La Botte Piena

 La Botte Piena is one of my favourite restaurants anywhere. In May 2011, we had rented an apartment for a week in the little Tuscan village of Montefollonico.  The drive from Florence took longer than expected. We arrived at about 1:30 pm and the shops had closed for the afternoon and would only re-open at 4 pm. We hadn’t eaten since early morning and the restaurants were getting ready to shutter for the afternoon. La Botte Piena was less than 100 metres from our apartment and we asked if they would let us get a quick bite to eat.

Elena with a village resident


They too were getting ready to close but they set a table for us. We had a simple lunch. I can’t remember what we ate but I do remember that it was so good that we made reservations to eat there in the evening. We ended up going back six of the seven evenings we stayed in that tiny hilltop village. We got to know the owners, Simone and Elena, a husband and wife team, and have stayed at their nearby Bed and Breakfast l’Orto di Panza  on several occasions. Every time we go back to Tuscany we dine at La Botte. 

Elena is the executive chef and selects the seasonal menu. Simone is the sommelier and looks after the front of house. The menu is seasonal and rooted in tradition. Pasta con Briciole  is a typical Tuscan dish that we have eaten in many places but it is most delicious at La Botte. However, you can eat sautéed sweetbreads with artichoke as well. The wine list is just spectacular. Simone carefully selects every wine in the cellar and he has excellent pairing skills. 

You can find Osteria La Botte Piena in the Michelin guide and you can make reservations on The Fork

We Should Know Better

August 26, 2023

I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age […]

Not in My Back Yard

August 4, 2023

Don’t build it! At least, Not In My Back Yard ! I acted as an advisor  in the sale of a beautifully natural, 14-acre urban waterfront estate. Existing zoning allowed for the development of 30 to 35 single-family homes, which after road dedication would leave very little green space. I did not think that was […]

Glasgow – That Dear Green Place

July 31, 2023

We were visiting Glasgow (literally that Dear Green Place in Gaelic) to see where my father was born, grew up, and went to University. Fortunately for me, my cousin John from Australia had just visited and had met with historians, Bruce Downie  and Norry Wilson.  So,  we too arranged to meet them in the Govanhill […]

Vienna on Top Again

June 25, 2023

Vienna on top again. This week both Monocle Magazine and The Economist unveiled their quality of life / most liveable city indexes. There are differences in the way each publication sets its index. So it is even more impressive that once again, Vienna tops both lists. I am a bit lazy today so rather than […]

Large interior courtyards

From Hot Bedding to Superblocks

June 20, 2023

Many Viennese went from hot bedding to superblocks overnight. Could they even imagine  an apartment complex 1000 metres long built along two streets with even more massive landscaped courtyards? Could they conceive of 1400 apartment units built to house 5000 people on 56,000 square metres or 38 acres of land.  Or a vertical build-out that […]

Vienna – the World’s Most Livable City

June 16, 2023

Vienna had been a poor city even before the First World War. “Normal” housing arrangements  meant six to eight people sharing one room and a kitchen. Then, in early 1919, just after the Armistice,  the cost of living tripled in two months. Bed lodgers could no longer afford their 8-hours a day in a shared […]