Top food-festivals in Tuscany
The complete guide to the best and most historical food-festivals in the region: annual calendar and curiosities
Festival-goers from all over the world, unite and prepare a pen and paper to note down the festivals you cannot miss in Tuscany. The following festivals, listed in order of date, are foolproof: the fact that they are the most historic and renowned in the region is guaranteed. You will taste the most typical local products, see 'Sunday' villages and towns and learn about traditional foods that are in danger of extinction!
San Vincenzo LI
last weekend of May
A traditional gastronomic event dedicated to bonito and blue fish in general, held every year in this beautiful town in the province of Livorno, overlooking the sea. Wrongly considered a poor relation of tuna, the palamita is cooked in various ways: grilled, stewed, in oil, vacuum-packed, it can be preserved in oil, it can be enjoyed raw or just seared in Japanese tataki style. It is rich in vitamin A, phosphorus, protein and omega-3 fats, which protect the heart and arteries. Get to know it in all its forms in this appointment that marks the beginning of the summer season.
Celle sul Rigo SI
last weekend in may
Not to be missed, in this small hamlet of San Casciano dei Bagni, is the oldest festival dedicated to the famous Pici, a special type of pasta typical of the Siena area in the form of large spaghetti made by hand by kneading water and flour. Stands are set up in the streets of the village where you can taste pici in all kinds of ways, especially when served with duck sauce (pici alla nana) or all'aglione (tomato-based sauce cooked in a mixture of olive oil and garlic), and the local housewives show you how to knead and prepare this tasty fresh pasta.
Segromigno Monte, Lucca LU
every weekend in June
Segromigno Monte, on the outskirts of Lucca, is the epicentre of this particular variant of Tuscan tortelli, which in Lucca and Versilia become "tordelli". Lucca uses minced beef, pork and veal roasted with oil, eggs, salt and pepper, nutmeg and then thyme, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese, Percorino cheese and breadcrumbs (Versilia uses only local mortadella, Swiss chard, borage and pecorino cheese).
4_PINE NUT FESTIVAL
San Piero a Grado PI
first 2 weekends of July
Historical festival during which specialities based on the famous organic pine nuts from the Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli Natural Park are tasted: from bruschetta with tomato and pine nuts to torta coi bischeri and pinolata.
5_SAGRA DEL TORTELLO MAREMMANO
Massa Marittima GR
Last 2 weeks of July
The Maremma is a must in the race for the tastiest tortello. A different recipe for the filling: spinach, ricotta cheese, salt, nutmeg, egg and grated cheese. Take advantage of this festival in one of the most beautiful towns in the Tuscan hinterland to taste this typical Maremman first course.
6_ CALICI DI STELLE
In all Italian wineries participating in the initiative
first two weeks of August
This is a now traditional appointment with the world of wine and its producers throughout Italy, organised by the Movimento Tustico del Vino, which culminates on the night of San Loreno, 10 August. The squares of the wine villages, wineries and cellars offer visitors tastings, events, guided tours in the vineyard or in the cellar, musical and gastronomic evenings with the aim of bringing the public closer to the world of good drinking. The programme, region by region, is on movimentotursmovino.it.
Palazzuolo sul Senio
second weekend in August
Where Tuscany becomes Romagna. We are in a village in the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines, in the last offshoot of the province of Florence. The air is fine, in summer, we are in the high mountains surrounded by torrents and waterfalls. Game is plentiful and the tradition of wild boar hunting makes this area typical for wild boar dishes.
8_THE PANIGACCI FESTIVAL
second and third week of August
We are in the Apuan Alps, surrounded by the typical flavours of Lunigiana. This festival takes place in the open-air structure near the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Gaggio. Panigacci are fragrant, unleavened (i.e. unleavened) flatbreads baked in terracotta bricks, to be enjoyed filled with local cured meats and cheeses, starting with Lardo di Colonnata.
9_BOAR AND TORTELLO FESTIVAL
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. Here you can enjoy the most typical and authentic dishes of Maremma cuisine: barbecued or stewed wild boar, tortelli and tagliatelle with wild boar ragout.
10_CHIANINA STEAK FESTIVAL
If it is not the oldest Tuscan festival, it is certainly one of the oldest and most glorious: having started in the early 1960s, it is a true doyen among Tuscan festivals. We are in the charming town of Estruscan origins, Cortona, just outside Arezzo. To give an idea of the size of the festival, just remember that in a recent edition 4500 Chianina steaks were ordered, each weighing at least 750 grams. Of course, you won't just find steaks, but also costolecci (rotisserie), sausages, ciaccia (a focaccia baked on a griddle) with prosciutto, cannellini beans and many other local specialities. You can also find other local specialities such as Cinta Senese cured meats, pecorino cheese from Pienza, preserves and jams, wines, olive oil and cantucci. The food stands will be open every evening for dinner from 17:00 to 24:00. Participants can choose between three fixed menus: hamburger menu, steak menu and Chianina menu.
