San Miniato Dining and White Truffle Guide 2023

Updated September 2023 with some new entries!

We have now called San Miniato, my husband’s hometown, our family home since 2020 and I admit that one of the reasons we found this Tuscan hilltop village so charming is the selection of restaurants and food shops in this small historical centre. Other than being a fixture on the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrim route, with picturesque views of the surrounding countryside from every angle you look, San Miniato is famous for being one of the rare places in the world that harbours prized white truffles — in season (October to December) you can taste them in every single place that sells food, from even the simplest bar, and the town celebrates this with their annual festival, Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco and this year will be its 50th (I have been writing about it on this blog since 2010, you can see a post from 2021 on it here — I haven’t missed one since moving to Tuscany in 2005! — see below for more on how to visit during the White Truffle Festival).

The fact that people are drawn here to try precious white truffles, which shouldn’t be cooked, but are best grated over warm, steaming plates of simple dishes such as buttery tagliolini (see below) or fried eggs, means that over the years, a growing number of quality restaurants has made San Miniato a food destination mainly for those from surrounding local towns. The restaurant selection is so good it’s not only for truffles that you will want to travel here for. It’s a place I’m very proud to share with you here in this dining guide.

In the historical centre:

Sergio Falaschi: A fourth generation Slow Food butcher shop that has a casual restaurant out the back with the best view in town and wonderful charcuterie plates (above), traditional Tuscan primi and meaty mains. Here you will want to try all the things that they make, which are traditional salumi and sausages, with free range pork, no preservatives or additives: their sausages (in season the truffle sausages are the best!), Cinta Senese (a local Tuscan ancient pork breed) prosciutto, spuma di gota (a whipped cream made from pork jowl or guanciale), finocchiona (a larger, fresher Tuscan salame that is perfumed with fennel seeds) and mallegato, a spiced blood sausage that is served warm, the town’s only Slow Food presidium. If you’re feeling like a feast, choose a bistecca from the counter to be grilled for the table. Opening times vary seasonally so check the butcher shop (generally speaking it’s open for dinner in summer and for lunch in cold weather, closed Wednesdays).

Maggese: For something very special, Maggese (see photos below), headed by chef Fabrizio Marino (who spent 8 years at Joia in Milan, the first vegetarian restaurant in Europe to win a Michelin star) is a fine dining vegetarian restaurant in the heart of town. You can do a chef’s degustation (I would highly recommend this, also the wine pairing) or you can just choose any individual dishes without doing the tasting menu. It’s an incredible eating and drinking experience for anyone, vegan, vegetarian, omnivores alike. For those who love counter dining there is a small counter for two here, which gives you a great view on the kitchen. Open for dinner only.

Birra e Acciughe: I can’t tell you how many times this tiny place has saved me — sometimes you just need a warm baguette the length of your arm filled with creamy butter and anchovies (for me) or a hot dog (for the girls) to stave off a melt down! There is a surprising selection of over 60 artisan beer and ciders and did I mention the panini are warm? It’s too small for seats but most customers use the benches nearby or simply stand (see top photo). Closed Mondays.

Fiorile: The latest addition to San Miniato’s dining scene (opened July 2023), this is the cute, low key wine bar sister of Papaveri e Papere that I mention in the “Slightly out of town” section. A small menu where you can come just for drinks and snacks (mortadella french toast!), or a bigger meal if you like (regional pasta dishes, we had the gricia, a classic Roman dish, a couple of mains, also fish which can be harder to find in this meat-heavy town and a dessert or two).

Pepenero: Elegant, and in a panoramic position in the Hotel Miravalle in Piazza Duomo, Pepenero was San Miniato’s best known restaurant for decades, thanks to chef Gilberto Rossi.

La Piccola Osteria del Tartufo: As the name suggests, this is a tiny place in the town’s main piazza which has a very simple, small menu, rather meat heavy (high quality, however, as the meat comes from Lo Scalco Butcher shop in San Miniato Basso, lower San Miniato) and only local San Miniato wines. I would have their stracciatella and hazelnut risotto, the vitello tonnato or a classic dish of tagliolini with truffles (above). The kids like their burgers. Literally everything on the menu comes with truffles on it (black or white in season). Open lunch and dinner.

Maurizio il Pasticcere: The place for a classic Italian breakfast — cappuccino and cornetto!  Everything is made on site. Their sweet and savoury pastries and pizzette are particularly soft, fluffy and cloud like. I love the sfoglie (puff pastry pockets filled with custard, apple or rice) and their miniature almond biscotti. In spring and summer they have a good selection of housemade gelato (my preferred in town) and during certain seasons they make “Torta di San Miniato” (an incredibly moreish braided brioche soaked in vin santo syrup), while at Christmas they do pandoro, panettone and delicious panforte. Closed Mondays.

Cantuccio di Federigo: Walking into this tiny cantuccino shop is like walking into another world, another time. Pastry chef Paolo Gazzarrini has taken on his family’s shop after many generations, and continues making their famous cantuccini (biscotti), but also other tarts, cakes and wonderful ricciarelli (soft almond cookies).

