Tuscany is so famed for its food and wine that you can almost taste the flavors just by saying the name. So it’s no surprise that they love to celebrate every fruit and vegetable, meat and fish that comes into season.
When you’re traveling around Tuscany watch for signs advertising a Festa or a Sagra—a festival or a fair. Very often they’re food or wine-based and you’ll be in for a treat. The main food and wine festival season begins in April or May, and reaches a peak around October with mushrooms, chestnuts, chocolate, and truffles.
Here are a few of the best:
During late May in the city itself, this is a celebration of Chianti Rufina wines, the district from where many of the best known and most exported northern Italian wines are produced. Wine bars and restaurants offer tastings and special menus and the whole thing culminates in a concert at the Pergola Theater.
Sagra delle Lepre, Selvatelle, near Pisa
This is a celebration of hare: potted, roasted, made into sauce for pasta. Held during May they offer some alternative to eating hare by also serving steak and pork. This is not a festival for the vegetarians.
Mostra del Chianti, Montespertoli
What would Tuscany be without its wines and the area of Montespertoli holds a wine festival in late May–early June each year. Local wine producers come to town and you can taste wines paired with the local cuisine.
Sagra del Pecorino, San Godenzo
In this small town near Florence, on the first Sunday of July, they celebrate the local goat’s cheese with a food fair in the town square. Shepherds from the whole region gather to give thanks and be thanked for the exceptionally fine cheeses they produce.
Sagra dell’Anguilla, Orbetello
This coastal town loves its eels and they fish for them all year round in the abundant waters of the lagoon. They’re best prepared smoked using a recipe dating from the 16th century, but they also fry, marinate and stuff them. In early August they hold a festival dedicated to the slippery fish.
Sagra del Cinghiale, Palazzuolo sul Senio
In August in Tuscany in the small village near Florence called Palazzuolo sul Senio they celebrate that traditional meat, wild boar.
Sagra del Tartufo Bianco, San Miniato
October and November is when the white truffles famed in northern Italy are harvested. In San Miniato there is a truffle fair on the second, third and fourth weekends in November with food and craft stalls, entertainment and truffles on every menu in town.
There are also truffle fairs in San Giovanni d’Asso near Siena, during the second and third weekends of November and the town has a truffle museum which is open on weekends. Volterra holds its own white truffle fair in late October and early November.