Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Villa San Donino Citta' di Castello

One of the ways we explore our region is we look for a restaurant we want to try and then explore the area around the restaurant.  I know it is a bit backward, but it seems to fit our ass-backward life here.  So, we found the Villa San Donino up in the hills that are between Umbertide and Citta' di Castello.  We found this restaurant, like we do most of them, on Trip Advisor.  I read the reviews in Italian and English, and then decide.  I also read the worst reviews first and see what people complain about and see if I care.  This place had great reviews, it was open on Monday, so we got the GPS and off we went.  We took the windy road that went up the hill and it seemed like it took bout 15 minutes.  Coming down it seemed like it took 3 minutes, which was closer to the truth.  Weird how the sense of time changes when you know where you are going versus when you don't know where you are going.  Is that metaphorically true?

Anyway, we were totally surprised by what we found.  The villa is in the middle of cultivated fields in the middle of nowhere.  It is located between Umbria and Tuscany, probably very close to the actual border.  It was built in the late 1700's by a nobleman from a Roman family.  The remains of Saint Donino are in a chapel on the property.  Donino, along with a St. Florido and St. Amanzio are the patron saints of Citta' di Castello.  Don't ask me why they need 3 saints!

 So this is the outside of the villa that.  Isn't it lovely?  They have turned the place into a restaurant and a 3 star hotel. I could imagine that 300 years ago it was as unlikely a spot as it is today.  The views of the valley surround the property, and there is a beautiful pool and with outside eating, weather permitting.

They have an extremely innovative chef named Antonio.  We had inside out ravioli carbonara, this means the carbonara was on the inside of the ravioli.  It was so delicious.

Here is the chef on the left.
Another time we had a reverse chicken salad.  There was a parmesan crust and the chicken salad was inside the parmesan like a burrito!This is the parmesan salad 'burrito".  Delicious!

If ever you are in the area, I recommend this as a stop.  The waiter, Salvatore was born in Pompeii, and is quite charming.

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