Restaurants  Lake Maggiore

Restaurants Lake Maggiore

You know the trusted friends you call  when you need a restaurant reccomendation? That’s us.



Close to Arona

  • Aldo Piazza Del Popolo 32,|  28041, Arona –NO – tel  +39 0322-243195 –  Right on the city square, excellent pizza. Remind to  reserve in advance (25/30 € pp cl Mon)


  • Antico Verbano S.S. del Sempione, 62 | P.zza Marconi, 28046 Meina –NO tel +39 0322 65718. Lovely setting by the lake and great food (35/40 € pp cl Mon.)


  • Il Castagneto Via Gianni Vignola, 14  | 28041 Montrigiasco di Arona-  NO tel +39 0322 57201 .  A traditional Piemontese countryside family-run restaurant, located  at the top of Montrigiasco, a little known village, on the outskirts of Arona. Excellent food, great wine , helpful and friendly staff  and reasonnable prices. (35/40 € pp cl Mon.)


  • Hostaria La Speranza  via alla cartiera 11, |  Solcio di Lesa , No-  tel +39 032 277803 – A great dining experience  There is no menu, Fabrizia the owner  guides you through the menu. (70/80 € pp cl Wedn)


  • Lo Squero  Via Novara 302, | 28078 Romagnano Sesia, tel  +39 0163 834961 – One of the best seafood restaurant I have ever tasted.  Not easy to find. Worth a detour. Better  avoid the weekend (40/45 € cl Mon & Tues )


  • Serenella : Via Quarantadue Martiri, 5 , Feriolo – Baveno tel +39 0323.28112 . Cold and warm  buffet, homemade ravioli of duck, risotti, lake and sea fish, mushrooms and truffles in autumn . (45/50 €)





We are not professional food critics. Our opinions are based upon our personal tastes.

You know the trusted friends you call  when you need a restaurant reccomendation? That’s us.



  • Osteria Da Miranda Via Dei Carrozzieri 27, | 55100 Lucca, Italy tel +39 0583.952731 – Typical local restaurant with great local food. indoor / outdoor seating –  reservation necessary.



  • Osteria Pasqualino Gubitosa- Mondovino- Via del moro 8| 55100 Lucca – The passion for good wine and good food. Cl.Tuesday


  • Trattoria Baffardello Via Nuova per Pisa 1029 | 55100 S. Michele in Escheto, Lucca, tel +39 0583 379319 mobile +39 338 3350905 –  Great seafood restaurant right outside Lucca


  • Enoteca Vino e Convivio Via di Coselli, 4/6 | Guamo, 55060 Capannori, tel +39 0583 403573 – A winery, 3000 different wines and champagne, 4 rooms, 4 tables,


  • Ciclo Divino Via Michele Rosi 7, Lucca, Italy   tel +39 0583471869 – Happy Hour : A bike shop that sells great wine and great food. essentially you get wine by the glass and small “bites” for 1 euro/piece or 10 for only 7/euro


  • Prospero via S Lucia 13 Lucca – Local food tasting at Prospero, an extremely ancient and typical grain shop


  • Franklin Via San Giorgio,43, 55100, Italy tel +39 328 4677416 – Happy Hour


Massaciuccoli, Puccini Lake Lucca -Estevillas

Massaciuccoli, Puccini Lake Lucca -Estevillas

Immerse yourself in the unconventional natural beauty of Northern Tuscany, birthplace and chosen home to some of history’s most famous artists.

World famous opera composer Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca and chose to spend his life in Torre del Lago, on the quiet shore of the lake.  The maestro has left a long-lasting tradition of music and opera to the area; the Puccini Festival entertains thousands of visitors each year in its open-air theatre with arias from Turandot, Madame Butterfly and his other masterpieces.

Carrara Marble Quarries Tour with Serena

Carrara Marble Quarries Tour with Serena – Estevillas Holiday Rentals

Michelangelo settled in Seravezza, a small town on the route to white marble quarries, while working for the Medici family. His legacy lives strongly in Pietrasanta and Carrara; the beautiful church facades still standing there are examples of his first architectural projects. He was also the one to promote the building of a new road connecting the Apuan Alps to the sea.

Today, both Pietrasanta and Carrara welcome artists from all over the world who journey to find artisans in marble, mosaic, bronze and other hand-crafts to advise in the creation of their art pieces. Pietrasanta in particular is a small fashionable town, full of restaurants and cafés and only accessible to pedestrians. It becomes very lively on weekends and in the summer months.

