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A scenic drive 8km up from Castiglion d’Orcia brings you to Ristorante I Lecci , still our best value (quality/price) restaurant in the Orcia Valley and Amiata areas of southern Tuscany. You reach sublime heights of culinary nirvana with Chef Rita’s fresh melt-in-your-mouth pasta with delicious sauce of truffle-walnut cream or porcini mushrooms, to-die-for! Tortelli can be had with the best ragu. My choice is the little gnocchetti verdi al gorgonzola. In warm weather we had leisurely lunches under shade on the wide panoramic terrace with platters of antipasti, and in the late fall dinners by the fireplace inside the well furnished large restaurant. Game is also on the menu, and their tender steaks of Chianina beef are cooked over hot coals, but leave some room for dessert too (sharing is okay). Your charming host, Andrea, takes good care of you while Rita is an amazing chef. The prices are lower than one would expect and the atmosphere is most welcoming.

From Pienza in the Orcia valley take the route SS2, the Via Cassia, just south of Bango Vignoni, drive up to Castiglion d’Orcia and keeping to the main road, drive past town and continue another 4 km along route SS323, at fork turn left toward Vivo d’Orcia (route SP18). Take this road driving thru the forest and in 4 km you see on your right a 2-story roadhouse with a large parking area. Tel: 0577-887-287, reservations not needed during the week. ($$)

address: Localita Lecci – Vivo D’Orcia, 53023 Castiglione D’Orcia, Italy