Plate With A View: Arnolfo Colle di Val d'Elsa, Italy

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The Independent Travel



Arnolfo is a bit of a labour of love. Housed inside a restored 16th-century townhouse in a Tuscan hilltop village, Colle di Val d'Elsa - close to Siena and San Gimignano, it is run by the brothers Gaetano and Giovanni Trovato. Gaetano toils away in the kitchen, while Giovanni looks after the front of house. Gaetano has earned quite a reputation for his new-wave Tuscan cooking and understandably so - some of the flavours are a revelation. But make no mistake: this is Italian food at its most sophisticated. Menus change with the seasons and autumn features staples such as casserole of Crete Senesi goat with apples and cavolo nero, or tartare of beef from the Chianina valley in south Tuscany with poached egg and raw vegetables. But, rather than the hushed reverence normally associated with this level of cooking, the ambience in the restaurant is much less stuffy than you might first imagine. The lengthy wine list consists mainly of Italian wine with some stratospheric prices, but Giovanni is intuitive enough to direct you to a bottle that will be palatable for both you and your credit-card bill.


From it's hilltop eyrie, the restaurant and its terrace have panoramic views over a swathe of classic Tuscan countryside. Rolling green hills dotted with cypress trees - there is no mistaking where you are.


Most diners opt for one of the two six- and seven-course set menus, a progression of smallish dishes, priced at €80 (£57) and €90 (£64) respectively. If you share both you can pretty much taste everything on the menu. On the à la carte menu starters cost around €26 (£18.50), pasta €24 (£17.10) and main courses €35 (£25).

Arnolfo, Colle di Val d'Elsa, Siena, Italy (00 39 0577 920 549; It is open daily except Tuesdays and Wednesdays for lunch and dinner