Forte dei Marmi is an expensive beach resort in Tuscany. Prices are generally high and have been pushed even higher by wealthy Russians.

We were staying at the excellent Una Hotel and wanted to venture out locally and try some restaurants. The Una Hotel is about 20 minutes walk from the beach and so there aren’t many local restaurants to choose from.

We’d spent the day visiting Lucca and I was still wearing short trousers, a polo shirt and trainers. We were looking for somewhere local to just have some pasta. The Ristorante Madeo was just a few minutes walk from the hotel and I hadn’t realised that it was quite a posh place. We first tried to enter via a small courtyard, where four, bored, chefs sat chatting, but were sent around to another entrance via a huge (empty) car park. The manager was very welcoming and said that we should feel free to wear what we like when I observed that the surroundings were at odds with my attire. But this was just before the start of the season and the place was empty.

We quickly realised that this was an expensive place. Fettucine with mushrooms was EUR 20. I asked about a half litre of house red, but that wasn’t available – instead we were offered a half bottle of wine, which together with the litre of Pellegrino water came to EUR 15. The wine was good and I was pleased that they didn’t take advantage by serving an expensive wine.

The pasta was excellent and we really enjoyed it. I had a Sambuca after the meal and it didn’t appear on the final bill – but then there was an exorbitant cover charge of EUR 7.50 each.

We sat outside. A small stream is at the back of the garden and so we suffered from mosquito attack. I mentioned this to the manager and he advised that they normally have some repellent candles or something like that but they’d forgotten to buy them.

Bill was EUR 70 (including cover charge of EUR 7.50 each). I didn’t notice this until later and so made the mistake of tipping on top of this.

We did say that we would be back, but later found some much better value places of the same quality in the nearby town of Viareggio. I was also disappointed that the manager was happy to take my tip, knowing that there was already EUR 15.00 added to the bill.

If money is no object and you are in the area, then I’m sure you’ll have good food at this restaurant.

Tel. 0584 874068