near Arezzo, Italy
In fine weather a buffet breakfast is served outside on
tables laid with crisp white linen and rustic china. There are
baskets of lightly toasted bread rolls, dishes of jam, vacuum
flasks of coffee, jars of cereals, jugs of milk, bowls of fruit.
This is a typically light (though plentiful) Italian breakfast,
short on the meats and cheeses of more international
establishments. And you sit around a large table and mix with the
other guests, very much in keeping with the house-party style of
the place. In winter it's served in the villa's elegant dining room
or the cosy lounge in the annex.
Dinner is served 5 days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) from May to September, in the courtyard on warm evenings - 4 delicious courses of home-produced food. Francesca, a wonderful cook, can also help you cook your own dinner. She suggests the dishes, buys the ingredients then helps you cook them yourself - a sort of informal 3-hour cooking lesson. She will also offer more structured courses for groups if you book ahead. Otherwise you can wander up to the local bar (10 minutes' walk away in the village of Gragnone) for a light lunch of pecorino, salamis and bread.
In the evening a 2km drive brings you to the Ristorante Casa Volpi, a villa with a covered terrace offering lovely views over Arezzo. Tuscan favourites such as tagliata and pappardelle al cinghiale are served at reasonable prices. Or you can drive into Arezzo, where there's a choice of restaurants and trattorias in the historic centre.
- Dinner by Arrangement