Eating and Drinking in Tuscany
We have an affinity with Tuscany in our family. In particular, with the Garfagnana region around Barga. My mum and her husband (crumble muching Andy) have been visiting for almost 10 years after falling on the place by accident as part of their honeymoon.
I've been twice and my brother has been 3 times, this year I'm not going and my sister is, along with mum, Andy and my brother.. so, as you can see, its a real love affair.
We have always stayed at the same place, a gorgeous villa owned by the lovely Antonio and Paola, called La Borracia, in Campo, near to the town of Gallicano. The views of the surrounding countryside are absolutely stunning and the food in that region is excellent too, its one of my favourite places in the whole world. With Lucca and Siena not too far away by car, culture is on your doorstep. Closer to home are Barga and Castle Neuvo, both bustling towns and full of great places to eat.
For anyone heading over to to this part of Italy, I'd love to share some of the great places we've found over the years to eat. For anyone considering Tuscany and unsure where exactly to go, I highly recommend Barga! Less touristy that Siena or Lucca, you get a real Tuscan experience. A car is necessary though, lots of hills!
So, now onto the foodie bits.. Where to eat!
Trattoria Bonini - Monte Perpoli
+39583639425 Via Monteperpoli 147, 55032 Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Italy
Amazing gourmet food for low prices. The restaurant is above a small bar and deli counter. You go up the stairs into what you think is someones house and open out into a nice relaxing restaurant area. The tables are made out of wine boxes which adds a quirky touch and Mr Bonini himself is a well qualified sommelier so ask for his recommendations!
+39583723192 Via di Mezzo, Barga, Italy
This place is right next to the old gate into the picturesque fort town of Barga. Its got a lovely vibe, family run and the food is great. We always visit more than once whilst we're in Tuscany. The Gorgonzola pasta from here is famous in our family and Lou is always trying to recreate it at home!
Pizzeria Alpino, Barga
Via Pascoli, 14 - Barga 0583 723336
Don't take our word for it, check out trip advisor, this place does seriously good pizza. We've only ever eaten pizza here so I can't comment on the rest of the menu but the place itself is nice. My tip would be to go for an outside table so you can watch the world go by... and the old Italian men who sit all day on the benches opposite! Pizza flavour options are limited but whatever comes out, it'll be great. Thin, crispy bases and a generous amount of cheese )
Da Aristo, Barga
Piazza del Comune, Barga
This place is amazing, a tiny cafe with a couple of small tables outside, right in the heart of the oldest part of Barga, the Piazza del Comune. Well worth hovering around for a while to grab a table. The bar owner is friendly and the place has a real cool vibe about it with impromptu gigs happening frequently too. We usually go at lunch and share 'meat on paper'. No idea what you'll get but you know it'll be delicious, cheap and swilled down perfectly with a glass of prosecco!
For anyone thinking about a trip to Tuscany, I say do it! By choosing to stay somewhere outside of the main tourist areas (for example in or around Barga, as we do) you get more for your money and a real Tuscan experience. The food is second to none pretty much everywhere and the prosecco is cheap and delicious everywhere!