Sorana, Pescia PT
last weekend of 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 centre. During the bean festival, local dishes made with the bean or a combination of the two can be tasted.
Badia al Pino, Civitella in Val di Chiana AR
last 10 days of August
We are in the heart of the Chianina cow farms, the native breed of the Val di Chiana famous for its steaks. And the steak is the undisputed and undisputed queen of this beautiful village festival.
13_BREAD SOUP WITH SPRING ONION FESTIVAL
Pian del Bichi di Motemassi, Roccastrada GR
last week of August and first week of September
Vegetable soup with raggermo bread and fresh spring onions is a typical dish of the Tuscan peasant tradition. Each area has its own variants and the Maremma has an infinite number of them until it is transformed into Acquacotta made almost exclusively with onions. Visiting this festival is an opportunity to taste this healthy, ancient dish, but also to visit this village surrounded by greenery.
14_FESTIVAL OF THE FOCACCETTA
Vaccareccia, Quercia di Aulla MS
last weekend of August, first 2 weekends of September
The focaccette of Aulla are focaccias made of wheat and maize flour and baked in terracotta pots. They have a round shape with a diameter of about 15 cm and a thickness of about 1-2 cm; the colour is golden brown and the smell is fragrant, similar to bread. They are mainly eaten with local sausages and cheeses.
Monte San Savino AR
last weekend in August, first weekend in September
This festival showcases a local product of excellence, the porchetta, with sandwiches and dishes that make the most of the raw materials: from the pork to the mix of aromatic herbs (starting with wild fennel) and slow cooking in wood-fired ovens. But in the stands, tastings extend to the whole variety of grilled meats, pici with white pork sauce and the typical local dessert, sweet cream gnocchi (a sort of brick of cream cooked twice).
second week of September
This is a historical event, since the first edition of the festival dates back to 1965. The menu offers various specialities of the 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 cowboys' 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. Dedicated entirely to wine and its universe, it was created to celebrate the high point 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.
18_SAGRA DELLE CASTAGNE E DEL MARRON BUONO (CHESTNUT AND MARRON FESTIVAL)
2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays of October
Let's go up to the Apennines to taste typical chestnut-based 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. In the streets of the village you can buy other products of the forest and undergrowth as well as other handicrafts 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.
weekend di Ognissanti (30 ottobre-1 novembre)
Questa festa gastronomica è nata per celebrare la fine del raccolto della castagna e l’inizio della stagione invernale. Il termine Crastatone deriva dal verbo dialettale “crastare”, ovvero l’atto di tagliare la castagna prima di metterla sul fuoco, da qui la “crastata” (caldarrosta).
20_SAGRA DEL TOTANO
Capraia Isola LI
weekend di Ognissanti (30 ottobre-1 novembre)
La Sagra del Totano è un appuntamento imperdibile e dal 2000 offre agli appassionati e soprattutto velisti, l’occasione di assaggiare i Totani (così i capraiesi chiamano i calamari). L’appuntamento consiste di due eventi principali: la Gara di Pesca al Totano che prevede varie categorie di partecipanti – a terra e a mare - per barche a vela e a motore. La partenza delle imbarcazioni è un evento spettacolare. Altrettanto divertente e la pesatura dei totani pescati che viene effettuata al termine della gara sulla banchina del Porto. La Sagra organizzata dalla Pro Loco insieme a tutti i ristoranti isolani è l’apoteosi della degustazione del totano: lungo la banchina del porto si snodano il totano fritto, il riso con il totano, il cous-cous di totano, totano con le erbette, totano con le patate, lasagna di totano, crostoni di totano all’arrabbiata, arancini di totano, e ogni anno, ci sono variazioni al tema, fermo restando il totano.
21_MOSTRA MERCATO NAZIONALE DEL TARTUFO BIANCO
San Miniato PI
ultimi tre fine settimana di novembre
A novembre la città medievale di San Miniato (tra Empoli e Pisa) diventa la capitale italiana del Tartufo Bianco. Insieme al tartufo bianco si possono apprezzare le migliori eccellenze dell'agroalimentare italiano. Gli chef animano gli oltre due chilometri di laboratorio del gusto a cielo aperto più importante d'Italia, dove, i prodotti tipici incontrano gli oltre centomila visitatori da ogni parte d'Italia per conoscere le nuove tendenze della cucina e le nuove alleanze del gusto.
Un vero e proprio festival dei sapori dove buongustai e visitatori si ritrovano per apprezzare le eccellenze dell'enogastronomia. I tartufai con i loro cani campione si sfidamo nel cuore della Toscana, in Valdegola, in una terra magica e in un ambiente incontaminato, a partire dal 10 settembre, giorno dell'apertura della raccolta del Tartufo Bianco di San Miniato, per trovare nei boschi le preziose pepite e provare a battere il primato di Arturo Gallerini: dal 1954 il suo record resiste, da quando sulle colline di San Miniato trovò Il tartufo più grande del mondo. Pesava 2520 grammi.