WALKING THROUGH TUSCANY. Liceo Scientifico “Il Pontormo” Empoli (FI) Class 3°F 2006-2007 Supervision by Mr Nelusco Masi . Welcome to Tuscany. Tuscany is a region of Italy wetted by “Mar Tirreno”.
Liceo Scientifico “Il Pontormo” Empoli (FI) Class 3°F 2006-2007
Supervision by Mr Nelusco Masi
Tuscany is a region of Italy wetted by “Mar Tirreno”.
Tuscany includes territorial zones as Mugello, Maremma, Garfagnana, Valdarno, Montagna Pistoiese, Aretino, Val d’Orcia, ChiantiandVal d’Elsa.
Tuscany is famous for its writers, as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarca, and its painters, as Giotto; but is also famous for its territory and Art Towns…
Florence landscape is varied: the province comprises a part of Apennines, Mugello and Valdarno valleys and Chianti hills; in the North of Florence it rises Fiesole, a town built by the Etruscans and it is considered the “mother” of Florence.
Siena, chief town of one of the provinces of Tuscany, rises in the heart of the widest hilly area complex, the basins of Elsa river, an affluent of Arno, and the Arbia torrent, which throws into Ombrone river. The landscape, rich of red brick holdings is so characteristic to give the name to the colour “earth of Siena”
Pisa’s magic is perceived from a
distance at the sight of the
unmistakable symbols of the city: the Cathedral, the leaning tower and the Baptistery, which summarize the soul and the myth of the city. Pisa province includes the pisan plain, the southern side of Pisan Mount and a vast hilly area. The plain zone is very probably the most characteristic. It stretches considerably towards the inland and towards the sea. Once marsh infested and malarial; today this ground is rich and fertile. Some centuries ago the Arno flowed into the sea with vast lagoons and constituted a kind of gulf; with the passing of time the hydrogeological appearance of the territory has radically changed, and this explains Pisa history, too: once active port and Seafaring Republic, today plain town. Because of the progressive disappearing of the beach, the once flourishing port, in fact, was closed little by little. In Larderello zone we find a territory characterized especially by the phenomenon of Soffioni Boraciferi (boric acid fumaroles). These are violent emissions of steam at high temperature and pressure from the soil crevices or from artificial perforations.
Lucca is near a very beautiful hilly landscape which made it one of the most suggestive part of Tuscany. Lucca countryside is made of a rich vegetation in which the vine is the most common. There are ubiquitous noble country houses and farms built in the sixteenth and seventieth century.
The best part of the year to visit this city is between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, when the festivities of the city focus the most typical aspects of Lucca landscape.
Arezzo rises in an ample basin on a small hill about 250m; it dominates good part of the province. The landscape of Arezzo is occupied by mountains and hills crossed by the river Arno. Various shed crops can be noticed on the whole aretina province, as pastures and woods. Besides the great valleys, the cultivations are : cereals, forages, potatoes, olives, grape.
Baracchi Eleonora Parigi Laura
Barbetta Marco Perrone Sandra
Braghero Mattia Petrilli Alberto
Bruni Alice Poggianti Andrea
Cinturino Gabriele Ruggeri Francesca
Cirillo Giuditta Salvadori Eleonora
Comunale Chiara Tinti Elena
Gori Valentina With the collaboration of:
Mastrandrea Simona Mrs Bruscella Grazia
Mazzoncini Francesco Mrs Manetti Daniela
Melai Simone Ms Merlino Laura
Melani Jacopo Sister Bomboni Maria Laura
Nencioni India Mrs Torcini Giuliana
Niccolini Elisa Mr Urbani Renato
If we prepare a good sauce with chicken’s liver and we spread it on a toasted slice of bread (dipped in a soup), we have a typical Tuscan crouton, that was used by old farmers. Nowadays “Crostini di fegatini” is consumed as hors-d’oeuvre tray and you can find them in every typical Tuscan trattorias.
INGREDIENTS: Chicken’s liver, Tuscan bread, half a onion, salt, pepper, fillet of anchovy, a spoonful of capers, olive oil.
Is one of the simplest things in the world to make, and can be very satisfying if you have good extravirgin olive oil. You need a slice of Tuscan bread. Toast it over the coals if possible (though a toaster will do fine) gently rub it with a cut clove of garlic (don’t overwhelm with the oil), then drizzle it with good olive oil, plus salt and pepper.
