A meandering walk through the town of Pitigliano will bring you sooner or later to the lovely Piazza di San Gregorio, and if you are lucky to find a table outdoors, grab it and have lunch (or dinner) at Hostaria del Ceccottino. Large white canopies shade tables set in off-white linens, skirted in a rich slate color that compliments the tufa stone that surrounds us in the buildings of this hilltop town known as “Little Jerusalem.” The cuisine blends Pitigliano’s Jewish past with the traditions of Nonna’s Tuscan cooking in a most satisfying way, thanks to Carla, a very talented chef.
There is a pleasant breeze as we start our lunch with crostini with savory toppings accompanied by a chilled white wine. Ravioli nudi are just that – they are naked, missing their outer covering of pasta – a dish created when housewives ran out of dough and had to do something with the remaining stuffing… Another wonderful Italian dish was invented and today’s nudi consist of ricotta and spinach with a butter-sage sauce. The shining star of our lunch was a plate of lamb shanks, simmered slowly in a tomato sauce and served over day-old bread – another thrifty and very tasty use of leftovers. Back in the days when frugality was the rule, Jewish homemakers would make this dish using up lots of their stale bread, owner Alessandro explains. His version of this dish includes more lamb than bread, but we would not have complained either way. A full-bodied DOC red wine from nearby Sovana paired well with this hearty dish.
And then there was dessert – a bavarese cream flavored with vin santo and topped with slivered almonds was my husband’s choice. I selected the ricotta mousse drizzled with caramel and a dusting of powdered sugar – as light and fluffy as a cloud, and quite “heavenly.”
Piazza San Gregorio VII, 64
58017 Pitigliano (GR)
Owner: Alessandro & Chiarra Francardi
Young and passionate, Alessandro and Chiarra Francardi have owned and successfully managed this hostaria for over a decade now and their expertise now flows into new ventures: a beautiful, characteristic enoteca, or wine bar. They also offer exquisitely decorated rooms to let. So, no need to go any farther. You have found what you need here to make a stay in Pitigliano just about perfect!