Forte dei Marmi beach - Estevillas

Forte dei Marmi beach – Estevillas

Nearby Forte dei Marmi (literally, the Fortress of Marbles) is today a posh resort town and hub of shopping in Tuscany, rich with boutiques and fashionable shops. The beach resorts of Forte dei Marmi are among the most luxurious in all of Italy, VIP-spotting is not unusual during the summer season.

The magnificent amphitheater of the Apuan Alps is a paradise for hikers or those who wish to simply take walks on its pristine trails and marvel at the breathtaking views.

Northern Tuscany hills-  Estevillas

Northern Tuscany hills

Along the way, you cannot miss stopping to tour the area’s small villages, hidden gems of history and traditions. Explore the towns of Pruno, Levigliani, Giustagnana or La Cappella, where you can take part in marble carving sessions at the Monte Altissimo School.

This region was appreciated and developed by the Romans, who built a few villas on its rolling hills. The ruins are today a special setting for the Roman Festival in July.

Pietrasanta Outdoor Market web

Pietrasanta Outdoor Market -Versilia Food Tour by Serena – Estevillas

Francigena Way, another ancient route that connected Canterbury to Rome, cuts through the region to the city of Lucca, which is definitely worth a visit. Its beautiful walls and historical center is a charming place to stroll around with kids and enjoy some shopping of local art crafts.

Last but not least, Viareggio—a city popular for its majestic, not-to-be-missed Carnival in February—is the perfect place to enjoy a walk along the art deco promenade or stop for a meal in a seafood restaurant in the harbor area, where the biggest yachts in the world are still being built.


Elena Berton Made in Italy Pietrasanta

Elena Berton Made in Italy Pietrasanta Artisan Tour by Serena

Another major attraction of Northern Tuscany is the food, which is particularly appreciated for its land and seaside cuisine. Take the chance to visit one of the region’s century-old ham workshops or taste its famous cacciucco, a shellfish soup.

If one has time to stretch a bit further from the region, Versilia area is within close reach to Cinque Terre, Pisa and Florence.

Cinqueterre  day trip tour by Serena - Estevillas

Cinqueterre day trip tour by Serena – Estevillas


A local concierge, knowledgeable of the area, will be a valid support for planning your day tours and enjoying your stay to the best.


By Serena Giovannoni, –  Estevillas Travel Consultant, Wedding Planner and Personal Assistant in North Tuscany area

Edited by Amay Smith

All Rights Reserved

Villas in the area : Santandrea , Buonvisi, Fattoria, Elisabetta



Lucca Amphitheatre Piazza - Estevillas Holiday Rentals

Lucca Amphitheatre Piazza – Estevillas Holiday Rentals

My friend Gianna takes us on an insider’s tour of Lucca’s best spots to grab a bite, a drink—and maybe a leather jacket or a fancy pair of Italian designer eyeglasses.

Gianna lives in an historic villa with a beautiful garden just a few minutes’ drive from Lucca. She is a real fashionista. She loves to find authentic small restaurants and “trattoria” where she can feel at home. She knows the best places to shop in the area for food, wine and fashion.

Lucca is a unique and very special town, a hidden surprise for visitors who come here for the first time. The location couldn’t be better: the Appennine mountains behind, the sandy beaches just a stone’s throw away and Pisa and Florence very close too.

The approach to Lucca involves venturing through the massive medieval walls that encircle the town. They are wide, lined with trees, restaurants, playgrounds, and tons of seating, creating a sort of suspended ring to jog, bike, run or simply relax while watching people wander the little narrow roads inside the walls.

Biking on the Lucca Walls

Biking on the Lucca Walls

Most of the city is closed to automobile traffic. Locals bike or stroll instead of driving, gather in the cafés and wine bar and peruse the open street market. You can easily hire a  bike and have tour of the city walls by yourself or decide to take a guided tour, which will add a lot to the experience by showing nice places outside the city.

We park outside the city walls and walk through the gate into the city.

“Don’t say that you have been to Lucca if you haven’t eaten Taddeucci’s Buccellato!”

Buccellato Taddeucci Lucca

Buccellato Taddeucci Lucca

The Buccellato is the most typical and well-known cake of Lucca. It is a ring-shaped tasty sweet bread with raisins and aniseed, smothered in a mixture of sugar and egg. It was the traditional dessert for Sunday lunch in most Lucchese homes.

