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Eating & Drinking

  • On the coast, the most typical dishes are cacciucco alla livornese (fish stew) and cinghiale dolce forte (sweet-and-sour wild boar). Neighbouring Maremma is a meaty, macho region, serving up wild game with boar, hare or pheasant. This area also boasts some of Italy’s most famous wines, such as Super Tuscans produced around Bolgheri. Also try the Morellino di Scansano DOC, a full-bodied red wine, obtained mostly by Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo grapes.

    The single most famous dish is from coastal Livorno, which produces the delicious cacciucco, the filling fish stew claimed to be the original bouillabaisse. The story goes that the soup originated in the port after a fierce storm left a widowed fisherman’s wife desperately trying to feed her many children. The children were sent begging for something to eat. As the fishermen had nothing else to give, the children came home with handfuls of mussels, a few shrimps, half a fish and some fish heads. The clever mother put them all in a pot, added herbs and tomatoes from her garden and created cacciucco. While zuppa di pesce can be eaten all over Italy, cacciucco can be eaten only in Livorno and surrounding areas. It is ladled over a thick slice of toasted bread flavoured with garlic.

  • Beach Club del Principe Forte dei Marmi

    The pricey, cocooning beach club goes hand in hand with the equally pricey Ristorante Dalmazia. Enjoy such delights as stir-fried shrimps, baked seabass, grilled rock-octopus, or Jerusalem artichokes with black truffles – all on the Principe’s private beach, of course.

    Address: Hotel Principe, Viale Morin 67, 55042 Forte dei Marmi
    Tel: 0584 784145

  • Il Piccolo Principe

    This theatrical Michelin-starred restaurant finds favour with visitors and locals alike, thanks to its rooftop setting and the cuisine itself. The menu blends international gourmet dishes with more local favourites, with pricey tasting menus centred on meat or seafood. Specialities include roast scallops, crab-stuffed ravioli, beef tartare and roast pigeon.

    Address: Piazza Giacomo Puccini, Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte, 55049 Viareggio
    Tel: 0584 401806

  • Il Caffè Principe

    Set close to Piazza Marconi, Caffè Principe is a perennially popular café made for people-watching. It sits on its laurels but remains a favoured spot for the smart set, at any time of day. The café can take you from breakfast to nightcaps. Come for a breakfast brioche, an Aperol Spritz or an affogato al caffè (a dessert made by dunking vanilla ice cream in espresso coffee) but prepare to pay over the odds.

    Address: Caffe Principe, via Carducci 2, 55042 Forte dei Marmi
    Tel: 0584 89238

  • L’Osteria Fonte del Penitente

    Set in a former monastery, this slightly out-of-the-way restaurant serves superb seafood, including cacciucco alla livornese, the classic Livorno fish stew.

    Address: Via di Montenero 345, 57128 Livorno
    Tel: 0586 579481

  • Il Moletto

    On Monte Argentario, watch the ferries slip over to Giglio while feasting on grilled seabass, cuttlefish soup, all washed down with an Antinori white wine. Sit on the marina main drag in this mid-priced spot and maybe share a tiramisu or trifle to finish.

    Address: Via del Molo 52, Porto Santo Stefano
    Tel: 0564 813636

  • La Fontanina

    Set in the hills a few minutes from Porto Santo Stefano, this inn serves beautifully presented food on its panoramic terrace. Tuck into Tuscan T-bone steak, baked sea bream, shrimp risotto, Maremma cheeses, with produce also from their own herb garden, orchard, vegetable gardens and olive groves. There are plenty of Maremma wines to be sampled.

    Address: Localita San Pietro, 58019 Porto Santo Stefano
    Tel: 0564 825261

  • Il Gambero Rosso

    Set on Monte Argentario, this portside veranda restaurant serves Tuscan seafood with a view. Service is friendly while prices are very good-value for classic seafood platters and say, spaghetti with clams (vongole).

    Address: Lungomare A Doria 70, 58018 Porto Ercole
    Tel: 0564 832650

  • I Pescatori

    Seafood-lovers should appreciate this rough-and-ready spot, overlooking the moody lagoon, and run by a fishermen’s cooperative. They’re specialised in lagoon fish, which is an acquired taste but ocean fish are also on the menu. Try the good-value menu or such dishes as grilled seabass or grey mullet roe, paired with austere Ansonica white wine.

    Address: Via Giacomo Leopardi 9, 58015 Orbetello
    Tel: 0564 860611

  • La Porta

    Set in a beamed, sixteenth-century townhouse by a clocktower, this is an unfussy rustic inn with an open fireplace and a terrace with sea views over the hills. On offer are traditional Maremma dishes, ranging from game (boar) to spit-roast meats, ricotta-stuffed ravioli, and Tuscan T-bone steak.

    Address: Via V Emanuele, 58011 Capalbio
    Tel: 0564 896311

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