Legend has it that Le Tre Rane was the name of an inn that a young Leonardo da Vinci opened on Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, with a vision of a pioneering cooking style that would embody fine dining and healthy eating, while heightening the taste of being together.
Elegant minute portions were served, according to Leonardo’s avant-garde approach. The tables were always set with linen. Curious kitchen innovations included a spaghetti-making tool. Vegetables appeared for the first time because Leonardo understood they were good for human health. The venture is said to have run its course within a few weeks. Averse to change, the Florentines were disappointed by the scant servings, which forced the inn to close and Leonardo to flee north to Milan and seek employment at the Sforza court.
It might have proven a failure, but for Ruffino it is an enlightened example of popular conviviality that placed men (and women) at the centre of the table, as the Etruscans did millennia before and country living added a few centuries after Leonardo (and Catherine de’ Medici), with saltless bread, straw-wrapped flasks and long, loquacious tables. These gestures have been embraced and elevated throughout the history of Ruffino, its employees and wines. These same gestures are echoed at the Le Tre Rane – Ruffino restaurant, just opened on the scenic Poggio Casciano estate, barely 30 minutes from Florence, where you can stay at Ruffino’s country hotel and enjoy tours and tastings.
Stefano Frassineti has taken the helm in the kitchen at Le Tre Rane. Born in Chianti and a career cook for almost 30 years, Stefano believes in dishes based on tradition that evolve into an unmistakable identity. He takes an orchestra of seasonal ingredients from personally sourced Tuscan suppliers and conducts them with endless curiosity and creativity. Eight seasonal menus will rotate year round—the current one is centred around freshly pressed extra-virgin olive oil—in addition to an à la carte menu featuring Tuscan meat (and the occasional fish) courses. Start with a delicate ricotta and chard pie, continue with hunter’s chicken tortelli and opt for a beef tagliata or bistecca alla Fiorentina.
Ruffino wines naturally take centre stage: all of Ruffino’s Tuscan labels are served by the glass or bottle, and there’s even the opportunity to select older vintages and large formats directly from the evocative Poggio Casciano cellars. Every dish is designed to pair perfectly with the wine and vice versa, elevating the taste for being together, the way the Tuscan table has remained over the centuries.
Architect Matteo Fioravanti, of Studio Qart (Florence), drew up the plans for the modern Tuscan design. The brief was to convey the values underpinning Ruffino through the restaurant’s look: Tuscan authenticity, conviviality and reinvention. The implementation sought inspiration from the tenant farmer’s house, that sublime middle ground between the peasant and the lord in the sharecropping hierarchy. The farmer lived in the countryside, unlike the nobleman, but he owned a little more than most peasants did: a home with the odd ornament; some Arte Povera furniture, the more sought-after pieces; not seats, but chairs; and food, the best leftovers and offal; and in terms of wine, the riserva a fixture on the table. The furnishings, furniture and lighting, white-painted ceiling and textural veined wooden floors instil a warm, welcoming and refined feel to Le Tre Rane – Ruffino, a restaurant that is fast becoming the place to savour Sunday lunch and weekday dinners in the Chianti countryside.
Locanda Le Tre Rane Ruffino
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Tel. +39 378 30 50 220