“First we eat, then we do everything else.”
Italian people are passionate about the food culture and they love to explain the combinations and sequences of the Italian flavors to the curious foreigners! Italian recipes represent the authenticity and genuineness of our regions. Traditional food plays an important role by providing a spiritual and deep connection to the land. When we taste local food, we can deeply know the real soul of a place because food is strictly related to the history of a country. During my trip along the Via Francigena, I had the “amazing” chance to become fat by tasting several Tuscan dishes in traditional and welcoming restaurants.
In Monteriggioni there is a typical shop called “La biottega dei sapori” where you can have the opportunity to buy the specialties of Tuscan cuisine made with zero km food. It is ideal for people who support the concepts of sustainability by buying local and genuine products. This is a clever choice to discover a place and respect our environment.
In San Gimignano there is a lovely and vintage restaurant: “Locanda Sant’Agostino”. It is located in a quiet square dominated by the church of the same name and you can stop here to taste the ancient flavors and aromas of a world-famous cuisine along your pilgrimage on the Via Francigena. The owner, Genziana Pompei, is a very kind and nice woman and the atmosphere of this place is pleasant. The panna cotta with saffron was so good!!!!
In Montecatini you can enjoy your lunch or dinner at “Hotel and Restaurant La Torretta”. This family-run hotel offers an ideal base for exploring the town. Situated in a panoramic area, close to the city’s parks, spa establishments and sports facilities, the restaurant serves home-like cuisine. Mister Simoncini, the owner, is a good storyteller and there is an amazing swimming pool in front of the restaurant.
In Siena there is a beautiful place called “Orto De’ Pecci” where you can spend your day in the middle of nature. It is a large green area just a few hundred metres from Piazza del Campo and it is ideal for people who want to relax and for those who love “social tourism”. In fact, the spaces and activities are managed by a Social Cooperative called “La Proposta” which was established in 1983. The aim of the Cooperative is to include disadvantaged people who come from situations of psychiatric difficulty and other forms of social marginalisation in its production activities. In this place, you can find a restaurant and a bar. Here you can have a break by tasting typical and homemade food and wine.
During this alimentary marathon I tasted for the first time several typical Tuscan courses; my favorite’s ones are:
• ribollita: soup made with bread and vegetables (such as carrots, beans, cabbage and onion);
• pici: traditional thick, hand-rolled pasta eaten with a variety of sauces;
• pappa col pomodoro: a tomato bread soup.
Finally, I suggest you to follow the Facebook page of “enjoysiena” and “terredisiena” where you can read about interesting initiatives along the Via Francigena. There are 19 restaurants associated to #sienafrancigena where you can taste traditional food and wine. Moreover, if you would like to discover Siena as a real pilgrim, every Sunday from June to November 2014, you can take part in a urban trekking from Porta Camollia to Porta Romana and finish your tour with a typical “pilgrim’s bundle” made with traditional products.
Here, two useful websites: www.terredisiena.it/www.comune.siena.it
What are you waiting for?
Let’s get know Tuscany through traditional food!!!
Written by Valentina Meloni