The stunning Niccone Valley is the location of many of our holiday villas, it is right on the Tuscany Umbria border in central Italy. When we moved here in 1999 there were only a few places to eat but, over the years, several new places have opened – you are spoilt for choice when looking for somewhere to go. This is a guide to the restaurants in and above the Niccone Valley, I hope you find it useful, I have started at the eastern end of the Valley.
Nonna Gelsa – located in the village of Niccone just before the river joins the Tiber, this restaurant opened shortly after we moved here and remains a popular choice with visitors and locals alike, it specialises in Umbrian cooking. There is a good wine list put together by Chiara, the owner, who is also a sommelier. This place always has a high ranking on a certain restaurant review site. Telephone +39 075 9410699
I Girasoli di Sant’Andrea – this restaurant is at the front of the I Girasoli di Sant’Andrea winery in Molino Vitelli. The restaurant was recently taken over by new management (Simone comes from a family of restauranteurs), and despite being the low season, the restaurant is already attracting a lot of local customers and several reviews on that well known review site have already been posted in Italian. An adjacent wine bar is planned to open in time for the high season. Read about a Meal at I Girasoli di Sant’ Andrea Tel +39 075 941 0798
La Chiusa – also an organic small holding, La Chiusa grows a lot of its own ingredients. The cooking is quite creative, Masha, the owner was brought up by a TV chef – her mother! Recently pushed to the no.1 spot on Trip Advisor, expect delicious, well presented food at higher than average prices. Follow the road up the hill past the Girasoli di Sant’ Andrea winery, after a kilometer or two take a right onto a track (signed “La Chiusa” and follow the track until you get to the restaurant. Tel +39 075 9410848
Calagrana – another small holding / restaurant, Calagrana is run by husband and wife team Alberto and Ely. Alberto is Milanese but has worked as a chef in France and the UK . They serve delicious Tuscan and Umbrian cooking presented in Alberto’s own, unique style. The menu is only ever three choices for each course, if you go regularly, the dishes served change from day to day. Again, a very popular restaurant with a consistently high review ranking. Tel +39 075 9410865
La Capannina di Sommavilla – another restaurant serving organic food grown by the owners, this restaurant does a very popular buffet Sunday brunch. There is a large lawned area with tables and chairs at the front. The owners, Christine and Alfredo moved to the Niccone Valley from Rome in the 1970’s in search of the good life. There is a bohemian vibe to this restaurant and the food often has a north African influence along with the local dishes. Tel +39 0575 638112
Sant’Andrea di Sorbello – a slightly scruffy looking bar / restaurant on the sharp curves of Sant’Andrea di Sorbello (do not confuse with I Girasiloi di Sant’Andrea above). Despite the external appearance of the place, the food is surprisingly good and reasonably priced – the owner Fabbrizio, is a good cook. Don’t expect to bump into too many foreigners here, this place caters to a local market.
La Castagna – a restaurant in the middle of the hill top village of Preggio. Preggio is famous for an autumn Chestnut Festival and, of course, chestnuts (castagne) feature on the menu. This place has always been noted for its “relaxed”attitude to service,, so if you eat here don’t expect it to be quick. If the weather is warm there is a terrace with marvelous views. Tel +39 075 941 0294
Belllona – quite hard to find as you can only see the sign from one direction (you go towards Preggio from the Niccone Valley but instead of turning right at the T junction below the village, turn left and after a kilometer or two turn left onto a track that starts to descend back into the valley), This place serves generous portions of good hearty local food..
Trattoria Mimmi – lots of delicious home made pasta. No written menu, you are offered up to three choices for each course and, if you go for everything on offer, you will feel rather full! However, you are permitted to skip courses. House wine is included but bottles are available. Read about a Meal At Trattoria Mimmi. Tel +39 0575 619029
Ristorante da Gianna – in an old olive mill on the edge of Lisciano Niccone, this restaurant serves good pizzas along with a menu of local dishes. Tel +39 075 844358
Lo Scoiattolo – a bar / restaurant at the top of the pass between the Niccone Valley and Lake Trasimeno. Fantastic views across Lake Trasimeno, and, if you stick to the local dishes based on ingredients such as pork,and truffles, the food is good too. Tel +39 075 844119
Hotel Ristorante La Cima – next door to Lo Scoiattolo, I’ve never been here since it reopened a couple of years ago but it gets really good reviews from several Italians, it has a restaurant menu as well as pizza. Tel +39 075 7826700
In Bocca al Lupo – Located on top of Monte Castiglione at the end of a long track, you actually have to leave the Niccone Valley to get here – I’ve included it because the north side of Monte Castiglione is part of the Valley’s watershed. I have never eaten here, it gets wildly varied reviews, so I am curious to go and see who I agree with! There isn’t much of a view on top of Monte Castiglione as it is planted with pines – to get there turn off the main road at Gosparini (the track that runs between Lo Scoiattolo and La Cima) and keep going for 3 – 4 km, following the signs. +39 335 6489144
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