The seduction of Tuscan Country Cooking in Sonoma’s Wine Country



Walkthrough the ornate wrought iron gated entrance of Della Santina’s Trattoria and like smoke thru a keyhole, you’re transported to the family’s hometown of Lucca, Italy.

Following in the same footsteps as generations did before him, Quirico Saltavore Giovanni Della Santina spent his childhood helping his grandmothers, Pia Fontana Della Santina and Clary Gambogi Barsotti, prepare the family meals from recipes built on tradition and genuine love.

Tuscan country dishes pay homage to celebrate the season’s harvests, slow-roasted lamb, rabbit, duck, cured meats like prosciutto, sausages, pasta, etc. daily loaves of bread resting on their window seals.

When asked, Quirico, now known as Don, “When did you perfect your bread-making techniques?” he answered, “I perfected this pre-conception, I think. It came naturally to me.”

Don shared one other early childhood memory when his grandmother gave him a tall sided bowl containing egg yolks and sugar and a large whisk. : Keep whisking until I tell you to stop.” she instructed. “I felt like my arms were going to fall off!” but the end product after the addition of a pinch of cinnamon, drops of vanilla and Marsala wine, a velvety smooth Zabaglione sauce, an integral part for a traditional Tiramisu dessert, was worth all the effort.

As a young adult in 1960, Don ventured out across the sea to America. He chooses to reside in the North Beach area of San Francisco as a baker by trade. Five years later, he joined his uncle Adolph Della Santina in the city of Marin to work in the family restaurant, the highly acclaimed Marin Joe’s.

After 25 years of successful ownership in a thriving business, he decided to venture out on his own beautiful Sonoma valley. In 1990 Della Santina’s Trattoria was born.

The Trattoria’s walls are proudly adorned with family photos, past, and present, including their grandmothers, Pia Fontana Della Santina and Clary Gambogi Barsotti, who passed down these lineage recipes, as you’re cheerfully escorted towards their postcard-perfect garden courtyard.

You enter a calm oasis of native Lowquat trellises, crisp white linen dressed cafe tables, and a babbling waterfall, all nested under a scarlet red Lady Bark rose canopied vine sky.

George Arias, who has worked here for 14 years, offers me the menus. I lean back and prose their selections, and then without even realizing it, I slip gently into the full participation of Dolce Farienté or ‘pleasure of doing nothing’.

Shall we begin?

The perfect introduction to Italian fare is with a traditional Antipasta dish.

Antipasta or Insalata

Pomodorie e Mozzarella

Vine ripen heirloom tomato slices hold a basil pesto fresh mozzarella wheels are drizzled with a nutty Balsamic reduction sauce. Artichoke hearts, green olives, roasted red peppers, and sweet-tangy pickled onions alongside allow you to create the perfect bite.

Pappardelle All' Anatra

Perfecting the slow roasting or Rosticceria techniques requires skill. The result is a savory, succulent, and fork-tender treat.

Pappardelle All” Anatra

Wide ribbon pasta noodles cuddle a creamy Duck Ragu sauce and top with an earthy truffle oil.

Ravioli Con Forro

Ravioli Con Forro

Fork tender pillows of homemade pasta bulging with spinach filling lie under a Shitake, Italian Porcini, and domestic mushrooms in a white wine reduction sauce. Wild mushroom sauce.

My favorite dessert in the world is an adequately prepared Italian Tiramisu, and when I saw it on their menu, I knew I was in for a heavenly treat.



Triple Sec, Rum, and Espresso dipped ladyfingers cuddle a velvety rich Zabaglione sauce, then completed with a dusting of pure cocoa powder.

Every forkful was a ballet dance of chocolate, coffee, Marsala custard sauce and laced lighter-than-air cake revealing their flavors to the music’s beat. After such a savory meal, I was prepared to take this treat away with me, but the rest happily followed after one bite.  


The other half of your experience with the Della Santina family is Enoteca Della Santina. Don’s son Rob and his lovely wife Nicole created a “wine library” with a 250+ bottle “wine wall” so visitors can sample, drink and purchase wines from around the world right next door.

Their vast wine list is a worldly exploration. If you are not familiar with these wines, allow the family to make the selections for you. You’ll now have a new wine to enjoy, and you can also purchase a bottle for later.

“We gathered after hours in our Trattoria, Della Santina’s, in the company of close friends and family. Together we sampled and discussed a variety of wines from around the world. With community and celebration in mind, our international Club Vino was born. You can often find multi-generational wine families sipping wine and sharing stories with visitors from far and wide. Think of us as Sonoma’s “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name and you are always welcome.”

Robert & Nicole Della Santina

Tradition runs deep in the Della Santina’s family trattoria. Immediately they graciously help you feel at home. Their confidence and experience is a direct reflection of their mastery of culinary techniques and genuine service. Together, Della Santina’s and Enoteca Della Santina represent an authentic Italian experience that both embodies the spirit of the Sonoma’s Wine Country and the Della Santina family’s heritage.

Della Santina’s Trattoria is open for Lunch and Dinner dining daily.  

Encotca Della Santina opens at 4:00 p.m.

Since 1990 the family continues to bring a strong sense of community, tantalizing cuisine, and contagious hospitality to Sonoma’s wine country.


“Come on in, take your time, and enjoy true Tuscan and Sonoma hospitality.”
Rob Della Santina 

Walkthrough the ornate wrought iron gated entrance of Della Santina’s Trattoria and like smoke thru a keyhole, you’re transported to the family’s hometown of Lucca, Italy.

How lucky am I to find such an amazing gem. It’s a place where you can celebrate life with delicious Tuscan cooking and where they make you feel right at home.

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