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barry hoggard - Tuscany and Umbria Trip - September 1995

All restaurant prices are for two people with one bottle of wine unless otherwise noted. All hotel rates are per night for a double.

** means Favorites.

Places Featured:


Hotel Ristorante La Fortezza

Good restaurant with attractive interior and friendly staff.

Bagno Vignoni

Very small town where we stayed one night, only about a dozen buildings.

Albergo Le Terme

Small hotel, across from the Renaissance-era baths of the town. It was once the summer palace of Pope Pius II.

Taverna dei Barbi

Out of the way place in the country with its own fattoria. The owners are Italian (husband) and English (wife). She supposedly runs the kitchen (this from Rough Guide), and the food is OK but unremarkable - grilled meats, etc. The main point of visiting i s the wine. We had an '88 Brunello for 46,000 lira.

Bar/Ristorante La Parata

Attractive small, modern decor, wine bar with light meals - bruschetta, etc. Wines by the glass included several Brunellos. The most exciting thing about the place is that, as the evening progressed, it turned into what served as a gay bar to people in the region. Obviously, they weren't all from this town because it's too small. One person even brought in a hedge hog found outside on the road for people to pet.

Campello sul Clitunno

Nothing more than a little settlement, very remote, near the top of a mountain in the area around Spoleto.

**Trattoria Pettino

An amazing restaurant in the middle of nowhere. The drive is on rough roads up a mountain with beautiful views. The food is simple but excellent (lots of truffles) and the staff is very friendly. They gave us free Amaro di Tartufo at the end of the meal.

Certaldo Alto

Old historical center at top, surrounded by an industrialized modern town.

Osteria del Vicario

Restaurant and hotel, about the only one in the old part, with an outdoor terrace with beautiful views of the countryside. In appearance, it seems like it might be a tourist trap at first, but the food is simple and well-prepared and the setting is very pleasant.

Città della Pieve

A small town whose claim to fame is it's the birthplace of the painter Il Perugino.

Trattoria da Bruno Coppetta

The only real restaurant in town. We were the only non-locals. It has very modern decor and friendly staff, with good food at very low prices.


Hotel Porta Rossa

Quite nice hotel with pleasant staff and excellent location. 174,000 lira including breakfast.

Caffè Rivoire

Stylish caffè with many well-dressed Florentines and great gelato and granita. Across from the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi.

Antica Trattoria Oreste

A charming little restaurant with mostly outside tables in the Piazza next to the church in the Oltrarno. Great food, reasonable prices and an interesting crowd of Italians and foreigners. We kept our forks between primi and secondi, but had good, large glasses for our '90 Chianti. The staff is mostly friendly and attractive young women in their 20s.

Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco

Small, very popular restaurant in the Oltrarno with cinghiale (wild boar)-oriented menu and good desserts. Reservations recommended.

Ristorante Alle Murata

Attractive, modern restaurant with good nouvelle-influenced Italian food by a woman chef and an almost over-eager staff. The crowd was interesting and the music was older American jazz plus some Ella and Billie Holiday.

Ristorante Cafaggi

Inexpensive family-run restaurant, and one of the most authentically Italian atmospheres of the Florentine restaurants we found. Excellent food, with the wine, cheese and olive oil coming from the family's farm.

Ristorante I Toscano

Comfortable and spotless trattoria with good, simple food very well-prepared.

Trattoria Cammillo

In the Oltrarno, very good traditional fare. We had lunch here one day and liked it so much we made dinner reservations for the next day before we left.


An understandably popular city, quite beautiful.

Ristorante La Fornace di Mastro Giorgio

Another "gourmet" restaurant according to my guidebook that turned out to be disappointing. The food was actually pretty good, but the service was glacial. Our meal easily lasted over 3 hours even though we skipped dessert.


A small, very pretty town at the top of a mountain (the name means Falcon's mount) that has great art quite out of proportion to its size today. Very few restaurants or hotels.


Supposedly the gourmet restaurant of the town. The food is unremarkable, but we do have it to thank for introducing us to Sagrantino di Montefalco (although at a price double what it cost us elsewhere).