Finely chop the onion, leek carrot, and celery and fry inoil in a large earthenware pan. Add salt, the peeled and chopped tomatoes, sage and basil and cook, adding water until it becomes smooth and creamy, neither too thick nor too runny. The soup should be served lukewarm, with olive oil drizzled on top. The flavour can be pepped up with a dash of chili pepper. The forerunner of this dish was called “Pan Unto” or “Pan cotto” and it contained no vegetables at all. Indeed the original recipe was without tomatoes, as it dates since before the discovery of America and their arrival in Europe. The ingredients were therefore simple and this tasty, mushy mixture was often used to wean babies.
INGREDIENTS: one onion, one leek, one carrot, extravirgin olive oil, basil, salt, chili pepper, unsalted hard bread, tomatoes.
A popular saying affirm beans are the poor’s meat, maybe just for this they were used abundantly in rustic recipes. The beans soup was a typical dish in winter season when, in the sideboard, fresh products started to lack and so dried legumes could replace them, and they integrated nourishment with their nourishing propriety.
INGREDIENTS Short pasta or broken “tagliatelle”, cannellini beans, tomatoes, pork’s fat, a clove of garlic, chilly pepper, olive oil, salt.
It’s a dish composed of slices of wet bread, wringed and crumbled, mixed with fresh tomatoes, some basil leaves and little onion slices.
These ingredients were easily found at the peasants’ table and allowed them to get satisfied with taste and a very little expense.
INGREDIENTS: tuscan baked bread, ripe and firm tomatoes, basil, a big onion, olive oil, red vinegar, salt and pepper.
If Tuscany is in the most well-known Italian Regions, “Chianti” is the most characteristic land in Tuscany. Its name was born from ”Clante”, that is to say from the name of the families of Etruscan origin that had populated this area, and we can find it in historical documents since the end of 1200. To decide exactly the borders of the land named Chianti has never been easy, but its landscape with woods, olive-yards, vine-yards, cypresses, and country stone buildings show this so characteristic area that it is useless to trace its borders. When we talk of Chianti people always confuse the place with the name of the most famous Italian Wine, nevertheless Chianti isn’t only wine. The culture, the history, the tradition that we can find here do, of this land, a unique concentrationof harmony and equilibrium that aren’t in other parts of the world.
Val d’Elsa is placed in the heart of Tuscany, in an extremely strategic location, near Siena, Firenze and Volterra, on the Francigena way.
Today it is a place for visiting its particular natural beauties. All towns in Val d’Elsa are reunited in an organization that is called “Circondario Empolese-Val d’Elsa”. The most important towns are Empoli, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Certaldoand Vinci.
The origins of the town are roman, the legend tells a small village was founded by two roman brothers, escaped because they had been accomplices in Catilina plot. The two brothers called the town Silvia. The name was changed by a modenese bishop, lived during the Medieval times. According to the legend, he appeared in front of the walls of the town during a barbaric assault. He saved the town by the enemies with a miracle. The people of the town, to thank him changed the name with the name of the Holy Saint. San Gimignano is on a hill, with its 13 towers of old nobles of Florence.
On the top of a green hill of olive groves near Siena, the 14 giants of the Medieval town of Monteriggioni lies. Monteriggioni is the senese door of Val d’Elsa.
The name of this place derives from the Latin word: “vincus” that means “wicker”. The small village was born during the Medieval times around an ancient castle built by Conti Guidi. In this town Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452. He drew the famous “Gioconda”.
For a long time Empoli has remained a centre with an agricultural and merchant economy. During the after war it became the centre of glass industry and of clothes factories of all Tuscany. We can visit the Ghibellino palace, Farinata degli Uberti square, called also Lions square, Victory square, the S.Andrea cathedral and the native house of Pontormo, a famous mannerist painter who was born in Empoli in 1494.
The origins of Certaldo, as many small villages of Tuscany, are roman-Etruscan. The name of the town derives from the Latin word “cerrus” that means “the high ground covered by turkey oaks”. The Medieval small village has remained intact. We can visit the Palazzo del Pretorio, the native house of Boccaccio, writer of the “Decamerone” and the beautiful churches as SS.Jacopo and Filippo.
In Signoria square it is recalled a football match of 1532, defiantly against Carlo V’s troops that were besieging the town. The tournament is preceded by a walk in historical procession in costumes of that period.
