By Simone Bandini


“But my mystery is locked up in me, no one will know the name. No, no, I’ll say it on your lips when the light shines. And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine.”

Turandot, Giacomo Puccini


An undoubtedly romantic and dreamy restaurant, whose atmosphere seems to be set to music by Puccini’s Turandot: housed in the historic ‘belly’ of the Tuscan village in a stately palace of late medieval origin, in the well-known square in front of the Signorelli Theatre, we get to know it with a happy soul and curiosity. We are with Daniela Polezzi, chef from Cortona from ‘inside the city walls’, and Maurizio Menci who – with his third level AIS – is a sommelier of rank, increasingly well-known connoisseur of the world of truffles.


“All the dishes of our Nessun Dorma – they tell us – are designed and cooked by hand, selecting raw materials chosen personally, locally when possible or produced by us. Our specialties, for which we are known, even beyond our Cortona ‘fiefdom’, are truffle-based dishes, game, the processing of Cinta Senese and the meats of Tuscan producers, magnified in cooking to the delight of diners”.

“After 34 years of living together with my beloved Maurizio,” she tells us, “No one has any secrets for the other anymore and our understanding is also manifested in the kitchen. Although, to tell the truth, he has a flaw: he’s from Castiglion Fiorentino,” she laughs.

In reality, the couple comes from different experiences that have certainly enriched their vision of the world and personal sensitivity: Daniela is an architect while Maurizio is an entrepreneur who has worked in various sectors, from construction to finance, and then landed at the end of the 90s in the world of the trade of fresh truffles and related processing (creams, butter, oil, carpaccio, etc.).

The restaurant still talks about truffles – and it’s really in season! Maurizio himself is a truffle finder, so whenever possible he goes into the woods to personally look for the raw material that makes up his dishes. The fine white truffle growing areas are Acqualagna, Città di Castello or the Crete Senesi – while the equally versatile and delicious Scorzone, the black truffle in winter or the ‘bianchetto’ in spring, are found in nearby areas.

In order to increase the perception and knowledge of this world, real truffle hunting experiences have been designed and then organized, an exciting search that ends in the kitchen and then at the table, in the dishes prepared with fresh products. An excursion that we recommend you book and experience with the expert Maurizio.

Among the ‘signature’ dishes that tell the story of truffles and undergrowth, we recommend the ‘Quail shard with truffle‘, the ‘Tagliolini with truffle’, the ‘Ears of cheese with truffle’ and the sumptuous ‘Veal fillet with Amarone and truffle’. Daniela, deus ex machina of Nessun Dorma, takes care of the all-round cuisine with Rowena: “Another maximum expression of our cuisine is game: wild boar, hare, red partridge, mallard, roe deer, deer and even reindeer!

“To continue the story of this gastronomic opulence, let’s go back to the first courses, strictly homemade: we mention here in the rich proposal the ‘Pici di grano Verna’, the ‘Tortelli di patate con funghi porcini’ (the famous Tortelli from Casentino), the ‘Tagliatelle di farro’ which are declined with traditional sauces or wink at a vegetarian version – the restaurant also boasts a rich gluten-free choice.

Here everything is done on the spot, following the passage of time and seasons: mushrooms, sweets with chestnuts, the real ribollita with different varieties of cabbage.

Two last unmissable delicacies? Without a doubt the ‘Guancia di Chianina’ and the ‘Peposo di Cinghiale’, which we enjoyed with avidity and of which I still have the memory as I write.



Info and reservations: Nessun Dorma, Piazza Signorelli 24, Cortona (Ar) / Tel. 0575 62038 / 338 9987035 / /