For 131 years Taddeucci Bakery has stood in Piazza San Michele, the heart of Lucca and a fascinating place full of history. It was here in 1881 that Lucca’s baker, Jacopo Taddeucci, created the delicacy he is so famous for.

Today you can find the Buccellato in any bakery, but the original recipe is still a Taddeucci’s secret, handed down from father to son.

Two other bakeries make a worthwhile stop. The first is Forno a Vapore Amedeo Giusti (or simply Giusti) on via S Lucia. The tiny and always packed shop is the best place for their unforgettable dark brown, multi-grain focaccia. Stand in line, grab a number and wait for your order of the rich flat bread.

Sweet Vegetable Tarte- Chifenti

Sweet Vegetable Tarte- Chifenti

Chifenti on via San Paolino is where you can sample some surprising vegetable tarts—sweet, not savory!—a Lucca specialy.

Our path takes us to Via Fillungo, the main shopping street lined with many upscale boutiques, but Gianna moves quickly on and stops in front of one of the oldest shops in Lucca. Carli jewelry, first opened in 1655 and passing from generation to generation, is still furnished and decorated as it was in the 18th century. (Carli Via Fillungo #95 Lucca)

A little farther down the street at number 58 is Antico Caffe Di Simo, the historic coffee house where a stop for an espresso or a cappuccino is a must. It was here that Giacomo Puccini, the great opera composer, regularly gathered with other artists at the beginning of the 20th century. The café keeps the atmosphere of 100 years ago unchanged, as if Puccini will once again walk through the door.

Just off via Fillungo is Pizzicheria La Grotta, a triumph of regional food. The deli is stocked with delicious pecorino cheeses, some old, some fresh and young, soft cheese, prosciutto, salami, and pickled vegetable jam to be served with savory food.

Next stop is the famous traditional dried beans and seed shop Antica Bottega di Prospero, Via Santa Lucia 13.

Antica Bottega da Prospero Zuppa Lucchese

Antica Bottega da Prospero Zuppa Lucchese


We continue our tour leading to Ottica Vogue for a pair of Italian sunglasses…super chic sunglasses.

Superchic sunglasses - Estevillas

Superchic sunglasses Ottica Vogue Lucca

It is lunchtime and Gianna takes us to a….bike shop…a pleasant and quirky surprise. It is a funny place where you can buy bikes, great wine and great food all together in the same shop! You get wine by the glass and small “bites” for 1 Euro/piece or 10 for only 7 Euro. The welcoming and friendly Ciclo Di Vino is so popular for happy hour that the crowd spills out onto the Street.

Ciclo di Vino

Ciclo di Vino – Lucca , Bikes and Wine !

After our drink, it is time to get back to the car, as Gianna wants to show us one of the most renowned leather factories in Tuscany, La Pelle, which houses a large selection of clothing made of soft and fine quality leather by expert artisans. They also provide a prompt made-to-measure service and ship all over the world. I fell in love with a red leather jacket, it was just so cool and different from all the other ones I saw around.

The afternoon is gone! Time to go back to Gianna’s house where in my beautiful bedroom I will rest like a princess….


Gianna's villa in Lucca - Estevillas Holiday Rentals

Gianna’s villa in Lucca – Estevillas Holiday Rentals

Villa Buonvisi Lucca

Antica Bottega di Prospero – via S Lucia 13-  55100 Lucca.

Ciclo Di Vino – Via Michele Rosi 7

Carli Jewelry – Via Fillungo 95 Lucca

La Pelle  Via delle Cornacchie 473. – 55100 Lucca. Tel: 0583 955359

Forno Giusti – Via Santa Lucia, 18 -. 55100 Lucca.

Ottica Vogue – Via Fillungo, 4, Lucca LU


Bike rentals –  there are many biker rentals in town. Just to mention 2 of them:

Punto Bici   Via Crocifisso, 8, 55100 Lucca LU

Cicli Bizzarri   Piazza Santa Maria, 32
55100 Lucca (LU) – Toscana – Italia

Lucca Distances:  Pisa 17 km/11mls; closest beach 26km/16mls; Forte dei Marmi 34km/21mls ;  Florence 78km/48mls


Written by Luisa Castiglioni

Edited by Amay Smith

All Rights Reserved



Sicily, Scicli, holiday, estevillas

Scicli Palazzo Beneventano

Take one disastrous earthquake, add in the creativity and exuberant genius of late Baroque architecture to the reconstruction, pour over the charm of the rose-hued carved limestone facades shining honeyed gold at sunset, and mix in the spice of the unexpected taste of chocolate crafted just like the Aztecs.

