On our latest escape to the land of “ Villa rentals in Tuscany “ we have discovered two AMAZING FOODIE finds just a stone’s throw from La Collina del Sole our favourite among Villas for rent in Tuscany the first is the “Osteria al Ritrovo del Platano” so named because Giovanni Pascoli - arguably the greatest Italian poet writing at the beginning of the twentieth century - met his literary friends here at the grocery store / bar near where his sister Maria lived. This area is filled with lovely Holiday villas in Lucca and gastronomic hotspots like il Vecchio Mulino which incidentally celebrates Slow Food day in Italy today 25 of May 2013 with a feast of Tuscan delicacies and wine tasting, Andrea the owner is a great friend of the owners of Lucca Villa Rental and Mauro Bertolini, the owner the above mentioned Osteria. Andrea with his affable personality is a bit of a celebrity in Garfagnana and hosts wine and olive oil tastings; so why don’t you meet him when you next rent a villa in Tuscany it is WELL WORTH IT. So let me tell you a little more about the wonderful Osteria al Ritrovo del Platano, well it has THE MOST AMAZING FOOD at unbeatable prices, do not be put off by the photo of a very smart looking chef on the website, or the advertising, he is very friendly and serves a “working” lunch menu on weekdays or “menu di lavoro” which for €10 gets you starter from a choice of 4, a main course from a choice of 4, water, wine and coffee ! and a jolly good one too ! for €20 you can choose the menu turistico which consists of a selection to choose from and for which you get antipasto, homemade pasta, main course, pudding [ SO YUMMY ] water, Wine and coffee, unbeatable really … the A la Carte is fabulous and SO reasonable you would pay 5 - 10 times in a metropolitan restaurant . Here is a small selection of our favourites, boiled egg with truffle, polenta with game topping, puff pastry with cheese and black truffle sauce, wild mushroom maccheroni, Goose Ravioli with truffle, Chestnut pasta with walnut and fresh Ricotta sauce, Bison meat Tagliata [grilled so the meat remains succulent] Guinea Fowl breast with mustard and green pepper sauce, Duck in Leek sauce, FAB veggies like roasted onions and sformato di verdure [a vegetable and potato mash], with a selection of cheeses and honey to top it off or a warm … yes warm tiramisu AMAZING so if you, like me are hungry at the thought of such delicious food, we recommend you go to the 445 that runs between Aulla and Lucca, and at the Ponte de Campia be prepared to stop in a hurry as it is ON THE EXACT fork where the road goes north to Castelnuovo / Aulla and right to Barga, blink and you miss it so … don’t miss it. The Osteria still has the two banana trees that gave it its name in Pascoli’s days, dating from this time too, you find a table that Pascoli used to sit at, many photos of the era and amazing food. Their address is Via Provinciale, Ponte de Campia, Gallicano, 55027, Lucca Tel 0583 68 99 22 Rock on in and give Mauro our very best wishes, he is super friendly !