Don’t let the change in seasons as we roll out of summer and into autumn bring you down. In Tuscany
, as the leaves change color, some of the country’s best Italian food festivals take place. From September to November you can hop through the Tuscany countryside stopping off in its many beautiful towns for truffle fairs, wine and chestnut festivals and much, much more. Here’s our complete list of Florence food festivals to help guide the way.
1. Sagra della Pesca Regina
Location: Londa, Tuscany
When: Last weekend in August
This Tuscan festival celebrates the peach. Not just any old peach, but the Queen of peaches, the white peach. It is a specialty in the region
and has been grown locally for 50 years.
These peaches are hard to the touch marked by a greenish white skin streaked with red. They ripen towards the end of summer, between September and October, and carry a beautifully intense aroma. Although they make a great jam, locals in the area will tell you the best way to enjoy the Queen peach is to eat freshly picked from the branch.
Some years, the Florence food festival falls in mid-September; however, this year Londa throws the Festa della Pesca Regina, in August. Over the course of the day, experts assess the best box of Queen peaches and award the winner a prize. For those of us not participating in the competition, we can stuff ourselves with sweet fruit, browse market stalls (selling more than just peaches) and indulge in fantastic food products.
2. Boccaccesca Festival
Location: Certaldo, Tuscany
When: October 4 - 6
Certaldo is a small medieval town in Tuscany often overlooked by the hordes of tourists who flock to Florence. But, it holds bragging rights for two reasons. Reason 1: Cipolla di Certaldo, a sweet, purple onion. Reason 2: Giovanni Boccaccio, the famous 14th-century poet.
Certaldo’s history with onions dates back to the 12th century and holds such significance to the town that it is on their crest. In fact, the town’s motto is: “by nature, I am both strong and sweet, and I please those at work and those at rest.”
The Boccaccesca festival, which runs over the first week of the October, is an Italian food celebration at which in the center sits the town’s onion. Expect the onion to feature heavily in a lot of the dishes served over the course of the festival. And, hold out for the prize given to the cooking student who makes the best main dish using vegetable.
3. Festa dell’Uva
Location: Impruneta, Tuscany
When: September 20 - 22
Impruneta’s grape festival, the Festa dell’Uva, is less of a food festival and more of a wine festival. Taking place in the Chianti and beginning life in 1926 this “festival of the grape” is without a doubt the small Tuscan town’s main draw.
Over the course of the day, there is a parade and the townsfolk dressed in some stunning costumes. Because of the rivalries that exist between Impruneta’s different neighborhoods, invariably pranks and tricks are played. So keep your eyes peeled for any mischievous looking behavior.
The festival itself consists of stalls where you can sample the regions fantastic wines alongside Italian cheeses, meats, and other regional delicacies. So, while away an early autumn afternoon sipping superb wines til your cheeks are red. Sounds pretty great.
4. Olive Oil Fair
Location: Calenzano, Tuscany
When: November 10-11 & 17-18
If olive oil is your jam, then you’re going to want to check out the Calenzano Oil Fair. This municipality located 11 kilometers northwest of Florence, celebrates all things olive at the beginning of November.
Here, lining the Tuscan hills are endless rows of olive trees that produce some of Italy’s finest olive oil. So, if you love olive oil, this should sit high on your Florence food festival itinerary.
Over a few days, stalls sell the freshly pressed oil that you can, of course, sample over things like fresh, crunchy bread. If you find one you're particularly keen on, grab yourself a couple of bottles, or maybe even, a case.
5. Sagra della Bufala
Location: Florence (Piazza Santa Croce), Tuscany
When: September 21 - 22
Said to be the product of a kitchen accident, mozzarella was first made near Naples. However, in the days after its creation, because of its short shelf life, it very rarely left the region. As refrigeration and transport improved, mozzarella spread throughout the country. And, thank goodness it did. Because, every year, in Florence’s Piazza Santa Croce, they celebrate this delicious cheese with a great Florence food festival, the Sagra della Bufala.
Held towards the bottom end of October, this festival boasts all things mozzarella. So, stroll around the Piazza topped by one of Florence’s most beautiful churches and taste test your way through as much cheese as you can stomach.
6. Gelato Festival
Location: Florence (Piazzale Michelangelo), Tuscany
When: September 14 - 16 (2018), 2019 TBD
For those with a sweet tooth, tired of walking around Italian food festivals that cater to the savory, listen up, because this is the festival for you. Gelato is an authentic Italian food
and an ice cold, creamy confection that is delicious. Two birds, one stone.
