Italy Today

How Local Culture and Traditions Reinterpret SlowFood to Create Cittaslow, in Italy – part two

The second leg of this culinary trip to Italy bring us to San Miniato, in Tuscany

How Local Culture and Traditions Reinterpret SlowFood to Create Cittaslow, in Italy – part two

Claudia Astarita

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We have already explained when and how the concept of slow food was created and launched. Today, Italy is going beyond that, promoting the idea of "Cittaslow", an innovative way to combine slow food with the art of leisurely good living. Everybody knows that Italy is not only a beautiful country for its deep cultural and artistic background, but also a perfect destination for extraordinary enogastronomic experiences, especially when travelling to small towns.

The magazine International Living has recently highlighted four destinations that have recently embraced the "Cittaslow" style, making it interesting for us to understand why they did so. To be recognises as a "Cittaslow community", small cities need to prove their strong attachment to all details and traditions that have contributed to create their identity, agricultural practices included, and they also need to have less than 50,000 inhabitants.

Tuscany, Liguria, Molise, Umbria: Cittaslow are growing everywhere, and it's worth learning what you can find while exploring them. San Miniato, in Tuscany, is a tiny medieval city famous for white truffles. Walking through its small alleys is like travelling back in time. If the setting is from Middle Age, white truffles can bring tourist back to the Ancient Rome, where emperors used to treat this white delicacy as their favourite aphrodisiac.

Truffles today can be quite expensive. Their price depends on quality and abundance of the crop, but it can reach ?5.000 per kilo. There are many way to experience this white delicacy, and the most affordable option is definitely the one of taste is grated on a simple dish of pasta, in an omelette or on a few slices of beef carpaccio or even on a real steak. Chestnuts, wild mushrooms, wild asparagus, goats' cheese and artichokes should be also included in San Miniato's must tastes top ten. The ability to combine all these basic ingredients in thousands of different ways definitely qualify San Miniato for the Cittaslow club.

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