Florence offers the widest regional gastronomic tradition. Fried food is particularly important, for example: artichoke, courgettes, pig livers, hare “pappardelle” “kind of pasta), tomato pop, tripe, “lampredotto”.
We can’t forget Ribollita, a special dish which is cooked in all Tuscany, even if with little variants.
About sweets: “cenci”, “frittelle”, “schiacciata fiorentina” are well-known and very estimated.
Put in a pot: 6 spoons of olive oil and onion, celery, carrot, finely cut, make them fried a little and then add the thyme. Carry on cooking for 10 minutes, and then add the black cabbage; clean and cut beans and then put them in two liters of water. Salt it and leave them cooking for two hours. The day after take a crock and anther the slices of bread and the soup with some slices of onion on it. Put the crook into the oven until the onion becomes yellow.
Ingredients for 4 people:
2 black cabbages; 200g of Tuscan dry beans; 1 celery stalk; 2 onions; 1 carrot; 1 thyme twinge; olive oil; tuscan bread; salt and pepper.
Siena cuisine proposes all regional plates from Tuscany but with an emphasized use of garlic and aromatic herbs.
Among the local specialities we have omelette, spaghetti made by hand and flavoured with meat gravy; among the meat plates, as first course, the “pappardelle” on gravy of hare and, as second course the grilled steak.
Recipes of Siena are based on 4 or 5 essential elements. Some of the aliments that constitute the cuisine of Siena are: olive oil, used a lot in every day dishes, pecorino of “crete senesi”, hard corn (with this we make an excellent flour) and typical products of Siena are the truffle of S.Giovanni d’Asso and of Asciano, sausages and meats, made from breeding of “chianina” cows. A part of the restricted zone where it is produced classic Chianti is the province of Siena; the wine obtained from most vineyards of that zone, instead, is called Chianti of “ Colli Senesi”. Other D.O.C. wines of the province are Val d’Arbia, Vernaccia of S.Gimignano, Nobile of Montepulciano, as well as Brunello of Montalcino, a wine so well-known and precious that is quoted on the Stock Exchange.
Traditional senese Christmas cake, owes its name to the shape of the pasta, a lot nourishing and of long duration. Known since the Middle Ages it is rich of dried and candied fruit, cinnamon and cloves, valuable spices that give the characteristic rich aroma to this speciality. The Panforte is the typical Italian cake manufactured at Siena following ancient recipes.
Scald the almonds and the kernels of walnut, then crush, prepare and put them in oven. Place also the hazel nuts, after they’ve been cooked, put everything in a sieve: scald them and remove the scorched little skin, when they’re cleaned up, grind them. Pour in a bowl. Cut into little bits the candied fruit and the figs, then blend them to fruit. Spread with cocoa, spices and cinnamon: blend the all. Pour the honey in a not tinned container of branch, join 175g of icing sugar. Put the panforte in oven until it will form a hard little ball, take away it and blend fruit. Cover with wafers a stamp with open edge; pouring the compound. Put the panforte in oven for approximately 30 minutes.
The pisan cuisine extends all its particularity in the name of its typical plates: the soup of white beans of Saint Michele, the bibs of fish, the soup of ranocchi and the soup of rice with the clams, the eels “in ginocchioni”, the CEE to “the pisan”. Mallegato, the cake of ceci, crushed and the buzzers, cakes with “bischeri”. WINES: the Chianti of the vineyards of the province of Pisa have the nomination “Chianti Pisan Hills”. From the hills of Pisa it comes also the White Pisan of Saint Torpè (also in the types Vinsanto and amiable Saint Vin made with withered grape) and the Scudano Mount (white, red, vinsanto).
The Lucchesia cuisine distinguishesitself for the almost total absence of greases of seasoning of animal origin. The alimentary traditions list a series of soups from that of slim, to the “infarinata” or to the “garmugia”. In the traditional ”lucchese” cuisine appears the “farro2, a kind of rice, dish preferred from the Romans; this was a very pleasant food on the tables of the old “lucchesi” used above all to make the soup and ground for the flour of “Farro”. Also the flour in lowland. Important product of Lucca is the oil, definite the most famous oil for the fineness and it has big fame in the foreign countries. The honey, past directly from the beehive to the table, until the antiquity was considered above all a remedy for varied affections. In autumn for a long time “lucchesi” have gone to pick up mushrooms, strawberries and raspberries, currant, “spina2 grape and chestnuts.
