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Iesa: Osteria L'Aia di Gino

via dell'Arco, 8 (Prov. Siena) , Phone: 0577.758047

Closing day: Tuesday

Reviewed by: Casina di Rosa from Italy, review #643

When: 2003

Great restaurant 20km south of Siena offering ancient recipes, based on wild game from the local villagers.

Directions: From Florence: Take the Firenze-Certosa exit from the Bologna-Roma Autostrada. Follow the directions for Siena and continue on the SS 223. As you approach Siena follow the signs for Grosseto and continue along the Superstrada. Exit at Terme di Petriolo and follow signs marked IESA. From within the village centre, follow signs to the private parking area, or continue on foot. From Rome: Take the Autosole exit for Val di Chiana and follow directions to Siena. Change to highway SS 223 and continue on towards Grosseto. Exit at Terme di Petriolo and follow signs marked IESA. From within the village centre, follow signs to the private parking area, or continue on foot. From Pisa-Livorno: Take the Genova-Livorno Autostrada until the end and change to the Aurelia superstrada. Exit at Follonica. Follow directions to Massa Marittima - Chiusdino - San Galgano. 5km after the famous abbey you will arrive at the crossroads to Monticiano. Turn left and head towards San Lorenzo a Merse until you arrive at the signs marked Iesa. Turn left again and continue until you arrive at the village. From within the village centre, follow signs to the private parking area, or continue on foot.

I have been there many times now: it is my restaurant for special occasions as well as for a night out. In winter it's almost always empty during weekdays: Iesa is not a touristic place, it's just one of those villages of Colli Senesi like many others. In summer it is really crowded, though, because tourists arrive for the good seasons, to rent a place or just to spend the day at the hot springs and to stop for a great meal afterwards.

I go there all year round, and many times we have had the room just for us, the service was great anyway and the food was freshly cooked.

The food they serve is the typical food of the Tuscan (Maremma) tradition. They don't serve fish. They serve both vegetatarian food and meat. They have a good selection of Antipasti (the traditional "Antipasto della casa" with "crostini", prosciutto, and other good things couldn't be missing), Primi and Secondi always change.

They usually have fresh wild game and many good vegetables cooked in different ways.

The amazing thing is that both the owner and the other cook are German, but now they are really "local"! Rita, the owner, has a perfect Tuscan accent!

The other great thing at L'Aia di Gino is the wine selection. They have a great wine list, and they also serve the local DOC, Montecucco. Try Montecucco Alfeno: it's delicious!

Their specialty? Pannacotta with Cointreau and orange, almond cake, and cheese and home made lemon marmelade.

And then their very nice attitude.

They have designed and actually made the menu, and all the decoration in the restaurant.

In the summer it is possible to sit outside and have a look at the beautiful landscape.

They have a website: Osteria L'Aia di Gino

Go there if you are around Siena!

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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