A Slice of Tuscany

Michael and I sat at a corner table overlooking the hills of Tuscany. We were in a town I’d never heard of until that very morning when a Facebook posting directed us to not just the town but “the restaurant on the curve as you’re driving up there.” 

No name was mentioned. But in an area filled with small towns trickling down hillsides, I pulled up Google maps and thought “How many restaurants can there be on the curve before this town?” 

I found one and called to make a reservation. 

“Did they even take your name?” Michael asked when I hung up.

“No,” I said. “I just told them what time I’d be there and they said fine.” 

This either means: 

  1. They are not a good restaurant so no one goes so there’s no need for “real” reservations. 
  2. We’d managed to find a restaurant that is good yet still undiscovered by the hordes of tourists who visit this region every year. 

I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the scenes around us as we drove up the hill: vineyards, tall cypress trees, an occasional house, all on a rolling green carpet–the shade of which can really only be experienced in Tuscany.

Michael focused on the road. Which was good as driving a standard on a hill takes a bit of focus. 

As we turned a corner, we saw the windows above us, diners looking out over the scene we’d just driven through. 

“That’s it,” I said, pointing. 

“Seriously?” Michael said, trying to peer up, a smile on his face. 

He dropped me off so he could turn around to park in the small lot we’d just passed. “Make sure to get a table at the window,” he told me. 

Ugh. I am not the most assertive when it comes to requesting such things. I took my time walking past the wine shop, through the gate, and onto the bricked patio covered with plants. 

I waited patiently behind a man dressed in coveralls and work boots. He paid his bill and then it was my turn.

I explained to the waiter that I had just called. He escorted me to the corner table. I nearly cried. It was like a scene out of a movie. I stared at the view. Tore my eyes away only briefly to acknowledge the wine list that was given to me.

Michael came in a few minutes later. “Are you kidding me?!” he said, taking in the table, the view. 

I snapped a picture of the cover of the wine list—worn on the edges, as if it had passed through thousands of hands. A good sign to me. 

I ordered the house wine. The waiter opened the bottle before me and poured me a glass. 

“So what can you tell me about this wine?” I asked. 

He smiled, squatted down beside me and pointed to the lines of vineyards before us. “It’s from those grapes,” he said. “And that’s the winery,” he said, pointing to the building beyond the vines. 

We all laughed and I wasn’t sure it could get much better than this. 

And then they served our food. 

The region is known for its beef cooked up into a sauce and poured over tortellini stuffed with. . . that same beef. It’s that good. 

Michael had paparadelle pasta with a mushroom sauce. “The mushrooms are from here,” the waiter told us. Michael took one bite and then said, “You know how sometimes mushrooms are just part of the dish? But sometimes they are actually used to flavor the dish? That’s what this is.” 

And the bread! Oh, the bread. The olive oil we dipped it into. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it.

And then. 


Nonna’s cake. 

I don’t know whose Nonna made this cake, but oh, I want to take her home with me. A warm cream inside something that can only be described as the best cross between crust and sugar cookie you will ever eat. 

All of this. . . plus a caprese salad, mineral water, and a chocolate dessert (because one dessert between two people is never really enough). 

A recap, for those of you keeping track: a glass of wine, mineral water, one appetizer, two entrees, two desserts, corner table with a view of Tuscan vineyards.

Cost? Fifty-five Euros. 

One day I may move back to the United States. If I do, there are plenty of things I’ll miss about living in Europe. Hopping a $50, 2-hour flight to Italy, eating mouth-watering food, drinking delectable wine, all produced within mere meters of my location, overlooking stunning vistas, all for a ridiculously reasonable price?

Yeah. I’ll miss that.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Maria Cristina Savioli says:

    I’m happy you discovered my coyntry. See you

  2. Janet Oliver says:

    Thank you for taking me back to Tuscany. I cried as I read this. I love Italy and I love you.

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