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Alessandra runs Tuscan cooking classes in Cortona on Saturdays. It is a day class, the morning is spent in the market where she gives you top tips on good places to buy your ingredients and your learn about the food, like the steak sides in the butchers being labelled as to the cow they came from, where it was born and raised and when it was slaughtered.  Students, not the best word for a bunch of people drinking a lot of wine and having a laugh, then cook their lunch and eat it together. My husband went with two mates and learnt how to make pasta, ragú, roast potatoes in rosemary (yum), insalata di bresaola con rucola, tiramisu (it is a sin worthy of imprisonment in Italy to put cream as well as marscapone in it), and other dishes. They all enjoyed their day and went home with a book of the recipes of the dishes they made so I’m still enjoying the fruits of his “lesson” and Alessandra was great fun.  http://www.il-girasole.com/cooking.htm

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From Aurora:

What to do during raining days : Visit the Perugina chocolate factory in Perugia (Nestlé group)
There is a Museum and a factory tour as well as a gift store
Address : Perugia San Sisto, Exit Madonna Alta on the speedway to Perugia
Monday to Friday : 8h30/13h-14h/17h30
Call to book for visit of the factory
Tel : 0755276796
(40 min from Il Pino)

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Top tip from Aurore:

Best Pizza place in the area :
La Zinfarosa at Foiano della chiana
Piazzetta S. Domenico 4
Tel : 0575640146
Close on wednesday
The owner is very friendly and this is the best pizza we experienced here. They have also some typical tuscan appetizers or pasta if you don’t want to eat pizza. Large terrace and parking as well

….if you are still hungry…

you can finish your meal by eating a very nice Gelato in Fior di Latte Gelateria
corso V.Emanuele, 105
walking distance from Zinfarosa

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Thanks to Aurore for this post:

Foiano della Chiana : Market day
Monday is the market day in Foiano which make it the closest market from il Pino. Quite convenient when you just arrived on the week-end. You will find most of the same stalls from Camucia markets as many vendors do both or them.

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We may be starting a heated debate here but we think the best cappuccino ever is at Vannelli’s in Camucia. It is an elegant cafe run by a husband and wife team, he bakes the gorgeous pastries (we have eaten THREE each at one sitting) at 4am each day and she runs front of house with impeccable service and a warm welcome. 

Best cappuccino in town

To find Vannelli’s go to the main roundabout in the centre of Camucia (where the farmacia is) and head down hill towards the station with the newstand on your left, you’ll see their al fresco chairs and canopy on the left after about 20 metres.

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Delicious seafood restaurant, just south of Florence on the Chiantiigiania is the SS222 follow the signs towards Greve. Through Grassini on then right hand side. Full of locals, not a tourist trap. Lots of seafood pasta, lobster spagetti etc. All served on big platters perfect for sharing. Very reasonably priced. Very family orientated. Rustic surroundings e.g olive tree growing through middle of covered eating area. Delicioso!!

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Highly recommended restaurant in Siena just off the Campo. Find it by making your way to the Campo, face the flat side (will make sense when you are there) with the tower (Pallazzo Publicca) in front of you. Take the side street to the left of the tower but still on the flat side and it is about 30metres off the Campo on your left – or just ask local they will know it. Great food – pasta, salad of asparagus and broad beans braised Ox Cheeks all highly recommended. Menu more for grown ups than kids. What was also amazing was eating late into the evening then strolling back down the dark side street into the magnificent Campo which is all lit up at night and literally takes your breath away with its beauty.

Contact details:Osteria Le Logge
Via del Porrione, 33
I-53100 Siena

http://www.giannibrunelli.it/italiano/osteria_cucina.html

T +39 0577 48013

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