As you well know, Italy is overflowing with great food and abundant with amazing places to eat all that food. In places like Rome, Florence and Venice, it can be a snap to find good restaurants in Rick Steves’ Italy guidebooks or one of the many other excellent guidebooks out there.
However, if you’re in Tuscany and looking for a restaurant in Buonconvento, a beautiful little medieval town just south of Siena, it may be a little more difficult to know which restaurants to give a shot.
Look no further than Osteria La Via di Mezzo. This fall, I had lunch there during my work travels (I was in the Swiss Heartland, Tuscany and Paris for 2 weeks…I know, tough job, right?!) and had a simply wonderful pesto risotto dish there. I couldn’t give it, or the town of Buonconvento, any higher marks.
If you haven’t heard of Buonconvento, it’s a charming little walled village that was recently named one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy. Coffee bars, restaurants, gelaterias and a great sacred art museum (note: web site is in Italian), give the walled section of Buonconvento that town center feeling. With Siena just 25 minutes to the north and Florence a bit over an hour further, you’re close to many of the cities and sites you’re used to reading about.
Staying in Buonconvento puts you right in the heart of the Tuscan wine belt, surrounded by some of the most beautiful vistas in Italy, with wineries that produce the world-renowned Brunello wines. Outside the beautiful walls of Buonconvento lies a slightly more modern section of town, providing residents and visitors with a large supermarket (you’ll recognize the Coop logo) and a nearby train station.
A LITTLE EXTRA: If you’re anywhere near Buonconvento in early to mid-September, take a quick trip over to the town of Asciano. They have an annual festival at the old stadium there and the marquee event is a donkey race! I only caught 10 seconds of it on video because my battery died but those 10 seconds were some of the most entertaining of my trip!
What is your favorite restaurant in Tuscany?