With a daring family history dating back to the end of the 19th century, this historic restaurant is a realm of wonders with a wine cellar of over 500 labels for true connoisseurs, the protagonist since ancient times of the most authentic history of Lucca.
In a nineteenth-century building, on the historic road that leads from Lucca to Sant’Alessio, Tambellini is one of those places that, as soon as you cross the threshold, literally leave you speechless, projecting you into an atmosphere of other times. For over 25 years it has been managed by the Giuntini family – Curzio, a passionate sommelier, his brother Andrea, and their parents, Manuela, an excellent cook and creative soul of the place, and Angelo – who really takes care of every detail.
The entrance, which opens onto the bar area, introduces the history of the place which for more than 150 years was a shop with an “adventurous” history behind it. The documented news takes us back to 1870 when a relative of the Tambellinis inherits a small shop known as “la bottega di sant’Alessio”, a reference point for wayfarers, shepherds and farmers in the area. With an entrepreneurial spirit, he opened another resale in Pescaglia but in 1908, while walking between the two shops, he was attacked by a brigand who beheaded him with a hatchet.
I love to introduce my clientele to small artisal wineries, niche producers that I personally visit and that embody the best of our territory.(Curzio Giuntini, Owner)
The fact created a lot of clamor and gave way to a series of transfers of ownership between relatives. This was up to the Tambellini management, in 1930, when Pietro Tambellini together with his nephews Luigi, Lorenzo and Pietrino, uncles of Manuela, took over the business. The place grew in a short time, until it was converted exclusively into a bar and resale of excellent wine, a distinctive trait still today thanks to the passion of Curzio and his well-stocked wine cellar.
After passing the bar area, you reach in fact the room dedicated to the cellar and white shop where more than 500 labels are displayed on wooden shelves, finely decorated with dedications and themed poems. Three long tables invite you to sip a glass and share Curzio’s wine knowledge.
The enchantment continues in the restaurant. Thanks to the work of Manuela and her exceptional taste, the rooms are full of charming details and references to art, which reveal her soul of a refined painter. From the tables decorated with the anatomical studies of the Art Institute to the collections of artistic ceramics created by the Russian designer Daria Mancheva, up to the furnishings found in the fabulous Tuscan antique markets. The outdoor courtyard, open during the summer, also offers a splendid setting for a summer lunch or dinner.
The kitchen is Lucilla‘s kingdom, who has worked for Tambellini for more than 12 years, which offers a seasonal menu with traditional dishes such as homemade pasta, Lucca tortello filled with mixed meats, or, in spring, garmugia, a soup of peas, broad beans, asparagus and artichokes with minced meat, or rovellina lucchese, breaded and fried veal sautéed in tomato and caper sauce. All the vegetables are organic, purchased from local farmers, as are the excellent cheeses from the Garfagnana. Just ask Chiara, maitre d’, who will be able to advise you in the best way.
And for a truly exceptional wine pairing, Curzio will recommend many small producers that he personally selects, with a great deal of research aimed mainly at finding superb organic and biodynamic wines, his great passion.
Like Fabbrica di San Martino winery, located a few kilometers from the restaurant, true forerunners of biodynamics in Lucca that produce only 10,000 bottles, or Valle del Sole, which supplies Tambellini with the excellent “house wine”.
Whether you are just passing by or in Versilia for a holiday, a “cuddle” at the court of the Tambellini family is truly a must.
The place, in the early twentieth century, was very different and frequented by characters from the most varied backgrounds. So the Tambellini brothers decided to entrust their “protection” to a guy named Trasando who, given his past in prison, was feared and respected by everyone, a true ante-litteram “bouncer”. In the wine cellar, you can still see a black-and-white photo that portrays him together with the Tambellini brothers.
First courses: 14 — 20 euro
Main courses: 14 — 18 euro
Desserts: 6 — 7 euro