Decanter - - TRAVEL: ITALY -


Wake up to the sound of Siena’s bell tower at Grand Ho­tel Con­ti­nen­tal ( www.grand­hotel­con­ti­nen­, the city’s only five-star ho­tel em­body­ing Re­nais­sance ar­chi­tec­ture. Stroll down via Banchi di So­pra, stop­ping at Bar Nan­nini ( www.pas­tic­ce­rien­an­ for the per­fect ric­cia­rello al­mond cookie, then on to pi­azza il Campo where Siena’s Palio bare­back horse race takes place. After ex­plor­ing Siena, head to Mon­tepul­ciano. Meat lovers will adore Ma­cel­le­ria Belli (­cel­le­ri­ in pic­ture-per­fect Tor­rita di Siena – its fa­mous bis­tecca alla Fiorentina T-bone steak is ex­quis­ite.


A brick ceil­ing pre­sides over the in­te­rior of Ris­torante La Grotta (­grot­ta­monte- pul­, in the vil­lage of San Bi­a­gio, a five-minute drive from Mon­tepul­ciano. Revel in the guinea fowl and prune pap­pardelle, fol­lowed by pi­geon cooked two ways. The wines fo­cus on lo­cal la­bels.


Take a Strada del Vino No­bile food or wine tour ( www. stra­davi­nono­ – op­tions in­clude the Chi­an­ina Cat­tle Tour fea­tur­ing a visit to a farm, or the Wa­ter and Wine ex­pe­ri­ence, which in­cludes a treat­ment at a spa and a visit to a lo­cal win­ery. Watch the sun­set at La Do­gana Enoteca at Valiano with de­li­cious nib­bles and Palazzo Vec­chio’s own Vino No­bile (see p105), or unwind at the deca­dent Caffè Poliziano ( www.caf­fe­ in cen­tral Mon­tepul­ciano – the am­bi­ence is a throw­back to an­other era.


Re­turn to Siena where you can wine and dine su­perbly at Os­te­ria Le Logge (­an­ni­ The food is sea­sonal and lov­ingly pre­pared into cre­ative Tus­can dishes, while the cel­lar is vast and doesn’t dis­ap­point: four floors bear­ing 11,000 lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional la­bels. Ex­pect the more tra­di­tional and some truly bizarre con­coc­tions – such as car­bonara, co­conut and ba­nana pasta – which nev­er­the­less al­ways seem to work in this red-brick restau­rant close to pi­azza il Campo.

Siena’s Grand Ho­tel Con­ti­nen­tal

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