Valdarno Valley is a geographical area between Firenze and Arezzo, in Tuscany, where the Arno river flows. It's famous for its past treasures, monuments and museums but also for the Outlet district: Prada, The Mall, D&G, Fashion Groove, are some of the most visited places for shop addicted.
As many places in Tuscany, it's famous also for the good food. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy some typical tuscan dishes. And the prices are cheaper in comparison with big cities such as Florence!
One of the best known restaurants in the area is Osteria dell'Acquolina. The owner Paolo Tizzanini is quite an histrionic man who has wrote cooking books and participated to several tv programs. His devotion to a real authentic tuscan cuisine is so strong that in his restaurant you will not find a Coke or a product coming from other countries (for example French Mustard!).
Have a great dining experience with the home made pasta served with meat ragu or truffles, in a pink country house surrounded by olive trees.
If you are driving with your car through the small town of La Penna, not far from Terranuova Bracciolini, you will see a small family hotel on the road: Break House. Close to the hotel there's the restaurant, a small gem hidden in a anonimous area. It's the classic example that teach us not to judge from the exteriors... Have a seat inside to discover an elegant and refined menu that proposes fish and meat courses. Kindness, good looking plates and a touch of originality will make the difference. If you like good wine ask to the sommelier, he will suggest you some local excellent wines.
Tuscany is world-wide famous for the barbecued rare T-bone steak, called “Bistecca fiorentina”. One of the best places to eat a bloody tasty fiorentina is Castellucci, a restaurant in Montevarchi, not far from Arezzo. The origins of this restaurant lied back to Rome, where the family lived in the Dolce Vita age. They moved to Tuscany several years ago and now they are specialized in traditional tuscan dishes, still maintaing some roman recipes (spaghetti alla carbonara). Even if the place is not elegant neither romantic, it's often crowdy. It's attended also by the Prada management.
Completely different the restaurant called Papposileno, on the Castelli del Chianti panoramic road that brings to Cavriglia. Local cheeses and salumi, vegetables coming from local farmers, tuscan specialties, are the ingredients of their success. In addition a rich wine list, that includes also many artisanal beers. Ask for some water too... and discover why they serve you tap water ;-)
I tried tartare with salad: the picture doesn't represents how good it was!
Are you a real foodie? In the center of Montevarchi there's a small pasticceria bar: La sfogliatella (in Napolitean dialect it's a kind of croissant). Have a coffe or a cappuccino served with some of the gorgeous sweets showed in the windows. Ok, maybe they are inappropriate for your diet, but once you have tasted one of those sfogliatelle, you will understand where Heaven lies...
If you love ice cream there are 2 stops you have to plan in your agenda. The first is Gelateria Cassia Vetus: an ice cream store, where to taste a real artisan ice-cream, with local ingredients (many of them Slow Food presidium).
The second place you cannot miss is the brand new Carabé Park, the ice cream laboratory where you can learn everything about this delicious ingredient. Created by sicilian Antonio Lisciandro - who runs an ice cream store in the center of Florence as well – is meant to entertain people, especially kids. Definitely it is much more than a store. It's an experience!
Both places are worthy even for the surrounding: green hills covered with olive trees, cypresses and vineyards will offer you a relaxing fresh atmosphere.