We hadn't really intended to stay here at all. Our visit in Volterra had taken longer than we thought and it made our stomachs churn for all of us. We are somewhere in the greenest of green landscapes. In the middle of vineyards, olive trees and cypresses. In the middle of Tuscany. In the middle of all the beauty that I usually dream about during gray November days. But back to reality - where would we find a sensible lunch for our growling bellies?
I use my mobile phone and search all the restaurants in my vicinity. A single place pops up on the map. Agrihotel Il Palagetto. Top rating and lots of reviews. Would there be tables? It would take us 15 minutes to drive there, so I press the book button. Finally, we have a booking confirmed in the email. We spin the car around on the empty country road and aim for our imagined pasta oasis.
Only a few hundred meters left according to the phone. We turn off onto a dirt road lined with cypress trees. The kind of road that adorns 1000-piece puzzles and oil paintings. A perfect row of peaked trees in Tuscany. Beautiful stone houses take over where the cypress avenue ends. Had we really got it right? This looked more like a luxury private home than a hotel with a restaurant.
We don't see a cone. Other than maybe a cypress cone. But it is completely empty of people. We walk around the house to find the restaurant, but before we find the door we see something else. The view. We literally have the whole of Tuscany at our feet. It doesn't matter if we drive the wrong way and can't find our restaurant. This place is worth a detour.
Large terracotta pots of roses sway in the breeze by two large dark wooden doors that stand ajar. We go in. A man with a cute little baby on his arm turns towards us. He looks almost a little surprised when we ask if they received our table reservation. Yes, he answers, rocking the child on his arm. They had received our reservation. It was just a matter of settling down. He was just going to pick up his wife.
I can sometimes be skeptical of empty restaurants. To the point that sometimes I'd rather go hungry than order food in an empty restaurant. But even though this restaurant echoed empty, everything felt so very right. We settle down at a table right by the windows. The man comes out with the menus. The baby is frolicking in the room behind. There's a lot to choose from on the menu, but all I can think about is the view. No rooftop bar in the world could surpass my view right here and now. All the magic of Tuscany is right there in front of me.
I don't have time to read the menu before the man comes back to take the order. I play it safe and order one Doubt. That dish which we call "Bolognese", but which the Italians themselves have never heard of. A simple pasta with minced meat sauce. My husband is ordering one Straccetto di pasta fresca con salsiccia tartufata. He read the menu more carefully than I did. I prioritized looking at the view.
There is a real rattle in the kitchen when the chef gets started. The man is back in the next room playing with his baby with his wife. Out in the courtyard, some hotel guests walk by. We are not alone. We just eat lunch at the wrong time. Wrong time according to the Italians, then.
The aroma of truffles reaches our table faster than the plate is served. It really was just right to stop here. The pasta is so perfectly al dente and the ragu is cooked for a long time with sun-ripened tomatoes. But even though my meatloaf sauce is perfect, I'm still a little jealous of my husband. Anything with truffles is always epic. It is very old.
We talk for a while with the girl at the hotel reception when we pay the bill. The small agrihotel has 23 rooms and a large pool overlooking the rolling hills. A perfect place to spend a summer week in Tuscany. I settle down in one of the deckchairs out in the yard for a while. Here I will come back.
How do I get to Il Palagetto?
Il Palagetto is located north of Volterra in Tuscany, Italy. You need a car to get here, the hotel is in the middle of hills and olive groves.
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Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.