Welcome to Toscana
|Nonne from Tuscany|
|Recipes from Toscana|
Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is the birthplace of Dante Alighieri, father of the Italian language. Florence, governed by the Medici family, the first bankers of Italy and patrons to the Arts - the testimony of which can be seen in the beautiful palaces that are today museums and which contain treasures ranging from Botticelli, to Michelangelo, to Raffaello. The beautiful Medicea Library, designed by Michelangelo, and filled with manuscripts of inestimable value. Florence and the “Lung’Arno” with the beautiful Ponte Vecchio and its gold shops.
But Toscana is not only Florence, it is Pisa and it is Piazza dei Miracoli, with the famous leaning tower; San Gimignano and its towers, all protected by UNESCO; Livorno, a port city with an historical area called “the small Venice” because of its canals, and with islands like Elba, where Napoleon was exiled, and Giglio, the island where the well-to-do spend their summers; Massa Carrara, where Michelangelo “shopped” for the marble he used for marvels like the David and the Pieta’; Siena and the world famous “Palio”; Lucca, and its austere and elegant buildings, but with a countryside full of olive trees that give the most famous olive oil in the world; and how can we forget to bring the children to Collodi, the home of Pinocchio?
Toscana, and its soft hills with fields lined by cypress trees and Mediterranean pines, with vineyards that give some of the best wines in Italy: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Montepulciano. Toscana and the Maremma region, where you can go for miles without seeing anything but wild horses, cattle and boars.
Toscana and the endless fields of fine vegetables and fruits. With all this richness, both artistic, cultural and agricultural, it is impossible not to find a great and varied cuisine.
Famous are the appetizers which include: crostini toscani, small slices of toasted bread with liver or giblet pate’; fresh cheeses flavoured with herbs; small “frittatine” (omelettes) made with seasonal vegetables and mushrooms, great cold meats made from the indigenous wild boars.
The fresh vegetables are the basis for the most traditional of dishes, the “minestre” which are thick soups the most famous of which are: the “Ribollita”, the “Pappa col Pomodoro” and “Fagioli all’Uccellino”.
It would be acme of foolishness to visit Toscana and not eat the roasts. The beef, chicken, duck, pigeon and pork, are perhaps the best in all of Italy, as they graze freely and not in closed breeding farms. The famous “Fiorentina”, a t-bone steak that must to be at least 2 lbs can only be truly experienced in Toscana.
The sweets most remembered are the Cantuccini, biscuits made with whole almonds and so hard that in order to eat them you must dunk them in “Vin Santo”; the “Panforte di Siena”, made from nuts, almonds, honey, candied fruit (calling it a fruitcake is an offence - it is pure ambrosia).
We could go on for days describing the wonders of Toscana, suffice it to say that it is the dream of many to visit or live in Toscana.