Orto de’ Medici Hotel
Charming centuries-old palazzo with the ambiance of an elegant private home, tastefully decorated with frescoes, portraits, chandeliers and oriental carpets. The hotel is in the heart of Florence’s historic centre and only a five minute walk from the Duomo. Orto de’Medici is family-run and all the staff are very friendly and extremely helpful.
Price: Lire 300,000 for double room and Bed and Breakfast.
Orto de’ Medici
Via San Gallo , 30
Tel: 055 483 427
Fax: 055 461 276
Comfortable, tastefully decorated and extremely clean hotel ideally situated in Montalcino near Siena. It has a lovely swimming pool and is the perfect base from which to explore Montalcino’s 200 wine estates and its medieval town
Via Osticcio, 19
Tel/Fax 0577 848 326
Montebelli is in the heart of Maremma in the wilds of southern Tuscany. Run by Lorenzo and his wife Carla, the farm produces it’s own olive oil and wine and offers extremely comfortable accommodation in a beautiful setting. It’s a perfect place to get away from it all and is less that an hour from the Tuscan coast.
Price: Lire 180,000 per person half-board
Caldana (near Grosseto)
58020 Caldana (GR)
Tel: 0566 887 100
Fax: 0566 814 39
Planet Food chef Tyler Florence cooks his final dish in the beautiful home of an Italian family. This luxurious private villa in the heart of Chianti, and can be hired privately from Mrs Yole Pozzi.
PIANO ROSSO, Marradi
Owned by lively husband and wife team Emilia and Vanni, this is a delightful agriturismo perched at the top of a dramatic hill with fabulous views over the Mugello countryside. The farmhouse is surrounded by forests of chestnuts and wild mushrooms and is a rambler’s paradise. The rooms are self-contained apartments with private bathrooms but Emilia is a great cook and also prepares hearty evening meals for her guests. Chestnut tagliatelle with pancetta, radicchio and ricotta is strongly recommended.
Restaurants, cafes and shops
Located amid the hustle and bustle of the Sant’Ambrogio market, Cibreo is an institution in Florence. Flamboyant owner/chef Fabio Picchi provides a three-in-one dining experience: an elegant restaurant on one side, a casual trattoria on the other and, across the road, Cibreo caffe offers great coffee, snacks and a few dishes. Fabio has a strict no-pasta policy but makes up for it with an amazing array of ingredients and sumptous dishes.
Via dei Macci, 118r
Tel: 055 234 1100
Fax: 055 244 966
Vivoli, Il Gelato
If ice cream is your weakness, then Vivoli is the place to go. Founded in 1930 , it is considered by many to be the best gelateria in Florence. It is still owned by the founder’s son, Mr Piero Vivoli and his passion for his ice cream is so strong that new flavours are constantly being conjured up. His silky, rich ‘chocolate-orange’ is a firm favourite.
VIVOLI, IL GELATO
Via Isola delle Stinche, 7
Tel: 055 292 334
Tamburini is placed in the heart of the historical centre of Bologna, a town famous for its cuisine and traditionally described as a gourmet’s paradise. This famous delicatessen and lunchtime bistrot has some of the best cheeses, hams and specialities to be found in Italy. Its also a great place for culinary gifts to bring back home and you can find everything from traditional Balsamic vinegar and truffle oil, to dried porcini mushrooms and pickled aubergines.
Via Caprarie, 1
Tel: 051 234 726
Fax: 051 232 226
This small shop has some of the best fresh pasta to be found in Italy. Renata Venturi and daughters, Daniela and Monica make a mouthwatering variety of Bolognese favourites such as tortellini, tortelloni, gnocchi, lasagne, passatelli and tagliatelle all handmade on a daily basis .
Via Belvedere 7B
051 220 558
Banfi is a giant 7,000 acre wine estate in the middle of Montalcino, one of Italy’s most famous wine growing areas. Worth visiting are the spectacular cellars, the shop in the twelfth-century borgo, the restaurant where you can sample a mind boggling array of delicious wines with your meal, and the Glass Museum – housing a fascinating collection from Roman times to the present.
Tel: 0577 840 111
Fax: 0577 840 205
The impressive Biondi Santi wine estate is a wonderful place to visit and is owned by Franco Biondi Santi, grandson of the man credited with the birth of Brunello wine, Ferruccio Biondi Santi. The estate is open to visitors by appointment and the stately vine-coloured villa is a house of distinguished style where Mr Santi happily gives informal guided tours of the wine cellars and his wines can be tasted and bought.
Tel: 0577 848 087
Featured image Italy by Moyan Brenn