Bar Ristorante Il Falisco

One of several pizzeria/restaurants we encountered that expected tourists to order the "menu" rather than pizza and acted disappointed when we did so. The food was average but cheap, the service was a bit surly. The bar is a good place for breakfast, and in warmer times has a terrace with quite a view.


Overrated as a city to visit. It was almost impossible to find an interesting restaurant, and there was very little in the way of things to see, except places to taste and buy wine.

La Terrazza

Our hotel was supposedly two-star, but seemed more like a one- or no-star hotel. Shower with no curtain and no other drains in the bathroom, so that you ended up with water standing on the tile floor. It's a shame, because the room itself was nice, with antiques and a not too creaky bed.

Ristorante Evoe

Mostly a pizzeria, average food.


In general Pisa is a town that needs less than a whole day to see everything. The restaurant situation isn't very good: very little between pizza/pasta places and quite expensive business dinner places.

Hotel Amalfitana

A very neat and inexpensive 3-star hotel on a street leading to the Duomo. Great location.

Ristorante V. Beny

Odd, idiosyncratic restaurant with French-Italian food we stumbled across on a dark square on the other side of the river from the Duomo. I think its main appeal for the regulars (we seemed to be the only patrons who were not) is camp appeal. The owner, Beny, seems to just create menus and choose the wines to go with them at whim. The food was OK but not remarkable.

Radda in Chianti

Ristorante Le Vigne

Attractive, very modern restaurant in the countryside surrounded by vines (hence the name). Their own bottled Chianti is quite good, as is the food. Even the bottled water is their own.

San Gimignano

A beautiful town with about a dozen surviving medieval towers. A very good place to stay overnight, because most of the heavy tourist traffic consists of day-trippers and the town becomes much more quiet at night.

Hotel Leon Bianco

A wonderful hotel in a modernized building hundreds of years old. Our room was large and attractive with terra cotta floors, a modern, nice bathroom, and a view of the countryside as well as someone's private, walled garden. The owners are very helpful (only a bit of English) - they spent quite a bit of time calling hotels for us for our next town afterward.

Hotel/Ristorante Bel Soggiorno

The hotel seems quite nice, but we only ate at the restaurant. The food is excellent and French influenced, but I think one does better by sticking to the most "Italian" dishes. Rather fancy, with excellent service and very handsome waiters. It has a view of the countryside from the rather large dining room. We had dinner there several times.

Hotel Sovestro/Ristorante Da Pode

We ate at the restaurant on an outdoor terrace. Very game-oriented menu - pasta with pigeon sauce, cinghiale alla Maremmena. The hotel itself looks pretty modern, with a large swimming pool.

Ristorante La Mandragola

Excellent food with very modern decor (a bit too brightly lit) and low-key service. Food included ravioli stuffed with artichokes and truffles, with just olive oil and chunks of parmesan and a light asparagus tart as appetizers.


A very beautiful medieval walled city in Umbria - our favorite city of the stay. An excellent base for exploring the area around Spoleto and Assisi.

**Albergo del Teatro

The best hotel of the entire trip, only about 12 rooms. Very recently opened in renovated medieval building, with excellent antiques and a bathroom like a $300/night hotel in New York. Very helpful and friendly staff. There's a sort of parking lot, but you're not guaranteed to have a spot and you'll need to be a pretty good driver to get in and out.

**Ristorante La Cantina

Wonderful family-run place with simple but very well-prepared food. We ate there every day we stayed in Spello except one when they were closed.

Ristorante/Pizzeria Il Trombone

A casual pizzeria we went to on the night La Cantina was closed. Unremarkable but cheap.


An attractive town with an Etruscan museum (interesting but everything is poorly labelled, even in Italian). There are ruins of a Roman theatre and baths and one porta of the town wall is an arch with Roman and Etruscan elements.

Ristorante Da Beppino

Simple but very good food - grilled meats (including chicken) and pastas.

Last Updated 8/10/96