In 2016 I will call Bagni di Lucca, Italy my home. My husband and I chose this breathtakingly beautiful area not just for the 25 small villages that make up Bagni di Lucca, but for the incredible people, landscape and of course, the food. I spent nine weeks during the summer of 2015 in neighboring villages, La Villa and Ponte a Serraglio. I enjoyed fabulous meals at several local restaurants. If you are traveling to Northern Tuscany and would like some suggestions on where and what to eat, here is my ongoing post of my favorite foods and restaurants. I will add to this list each time I try a new eatery and dish.
Circolo dei Forestieri
I highly recommend the Workman’s Lunch for 11 Euro. The 3-course meal also comes with a full liter of water, a fourth of a carafe of wine and a coffee. Spencer and I shared this meal and both left full and satisfied. Our favorites are the tortelli or penne ragu, roast beef and roasted potatoes. On the regular menu I loved the walnut/gorgonzola ravioli and the fried vegetables.
I have a passion for pizza and La Lira’s Quattro Formaggio pizza is simply spectacular. La Lira also offers a large menu of meats, seafood, pastas, and sandwiches, but don’t overlook the ventura fritte. Their fried vegetables would satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
Antico Caffe del Sonno
You can also get the Workman’s Lunch at Caffe del Sonno. Their menu is 10 Euro and the architecture inside is stunning and inviting. One of my favorite dishes was the penne pasta with sausage in a cream sauce. There is also a full lunch and dinner menu including another of my favorites, spaghetti alla vongole.
Osteria il Buongustaio/Rudy Bar/Gelateria
Spencer loves their spaghetti ragu and this says a lot considering he does not like my homemade ragu! I did manage to get one bite from his plate and I can attest to its fantastic flavor. I also enjoyed the chicken plate and a gelato next door.
PONTE A SERRAGLIO
This is one of my favorite places in Italy for aperitivo time. Two euro will buy you a glass of wine or prosecco and a plateful of fabulous foods, such as vegetable cous cous, bruschetta, spreads and an amazing assortment of finger foods. You can also order from a small lunch/dinner menu.
This coffee and gelato shop is just a short walk from my new home. I am in love with their coffee, pastries and gelato. Plus, you can’t beat the view while enjoying your morning cappuccino.
Albano Fini’s Pizza by the Slice
This is a fantastic little pizza place that offers take away slices if you’re not interested in having a full pizza. Since I can’t just have one slice we ordered a full pizza and sat inside.
Ristorante La Ruota
I stumbled upon this eatery while enjoying an afternoon walk through Fornoli. I ordered their Workman’s Lunch which was outstanding. The house white wine was delicious and I’m still dreaming of the spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. I look forward to returning soon and trying more items on their fantastic menu.
A short drive from La Villa is the medieval village of Barga. Gregg, Spencer and I worked up quite the appetite while strolling through this stunning village. Ristorante Scacciaguai’s homemade pesto pasta cured my craving for carbs. Gregg and Spencer ordered pork dishes, but started devouring them before I could get any pictures. There is a small stone figure of a face outside the restaurant that is supposed to drive away your troubles. Ristorante Scacciaguai’s menu explains how this works. (See photo below)
Off of SS12 in the village of Fabbriche is a small sign pointing towards Casabasciana. Take this road for about two miles and you will come upon Villa Aurora. This lovely restaurant not only offers incredible cuisines but breathtaking vistas. I had asked our taxi driver to recommend a great restaurant and he drove us here. I enjoyed the lamb kebobs and caramel panna cotta.
There are still dozens of local restaurants I need to visit. Please keep checking back for updates. I will post new pictures and culinary suggestions after trying new restaurants in the Bagni di Lucca area.