This is a traveling festival, so if you miss it in Florence, not to worry. The Gelato Festival also makes appearances in Rome, Turin, and Milan.
Last year, over the 14th and 15th of September, the gelato festival celebrated the All-Star competition. Top artisanal gelato makers battled it out for the top spot. Okay, they don’t actually battle it out, but judges taste test their hard work and decide which creamy concoction reigns supreme.
Of course, while all this is going on you can bounce between stalls sampling til your heart’s content. The festival is world-renowned for its inventive flavors so keep an eye out for something unique. Or, keep it classic. No one can turn their nose up at chocolate or vanilla.
7. Barberino Tartufo Bianco e Nero
Location: Barberino di Mugello, Tuscany
When: Last weekend in October
The white truffle is the holy grail for the gourmet. And, guess what? Florence is littered with them. Now, if you want to go out and find them yourself, then you’re going to need a specially trained dog and some boots. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea though, just head on down to one of the many truffle fairs the region throws throughout the year. Why not start with Barberino's truffle fair?
This charming little town, a little way up from Florence, comes to life over the last week of October to celebrate the region’s delicacy. For an entire weekend, the streets are lined with market stalls dedicated to both the white and black fungi. The white truffle can fetch between €500-600 per 100 grams, so don’t expect to be walking off with a wheelbarrow’s worth. Unless, you’ve got the dough, of course.
Bring the kids; there are plenty of activities for them too. The best of which is the truffle hunting demonstrations which involve beautiful, cuddly dogs.
8. Marradi Chestnut Festival
Location: Marradi, Tuscany
When: October 8, 15, 22 and 29
As an Italian food fest, the chestnut festival in Marradi may not seem like anything special. But, don’t judge too quickly. The chestnut gives great cause for celebration. In the winter they are roasted, and throughout the year they are served in fantastic pasta dishes. So, make your way to this Tuscan town for a Florence food festival that you're sure to fall in love with.
Every Monday throughout the month of October Marradi comes together for one of the regions best Italian food celebrations centered on the chestnut. What’s so great about this festival is realizing just how diverse an ingredient the chestnut can be. Over the course of the festival, stalls set up shop and sell tons of chestnut based products, from flour to cakes and everything in between.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the nut, not to worry. The chestnut festival brings to the fore loads of other fantastic Italian delicacies.
9. Chianti Classico
Location: Greve in Chianti, Tuscany
When: September 5 - 8
Wine has been produced in the Chianti region for over 2000 years
, and the area makes some of the best in the world. So, it makes sense that Greve in Chianti celebrates the success of their wines
with a three-day wine festival.
Hundreds of wine producers from the surrounding Tuscan hills descend on this unassuming town to promote their product. So, grab yourself a glass, pay the small admission fee, and you can sip (or gulp) your way through 8 glasses of wine. Each day of the festival is an all-day affair, kicking off at 11 am and running through until 8.00 pm. Space things out, and stop in at the other stalls to nibble on local cheese, meats, and olives.
Location: Montaione, Tuscany
When: October 21, 28 and 29
More truffles. But, really who could ever get enough of them.
Montaione is a hidden gem in the Tuscan countryside. Less than an hour by car from Florence
, the town is also within shouting distance of San Gimignano and Volterra. But, at the end of October, Montaione takes center stage for its fantastic truffle fair
Initially, Montaione’s truffle fair began life as a small, fairly rural affair. Local farmers and producers would use the town’s squares to sell their cheeses, honeys, olive oils, meats and, of course, truffles. However, over the years it has grown in both and is now a very important market exhibition. This means that the quality of products is second to none.
11. Steak and Porcini Festival
Location: Certaldo, Tuscany
When: Every weekend in October
The Tuscan hills are rich with porcini mushrooms. Combine them with steak, and you have a flavor combo that’s out of this world.
Running every weekend until the first week of November, the Certaldo Steak and Porcini festival believes in the coupling together of two simple, but beautiful ingredients. Over the course of the festival, there are lunches and dinners that you can join. Of course, there are stalls where you can sample and buy local products and produce.
There you have it 11 of the best Italian food festivals for you to explore and enjoy. Check out the map to see the locations.
Have you been to any of them before? Let us know in the comments.
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