Top food-festivals in Tuscany
The complete guide to the best and most historical food-festivals in the region
Festivals of the world unite and prepare pen and paper to note down the festivals not to be missed in Tuscany. The ones you will find below, recounted and listed in order of date, are foolproof: they are guaranteed to be the most historic and renowned in the region. You will taste the most typical local products, see 'Sunday' villages and towns, and learn about traditional foods at risk of extinction!
CALICI DI STELLE
In all participating Tuscan and Italian wineries
First two weeks of August
This is a now traditional appointment with the world of wine and its producers throughout Italy, organised by Movimento Turistico del Vino, which culminates on the night of San Lorenzo, 10 August. The squares of the wine villages, wineries and cellars offer visitors tastings, events, guided tours in the vineyard or cellar, music and food and wine evenings with the aim of bringing the public closer to the world of good drinking. The programme, region by region, is on movimentotursmovino.it.
LA SAGRA DEI PANIGACCI
Second and third week of August
We are in the Apuane Alps, surrounded by the typical flavours of Lunigiana (here are the restaurants not to be missed in the woods of Tuscany). This festival takes place in the open-air structure near the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Gaggio. Panigacci, are unleavened (i.e. unleavened) bread focaccias, fragrant and fragrant, baked in terracotta texts, to be enjoyed filled with local cured meats and cheeses, starting with Lardo di Colonnata.
SAGRA DEL CINGHIALE E DEL TORTELLO
First 2 weekends in August
One of the most popular festivals in the Maremma, set in the ancient village of Montepescali, which sits atop a hill separating the Ombrone Valley from the Colline Metallifere (Metal-bearing Hills). Here the most typical and authentic dishes of Maremma cuisine are served al fresco: barbecued or stewed wild boar, tortelli and tagliatelle with wild boar ragout.
SAGRA DELLA BISTECCA CHIANINA
13 to 15 August
If it is not the oldest Tuscan festival, it is certainly among the oldest and most glorious: having started in the early 1960s, it is a true doyenne among Tuscan festivals. We are in the fascinating town of Etruscan origin, Cortona, on the outskirts of Arezzo. To give an idea of the size of the festival, one need only recall that in a recent edition, 4500 Chianina steaks were ordered, each weighing at least 750 grams. Obviously, you will not only find steaks but also costolecci (rotisserie), sausages, ciaccia (a focaccia baked in the testi) with prosciutto, cannellini beans and many other local specialities. You can find other local specialities such as Cinta Senese cured meats, pecorino cheese from Pienza, preserves and jams, wines, oil and cantucci. The food stands will be open every evening for dinner from 17:00 to 24:00. Participants can choose from three fixed menus: hamburger menu, steak menu and Chianina menu.
FESTA DEL FAGIOLO
Last weekend in August
The Sorana IGP bean is the most prized white bean in Tuscany. It is produced in the Pescia area with the village of Sorana at its epicentre. During the bean festival, local dishes made with or in combination with this bean are tasted.
SAGRA DELLA BISTECCA
Badia al Pino (AR)
Last 10 days of August
We are in the heart of the Chianina cow herds, the native breed of the Val di Chiana famous for its steaks. And steak is the undisputed and undisputed queen of this beautiful village festival.
SAGRA DELLA ZUPPA DI PANE CON CIPOLLOTTO
Pian del Bichi di Motemassi (GR)
Last week of August and first week of September
Vegetable soup with raggermo bread and fresh spring onions is a typical Tuscan peasant dish. Every area has its variants, and the Maremma has an infinite number of them, culminating in Acquacotta made almost exclusively with onions. Visiting this festival is an opportunity to taste this healthy and ancient dish, but also to visit this village surrounded by greenery.
SAGRA DELLA PORCHETTA
Monte San Savino (AR)
Last weekend in August, first weekend in September
This festival brings to the stage a product of local excellence, the porchetta, with sandwiches and dishes that enhance the raw materials: from the pork to the mix of aromatic herbs (starting with wild fennel) to slow cooking in wood-fired ovens. But in the stands, tastings extend to the whole variety of grilled meat, pici with white pork sauce, as well as the typical local dessert, sweet cream gnocchi (a sort of brick of cream cooked twice).