Produces of the underwood Especially in Garfagnana it is so diffused the harvest of blueberries, which makes a suitable flour, but in the valley of Serchio there are other products of the wood as strawberries, raspberries and mushrooms among which the Boletus is famous.
Milk and MeatIn the green Garfagnana It grazes a particular kind of cow called Garfagnina, which once was used for the production of milk and meat and to work; now it is regarded as a genetic estate which is dying out. From the farms of Garfagnana they are chosen and commercialized in all Tuscany.
Spelt Spelt is a very ancient cereal that was one of the favourites of Roman people who used it to feed their army. In Garfagnana it is still milled in ancient mills and regularly used to prepare a very good soup and an inimitable spicy cake.
Tuscan Cigars Still now the manufacture of Lucca produces traditional cigars. These are handmade and this work represents an estate on hand capability.
Wine The tradition of wine, especially the red one, is very ancient and is testified by many documents of more than 1000 years ago in which it is written that in the ninth century: “the slopes of Lucca were completely covered of vines”. The species of wine are Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Trebbiano Toscano and Fermentino.
In salt water put the beans to cook with sage, onion and rind. Apart prepare a lightly-fried onion with carrots, celery and tomatoes, cinnamon, salt and pepper. When the beans are cooked, chop them in the mixer and put them again on the fire with the baking water in one large pot; when it comes to the boiling point, add the spelt previously softened for an hour, and the lightly-fried onions. Cook for an hour. Serve lukewarm with a pinch of pepper and little oil.
Spelt 500g, beans 500g, 1 piece of rind, 2 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 1 onion, 1 twig of sage, 1 piece of cinnamon, 5 cloves of garlic, tomatoes 500g, olive oil, salt and pepper.
There are a lot of manifestations in Arezzo and the cultural manifestations are the most important. The leader is the
“Giostra del Saracino”, an ancient tournament that inflames the Arezzo citizens’ heart and that attracts tourists in all months; the Madonna of consolation festivity, S.Donato the fair of September and in August, in little villages, for example the village festival of “chianina” frog, the village festival of the maize-cob, the village festival of the porcino mushroom, the village festival of the home-made cake, the village festival of the polenta, the village festival of chestnuts.
Giostra del Saracino
Giostra del Saracino: this is the most important manifestation for Arezzo citizens and it recalls the “crusades”. The protagonists are four quarters: Porta crucifera, porta sant’Andrea, porta san loretino, porta santo spirito. It takes place in Piazza Grande, where the jokers, in turn, gallop against a puppet impugning a lance against the Saracino.
Arezzo has a big alimentary tradition: wine, oil, Val di Chiana meat, salami and cereals are the basis of a culinary history already discovered by Etruscans and Romans; then there are, on the Arezzo hills; many other minor and unknown specialities that have risked nearly the extinction because of the recent process of industrialization of the country. In the last ten years therefore Arezzo cuisine has undergone some transformations preserving, however, its typical products still today as the base of their recipes. Fifty years ago, the feeding rotated around “Val di Chiana” meat and the product of the land as oil and wine. It was customary, very often, the duck or “nana”, as they say in the zone, that symbolized and marked (as now) the typical products of Arezzo zone. Tomatoes, onions, peaches, apples were much used and mostly chestnuts and their flour that was used to make many cakes. In conclusion, the ancient alimentary traditions of other Tuscan provinces.
There are many Typical Products…
Preparation : You knead in a bowl the flour sifted with salt, 2-3 spoons of oil and cold water sufficient to obtain a glued compound that you will leave to rest for half an hour. Meanwhile you fade the laces of rosemary in a frying pan with 3-4 spoons of oil. You pour the compound in a baking tin at oven wide and low (the “balding at the most can be a finger thick) You strew it with pined and you sprinkle it with perfumed oil and rosemary.
500g flour of chestnut and a pinch of salt, pine kernels, rosemary, olive oil.
Wine and Oil
The “pappardelle” of Arezzo, the bread soup with the tomatoes, the truffle pheasant are only examples of typical dishes of Arezzo. We must remember also the cabbage soup, the beans in flask, the stuffed artichokes of Arezzo, the roast lamb on the spit, the stewed (called “scottiglia”, the duck of Arezzo, and so on.
The most famous wine of Arezzo is the Chianti, with the ruby-red colour, very good to combine with strong flavours of typical meals of the place. Made with white grapes is instead the Vinsanto, associated with the hand-made biscuits. About the oil, we remember only the Tuscany extravirgin olive oil.