Essenza: An all day coffee shop, restaurant and drinks place. It’s right in the main piazza so very handy if you just need a quick coffee or want to sit in the piazza with a drink — especially nice on summer nights when the streets become pedestrian only or there is live music. They have a wide range of loose leaf teas if coffee is not your thing. In the back, there are board games and books to browse and they even have a secret little table for two on a super panoramic terrace.

Ethan’s Bar: This cocktail bar is the place to come for aperitivo or an after dinner drink. Owner and mixologist Alessio Cintelli makes wonderful cocktails using well-researched liqueurs and ingredients. It’s a very popular place for a late night drink with the young locals!

Pizza del Popolo: A small spot right in the main piazza, Piazza del Popolo. It’s handy for pizza by the slice, panini or aperitivi. They also have build-your-own salads.

Enoteca Marilu: Obviously I couldn’t leave out our own enoteca (below)! Other than hosting cooking classes and events, we are also open to the public for wines by the glass (they come with nibbles) or bottles to take home. Or just come by and say hello! Open Wednesdays-Saturdays from 4pm-8pm.

Ever so slightly out of town:

Papaveri e Papere: Just a few minutes drive downhill from the town centre is this wonderful restaurant serving modern, well executed Tuscan cuisine. I can never fault anything I’ve ever eaten here. It’s all just perfect. Chef Paolo Fiaschi creates beautiful dishes based on Tuscan specialties and traditional ingredients, including a good selection of seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes, such as soft poached egg with pumpkin flan and white truffles (below), fresh tagliolini with guinea fowl ragu, bitter greens and taggiasche olives. Save space for dessert, they are just as beautiful to look at as they are to eat. Double check the opening times as they change seasonally — in the summer they are closed Sunday evenings, in cold weather Wednesdays they close.

Taverna dell’Ozio: A 10 mins drive from the town centre of San Miniato you can reach this wonderful but small rustic tavern (red and white checkered tablecloths and all) in the countryside neighbourhood of Corazzano. I will say right away it is always very hard to get a reservation here, especially during truffle and mushroom season (their specialties) as it is small (even smaller since the pandemic restrictions means less people inside) and is one of the few places in the area where you can try truly traditional, Slow Food dishes like game, snails and all the truffle and foraged mushroom dishes of your dreams. You may get lucky when they announce space available on their facebook page! Closed Mondays.

Collebrunacchi: A favourite restaurant recommended by my butcher (Falaschi), this old school trattoria is about a 15 minute drive through the countryside and is best for a traditional, big Tuscan meal with the works: antipasti of mixed crostini and pickles (below), tortellini in brodo, ribollita or pappardelle with hare sauce and wood fired grilled meats, including game (their specialty) and old school desserts like zuppa inglese. The prices are about 15 years old and the whole experience is, simply put, one of the reasons why I love living in Tuscany. Closed Mondays.


Every Tuesday morning you’ll find the weekly market (produce, fish, cheese, plus practical things like household goods, underwear and shoes!) in Piazza Dante Alighieri, while the third Sunday of the month is the Slow Food Market with local farmers and their produce (goat cheese, honey, sourdough bread, wine, salumi, fresh produce). The first Sunday of the month the historical centre hosts a pretty good flea market that lasts all day until 7pm where you can find all kinds of treasures, including textiles, cameras, furniture, paintings, toys, green glass from Empoli and ceramics.

Visiting the White Truffle Festival

The festival is held for 3 weekends in November, starting at 10am on Saturdays until 11pm and 9am on Sundays until 11pm.

The main thing to know about the festival is that driving in and out of San Miniato is extremely restricted. Streets are closed as food stalls and tents take up every single piazza (and car park) in town and it becomes pedestrian only for the entire weekend while the whole town emanates the perfume of these precious tubers.

So how to get in if you aren’t already (cleverly organised) in town? There is a shuttle bus service that goes between two big parking lots in San Miniato Basso: either from the Palazzetto Fontevivo  (both Saturday and Sunday) or the Pam supermarket (just Sunday). So if you are driving, park your car here and catch the shuttle bus (4 euro return ticket, children 14 and under are free). If you are coming by train from Florence or Pisa, get off at the San Miniato train station and you could walk to the Pam supermarket (15 minutes) for the shuttlebus, catch the 320 bus which leaves from the station every 30 minutes and takes you to Piazza Dante Alighieri in 15 minutes (note it is not available on Sundays).

You can buy a bus ticket via the local bus app or call a local taxi driver to bring you as far as it can go to San Miniato — Antonio is my go-to (338 298 5310).

Where to Stay in San Miniato.

Here is my updated list on places to stay right in the heart of the historical centre, including the recently restored, simple but spacious rooms in the 17th century Seminary building of San Miniato (above).


  1. Chris Avanzato says:

    I would like to know more about going on a truflle hunt in San MIniato. I will be in Florence in September and October.

  2. Janie says:

    Thanks so much for all the great info on the festival. We’re thinking of coming on the Sunday of the last weekend, taking the train from Lucca.

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