These are the very special ingredients of my Choco-barocco experience during a day trip to Scicli and Modica.

1693 from the tragedy to re-birth

In 1693, a devastating earthquake—one of the most powerful that had ever struck Italy—destroyed the Noto Valley on Sicily. To rebuild required the efforts of all the region’s inhabitants, not only the aristocracy and clergy but also architects and master stonemasons. Together, they transformed the area into the largest construction site of 18th century Europe and gave rise to a masterpiece: Sicily’s Late Baroque architecture.

Eight of the towns in the area are now included as Unesco’s World Heritage Sites: Scicli, Modica, Ragusa, Noto, Caltagirone, Militello, Val di Catania, Catania and Palazzolo

Scicli (pronounced shi-kli)

Set at a natural crossroad of canyons (and only 8 km from the beach) Scicli is a small off-the-beaten-track town with one of the most intriguing remnants of Sicily’s Baroque period: Palazzo Benventano. The palace’s walls host an array of eccentric, moustachioed faces embroidered on the stones.

Scicli Sicily, holiday, Estevillas Holiday Rentals

Palazzo Beneventano Scicli Southern Sicily – Estevillas Holiday Rentals

For another beautiful example of Baroque architecture, take a stroll down Mormino Penna Street.  Notorious for being the set for the tv movie Commissario Montalbano, stopping by the fictional police state on Mormino Penna is a must for fans of the show

For a taste of Sicily, pop into Pasticceria Basile on viale I° Maggio for a traditional Sicilian family pastry from a warmly welcoming staff.

Another culinary indulgence can be found at Pura Follia, home to one of the best pizzas ever at a reasonable price. (Reservations needed)

Chocolate Magic Makes a Stop at Modica!

The city of Modica is Baroque churches and palaces with wrought-iron balconies perched on a hill. Most importantly, it is the home of the singular chocolate prepared using the original Aztec technique brought to Sicily by the Spaniards in the 16th century.

Modica  S.Giorgio Cathedral Cathedral

Modica S.Giorgio Cathedral Cathedral – Estevillas

As it has been for hundreds of years, the cocoa beans are worked at a low temperature so the sugar mixed in does not melt, resulting in the unique grainy texture this chocolate is so famous for. With each bite, you taste pure chocolate with no added cocoa butter, soy lecithin or other food additives. This method of cold-working the beans preserves more nutrients and more flavor.


For those needing an excuse to indulge—because one chocolate is never enough—eating 10 grams of Modica chocolate is reported to improve vascular function and make artieries more elastic. This is in addition to dark chocolate’s well-known antihypertensive properties. So no need to feel guilty!

Modica Chocolate, Sicily , holiday, Estevillas Holiday Rentals

Modica Chocolate Tasting in Antica Dolceria Bonajuti

Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, Sicily’s oldest and most famous chocolate factory, is not to be missed. With its old fashioned ambience, you can experience Modica chocolate as if you had stepped into ancient Mexico. Savour the cinnamon, vanilla and chili chocolate in true Aztec style or be tempted by more exotic flavor combinations such as rosemary, white pepper, cardamom, salt and orange. Another speciality offered by this magic place is the cannoli made with fresh ricotta and pistachios. They are simply awesome.

After your visit to Antica Dolceria Bonajuti you can stop into nearby Osteria dei Sapori Perduti for a quick lunch of Sicilian specialities. Try the Scacce, thin layers of a pizza-like dough filled with many different combinations (simply with tomato sauce, or with onions, spinach, or cheese) or the Caponata with eggplant, bell peppers, tomatos, onions, olives, capers, pine nuts, basil, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.



From Scicli to Marina di Ragusa  16 km/10ml  – From Scicli to Modica 10km/6,5 ml

Pasticceria Basile Viale I Maggio, 3, 97018 Scicli, Sicilia, Italia (Closed on Thursday)

Pizzeria Pura Follia  Piazza Busacca snc, 97018 Scicli, Sicily, Italy  +39 339 8476585



From Modica to Marina di Ragusa  34km/21,6 ml

Antica Dolceria Bonajuto Corso Umberto I 159  Modica

Osteria dei Sapori Perduti Corso Umberto I, 228, 97015 Modica RG tel +39 0932 944247

Where to stay; click here

Written by Luisa Castiglioni

Edited by Amay Smith

All Rights Reserved

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