The charming Val d’Orcia villages abound in family-run inns and bars in atmospheric settings. The best inns offer Slow Food ingredients, such as prosciutto di cinta senese (cured meat made from an acorn-snuffling, wild-boar-like breed of Sienese pig). Salami are on the menu everywhere, maybe flavoured with wild fennel. This is Sienese territory so expect the stubby pasta known as pici, in every kind of sauce, including game. In autumn, mushroom and chestnut dishes are on the menu, a reminder that the fertile slopes of Monte Amiata are not far away. As for dessert, look out for ricciarelli, Sienese biscuits, tasty, lozenge-shaped almond and candied orange-peel biscuits, a variant on macaroons. These may be served with Vin Santo, Tuscany’s celebrated dessert wine.
Eating & Drinking
La Taverna del Pian delle Mura
This friendly, mid-priced inn on the slopes of Monte Amiata serves starters (antipasti) of pecorino cheese and gamey prosciutto di cinta senese (Sienese salami), pici all’aglione (stubby spaghetti with garlic and oil), plus local lamb and chicken with roasted vegetables from the owners’ garden.
Address: Via delle Casine 12, Vivo d’Orcia, 53023 Castiglione d’Orcia
Tel: +39 0577 874009
Osteria del Leone
This cosy village inn is as photogenic as its Bagno Vignoni setting. Enjoy traditional Tuscan cooking on the summery terrace or in the quaint, rustic-elegant dining room. First courses (primi) include pasta dishes such as pici alle briciole (stubby spaghetti-like pasta in bread sauce). Also on the menu are stuffed artichokes, local meat and game, including wild boar and rabbit.
Address: Via dei Mulini 3, 53027 Bagno Vignoni
Tel: +39 0577 887300
This popular, old-fashioned, family-run trattoria has a summery, wisteria-hung terrace and rustic dining room. The specialities are the family’s home-cured salami and the pasta with myriad sauces, served with pici or tagliatelle. The wild boar stew is as highly-rated as the locally-produced wines.
Address: Via Dante Alighieri 42, 53027 San Quirico d’Orcia
Tel: +39 0577 897541
Ristorante San Filippo Delitti
This reliable, inexpensive spa restaurant is open to all, even if you could also dine after a soothing swim in the thermal baths (April onwards). Come for hearty Tuscan cooking, home-made pasta, tasty meats and a local cheeseboard, The wine list features Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti and Morellino, along with up-and-coming wines from Val d’Orcia and Montecucco.
Address: Terme di San Filippo, Via San Filippo 23, 53023 Bagni San Filippo
Tel: +39 0577 872982
La Torre di Monte Oliveto
This touristy but surprisingly decent trattoria is just beyond the main gate of the Monte Oliveto Benedictine abbey. Set in a tower but spilling out onto a sheltered courtyard, this popular place serves rustic Tuscan treats from cold cuts and crostini slathered in olive oil paste to filling ribollita soup, Tuscan pecorino cheese and succulent grilled meats.
Address: Localita di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, 53020 Asciano
Tel: +39 0577 707022
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You can choose to enrich your visit with a Tuscan lunch in a historic Florentine Restaurant.