Meals are the Italian way of connecting with those they care about. That same care is easily recognised in Tuscany's cuisine, where the pizzas, pastas and fine wines are joined by some regional secrets for you to unlock. Choose between country farmhouse restaurants with rolling hillside scenery, city sightseeing meals or even island dining.
The key theme of Tuscan cuisine is its simplicity, with olive oils and bold, solid flavours. As well as the Tuscan fondness for rustic beans and tripe in their meals, sweet breads, crumbly pastries and divine cakes are also widespread.
Coming from simple peasant food, you'll find stale bread used in dishes like panzanella and pappa al pomodoro, which are nowadays elevated to gourmet levels.
They say that the best way to truly know a holiday destination is to eat where the natives eat, and plenty of Italian people living in the scenic city of Lucca choose Osteria Canapino for their hearty lunches and after-work dinners. Tourists are flocking to the venue too, thanks to its sizzling steaks, creamy folds of pasta, soup with croutons and a fine selection of desserts.
Tucked in the beautiful, cloud-kissed hills of the island of Elba, Monilli offers rustic cuisine that doesn't break the bank. Whether you eat within its warm interior or instead opt to dine on the veranda, expect tremendous vistas to complement your rich wines, filling lasagnes and meat platters aplenty.
The fact that this restaurant is nestled in the heart of a village means that community spirit really shines through here. You're perched atop a hill that affords splendid views of the surrounding landscape if you choose to dine outdoors, while inside, the pale walls and rich wooden furniture make you feel right at home. Either way, service is exceptional and the hearty meals are sumptuously affordable, so you won't be left wanting.
From the outside, Ri.Me. Ristorante couldn't look more traditional. Shuttered windows and typically classic Italian architecture make it seem a Siena venue like any other. Yet inside, the story is very different, with sleek modern decoration and huge portions of food.
Carbonara, cheeses and meats, typical Tuscan stews and enormous slices of dessert cake make Ri.Me. Ristorante a treasure of the town. What's more, the staff and owners here love meeting visitors and can give you plenty of pointers on where to go to make the most of your holiday in Tuscany.
Ah, pizza in Pisa – fresh and doughy out of the wood-fired, stone-baked oven, laden with sauces and ingredients, and crispy in the mouth. At Pizzeria Da Nando they provide the perfect blend of cheeses, herbs and toppings.
Indeed, if you have to make sure you experience traditional pizza as Italy always intended, you'll be delighted with the big pizzas at affordable prices that they specialise in here. What's even better is that they know they're cooking for a big variety of people, so you can expect vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options to also be available to you.
Trattoria Da Giorgo is the beating heart of wining and dining in Florence. It has wine racks piled high, rib steaks rich in their own juices, pasta dishes flavoured with homegrown love and care, and a dessert menu heaving with options.
Renaissance art motifs line the walls under curved arches, while pale brickwork gives a homely feel to the surroundings. Staff are attentive and friendly, and the menu is diverse enough that everyone can go home from their Italy holidays with a fully satisfied tummy.