stay in Sasso Marconi or somewhere along an autostrada route south. That is really rural driving up there. The university of Bologna has its observatory in Loiano for altitude and darkness (so you might prefer an easier drive someplace lower).

        1. re: kmzed

          Thanks so much- sounds just what I am looking for! What a great site this is!!

          As you obviously know the area any thoughts on best eating places around Pienza and particularly any good value places to buy wine ( we are self catering )?

          1. re: keithangus

            You should start a separate thread about Pienza with "Pienza" in the subject line. I don't know that area. You might also want to ask your question on the wine forum (or other internet wine forums).

    2. wondering, what about the slowfood classic Trattoria da Amerigo in Savigno? It has rooms, and should meet your criteria, though its a little away from the autostrada

      4 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb

        Last time I checked it had moved out of classic slow food price categories. OP has set a fairly low price point per person relative to Amerigo. Don't know when the travel dates are but the rooms at Amerigo are priced per season and start to move out of target budget range in "on" season. I think the owners are absolutely fab and think spending the night in their impassioned destination place is memorable, and the food can be lovable (although it is intellectualized and sometimes the kitchen delivers a total flub). I totally respect what they do (it is an interesting and genuine expression of the local modern culture) and they deserve their applause and the international travelers who flock to their doorstep. Were the ultimate destination not Pienza I would have also suggested it and up to the OPs if they want to put on the extra miles or forego the adventure of Loiano and its less polished scene. No guarantees here either way about acing a flawless meal.

        1. re: kmzed

          As best I can tell Da Amerigo still is a slowfood "snail" osteria, which would mean that it is possible to have a good meal within their cost parameters (presumably not with truffles etc and probably not with 4 courses!), which have become increasingly difficult to meet. Viamichelin puts the a la carte meal cost at 35-50 euros per person without wine which is pretty reasonable in that region and certainly not indicative of an "expensive" restaurant.

          I think its about 27 k from Bologna though as noted a little off the A1

          1. re: jen kalb

            The Osterie d'Italia has created separate categories for more expensive restaurants that no longer fit into their pricing parameters and Amerigo had been removed to that category as I remember. No doubt it is possible to stick to a budget once there but I think I would be rather disappointed to go and find out the items most appealing to me were not in the budget. I seem to recall that Amerigo offers some price-friendly tasting menus some or maybe most evenings. But I also don't know if it possible to find rooms in Savigno less than what Amerigo charges if seasonal prices are beyond the stated budget. Finally, I don't think Savigno, while in an attractive rural area, is quite as scenic or interesting as other part of those hills, but that is probably neither here nor there. The fantasia of the whole set up of Amerigo is what makes it special even when the food isn't everybody's big wow. But the ingredients are always top notch.

            There is so much online about Amerigo dal 1934 that if the OP in interested then some googling might help the decision and even nail down whether or not it falls within the desired budget. I don't know.

            1. re: kmzed

              The problem with the Osterie Guide is that their traditional moderate eating price range has become outmoded in the face of rising prices. It becomes difficult to recommend restaurants that meet a high quality standard of regional cooking and use of local products at the same low 35E max price point for a full meal without wine. Id suspect that the addition of a higher tier (I havent seen the most recent version of the guide) is an attempt to address this problem and also continue to recommend the type of moderately priced tradiitonal dining places that serve the best of local cuisines. We generally focus on moderately priced rather than luxe restaurants in our travels. For a memorable meal in Italy, this type of classic trattoria or small restaurant is exactly where we would aim. Our visits to Nonna Ninna and La Brinca in Liguria last year, fine regional food and wine with warm hospitality in pleasant surroundings were perfect examples. of this type of place. but its all a matter of personal priorities and budget in the end and the Loiano options sound interesting as wel.

              I looked on their website and Da Amerigo seems to have rooms in the OPs price range