SAGRA DEL FICO
1st and 2nd weekends of September
In the small village in the municipality of Carmignano, in the province of Prato, there is a historic festival dedicated to the dried fig of Carmignano, a SlowFood presidium and local product par excellence after the Carmignano Docg red wine. No house in Carmignano was once without at least one fig plant. The best variety for producing dried figs is the Dottato. As soon as they are picked, the figs are cut open lengthwise with a knife, placed on 'canniccioni' mats and subjected to sulphur smoke that whitens the skin. After drying for four or five days in the sun, the dried figs are placed in a cool, dry room, where they remain for 35 to 40 days. During this time, a layer of sugar forms on the surface (the gruma). Once the dried figs are dry, they are coupled with some aniseed inside. On the palate, the sugary flavour prevails, mitigated by the aniseed note. They can be eaten as an appetiser, accompanying the tasty Mortadella di Prato and liver pâté, or enjoyed, more traditionally, as a dessert at the end of a meal.
SAGRA DEL CIGHIALE
Second week of September
This is a historic event, since the first edition of the festival dates back to 1965. The menu offers various specialities of Maremma cuisine, in particular game. Recommended dishes include wild boar alla cacciatora, ammazzafegati, grilled wild boar, polenta and acquacotta. Side events include the opportunity to watch the butteri show on Saturday and Sunday.
2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays in September
This is the festival of festivals, because it has been organised for almost a century without interruption. Entirely dedicated to wine and its universe, it was created to celebrate the highlight of the wine-growing year: the grape harvest. The small and charming town of Impruneta, famous not only for its wine but also for its clay and terracotta work, celebrates it with a famous parade of floats and food and wine stands.
SAGRA DELLE CASTAGNE E DEL MARRON BUONO
2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays in October
Let's go up to the Apennines to taste typical chestnut products, those of this area are special and renowned: chestnut tortelli, chestnut cake, chestnut cake, chestnut jams, marrons glacés, 'bruciati' (roasted chestnuts), and much more. Other products from the forest and undergrowth can be purchased in the streets of the town, as well as other handicraft and commercial products. On this occasion, Marradi can also be reached by a steam train that travels through the woods pulled by an old locomotive on the old Faentina line that connects Faenza to Florence.
All Saints' Weekend (30 October-1 November)
This gastronomic festival was created to celebrate the end of the chestnut harvest and the beginning of the winter season. The term 'Crastatone' derives from the dialectal verb 'crastare', i.e. the act of cutting the chestnut before placing it on the fire, hence 'crastata' (cracked chestnut).
SAGRA DEL TOTANO
Capraia Isola (LI)
All Saints' Weekend (30 October-1 November)
The Sagra del Totano (Squid Festival) is a not-to-be-missed event and, since 2000, has offered enthusiasts, and especially sailors, the opportunity to taste the squid, Totani. The rendezvous consists of two main events: the Squid Fishing Race with various categories of participants - on land and at sea - for sailboats and motorboats. The start of the boats is a spectacular event. Equally entertaining is the weighing of the squid caught, which is carried out at the end of the race on the quay at the harbour. The festival organised by the Pro Loco together with all the island's restaurants is the apotheosis of squid tasting: along the harbour quay, there is fried squid, rice with squid, squid cous-cous, squid with herbs, squid with potatoes, squid lasagna, squid crostoni all'arrabbiata, squid arancini, and every year, there are variations on the theme, the squid remaining the same.
MOSTRA MERCATO NAZIONALE DEL TARTUFO BIANCO
San Miniato (PI)
Last three weekends in November
In November, the medieval town of San Miniato (between Empoli and Pisa) becomes Italy's white truffle capital. Together with the white truffle, the best of Italian agrifood excellence can be enjoyed. Chefs animate the more than two kilometres of Italy's most important open-air taste workshop, where typical products meet the more than one hundred thousand visitors from all over Italy to learn about new cooking trends and new taste alliances. A true festival of flavours where gourmets and visitors meet to appreciate the excellence of food and wine. Truffle hunters with their champion dogs will challenge each other in the heart of Tuscany, in Valdegola, in a magical land and uncontaminated environment, starting on 10 September, the opening day of the San Miniato White Truffle harvest, to find the precious nuggets in the woods and try to beat Arturo Gallerini's record: his record has stood since 1954, when he found the world's largest truffle in the hills of San Miniato. It weighed 2520 grams.