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Where to Go Next: Tuscany

Florence And Vicinity
Bottiglieria Vignoli This well-stocked wine shop always has the latest sensations--like Sorripa, the first Tuscan red from winemaker Marco Felluga's new estate in Chianti (9r Via Cimabue, Florence; 011-39-055-234-32-20).

Hemingway A tearoom specializing in chocolate, from the richest hot chocolate ever to hand-dipped candies made by Tuscany's greatest chocolatiers, including Paul de Bondt from Pisa and Luca Mannori from Prato. It's open late and serves light meals, too (9r Piazza Piattellina, Florence; 011-39-055-28-47-81).

Museo della Vite e del Vino Chianti Rufina just opened this wine museum in the hills east of Florence. The site, a villa designed by a contemporary of Michelangelo's, has been outfitted with viniculture exhibits and a bar serving the estate's up-and-coming wines (Villa Poggio Reale, Rufina; 011-39-055-839-79-32; open weekend afternoons).

Osteria La Casellina After your visit to Rufina, have a real plate of pasta at this nearby restaurant (Via Colognolese, Montebonello-Pontassieve; 011-39-055-839-75-80).

Zibibbo Benedetta Vitali helped create the renowned Florentine restaurant Cibreo. Now she has a place of her own in the northern Careggi neighborhood: a lively modern-style trattoria dedicated to Tuscany's delicious cucina povera (3r Via di Terzollina, Florence; 011-39-055-43-33-83).

Siena And Beyond
Castell'In Villa One of the loveliest wineries in the Chianti Classico region, Castell'In Villa has added an agriturismo to its fine restaurant. Now you can sleep in the renovated convent after dining on revisited Tuscan cuisine and tasting Princess Pignatelli's latest single-vineyard Sangiovese, Poggio delle Rose (Castelnuovo Berardenga; 011-39-0577-35-90-74).

Liberamente Osteria Neo-Expressionist painter Sandro Chia created the colorful mosaics that frame the bottles at Siena's trendiest new wine bar, in the heart of the city. Stop in to drink a glass of Brunello with artisanal salumi and other snacks (27 Piazza del Campo, Siena; 011-39-0577-27-47-33).

Montalcino
Osteria del Vecchio Castello The award-winning restaurant has moved from obscure Mount Amiata to within a stone's throw of Montalcino. The space is larger and prettier; the inspired seasonal cuisine and extensive wine list are as good as ever (Poggio alle Mura, Pieve di San Sigismondo; 011-39-0577-81-60-26).

Tenuta Oliveto This new winery has just bottled its first Brunello (produced by hot winemaker Roberto Cipresso) and already locals are calling Tenuta Oliveto the region's rising star (Castelnuovo dell'Abate; 011-39-0577-80-71-70; by appointment).

Montecarlo
Antico Ristorante Forassiepi An ideal place to wind up a day's exploration of Montecarlo, a little-known wine region. This new country restaurant in a former olive-oil mill serves well-made local dishes on a terrace with views of the countryside (1 Via della Contea, Montecarlo; 011-39-0583-22-94-75).

The Maremma
Castello di Montepò Jacopo Biondi Santi, whose great-grandfather virtually invented Brunello di Montalcino, continues his family's winemaking tradition in this magnificent house near Scansano, recently bought from the writer Graham Greene's family (011-39-0577-84-71-21; by appointment).

Orbetello Pesca Lagunare Orbetello is a little fishing port across the lagoon from the Argentario Peninsula. The local fishermen run a first-rate seafood shop and, on summer evenings, this restaurant. Rare specialties--piquant pickled eel, dried gray-mullet roe, smoked mullet and the best of the day's catch--are prepared by the fishermen's wives (9 Via Leopardi, Orbetello; 011-39-0564-86-02-88).

Trattoria Verdiana Noted for game and vegetable cookery, this relaxed, family-run country trattoria recently relocated from Scansano to Montemerano (Ponticello, Montemerano; 011-39-0564-60-25-76).

San Gimignano Area
Guido Pinzani This master makes Tuscany's best raw-milk sheep cheeses. To see how much more flavorful his artisanal products are than their industrial counterparts, try his addictive cracked-pepper pecorino (Fattoria Brentine, Castel San Gimignano; 011-39-0577-95-30-05).

Officinalia Known for exceptional biodynamic Tuscan honeys--eucalyptus, clover, chestnut and mille fiori (a thousand flowers)--Officinalia now also makes organic fruit juices, jams and oil-preserved vegetables (46 Cortennano, San Gimignano; 011-39-0577-94-18-67).

Paul de Bondt Sure, go to Pisa for the Tower, but don't miss this master chocolate maker, who hand-dips each of his exquisite little chocolates. His lemon-scented ganache is sublime (20 Via Turati, Corte San Domenico, Pisa; 011-39-050 50-18-96).

Published October 2001
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