Artistic places near Gargonza Castle

borghi e luoghi d'arte da visitare in Toscana

Are you planning a weekend getaway in the tranquility of the Tuscan countryside?
A weekend getaway could be the perfect opportunity to visit the magnificent artistic sites that Italy and Tuscany have to offer. 

Here is our selection of artistic sites that you can find in the surroundings of Gargonza Castle.

Monte Oliveto Maggiore Abbey

The Benedictine abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore is located in Chiusure di Asciano, south of Siena, immersed in the greenery of the woods and the ochre yellow of the Sienese clays. Here, today as in the past, peace and tranquility reign.

It was founded seven centuries ago by Saint Bernard Tolomei, a Sienese nobleman, together with Patrizio Patrizi and Ambrogio Piccolomini. From illustrious families of the city, the abbey rises in the “Desert of Accona” to allow them to live according to the Rule of Saint Benedict.

The Renaissance village of Monte San Savino

Monte San Savino is a village with a fairytale charm, characterized by the castle tower and its charming historic center. The town owes its fame to the Renaissance sculptor Andrea Contucci, known as “Il Sansovino“, and to Pope Julius III, born here. Throughout its history, Monte San Savino has been contested between Florence, Perugia, and Siena.

What to visit in the village of Monte San Savino? Today, the village welcomes visitors with its well-preserved center. It develops along the main street, Corso Sangallo, where the main historical buildings are located. Among these, the Palazzo Di Monte (or Palazzo Del Monte), which houses the town hall. Built in the early 16th century at the behest of Antonio Di Monte, it was designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, who created the facade and the layout.

The palace is a perfect example of Renaissance elegance, with a large Italian-style hanging garden, irrigated by the waters of a 16th-century underground cistern. A visit to the “Cisternone”, as it is called by the locals, is not to be missed: a 400 square meter work, the second largest in Tuscany, was recently restored and open to the public free of charge. Also not to be missed are the Palazzo Pretorio with its Civic Tower and the famous Logge dei Mercanti, the church of Sant’Agostino with the splendid Assumption by Giorgio Vasari, and the church of Santa Chiara, which houses precious glazed terracotta altarpieces by Andrea Sansovino and the Della Robbia. The Cassero, a 14th-century fortress, dominates the village.

Not far from the historic center, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Vertighe, already documented in the 11th century, preserves a table by Margarito and Ristoro d’Arezzo. Do not miss a walk in the Jewish quarter and a visit to the Synagogue of Monte San Savino, which housed a flourishing Jewish community until the end of the 18th century. Finally, you cannot leave Monte San Savino without tasting the famous porchetta, a local gastronomic specialty celebrated since 1964 with a festival that takes place on the second weekend of September.

The medieval village of Lucignano

Lucignano, known as “The Pearl of the Valdichiana“, is a charming village in southern Tuscany that represents one of the most extraordinary examples of medieval urban planning. This village was perfectly preserved over time thanks to its characteristic elliptical shape with concentric road rings. Located in a strategic position on the top of a hill overlooking the Valdichiana, Lucignano has played a crucial role in controlling the historical route between Siena and Arezzo, making it of great strategic importance since ancient times.

This position made Lucignano a medieval castle contested by the surrounding territories for centuries. Between the 13th and 16th centuries, the village underwent continuous changes in jurisdiction between Siena, Arezzo, Florence, and Perugia. The link with Siena had the most significant influence on the urban and architectural development of the historic center.

Today, Lucignano retains the charm of the ancient village intact, offering a peaceful and serene atmosphere. The local agricultural and artisan tradition offers visitors a variety of typical products: from fine extra virgin olive oil to honey, refined ceramics to Chianina, and Cinta Senese meat to salami.

h2 Cortona: the village to discover in a weekend

The small town of Cortona, located south of Arezzo, on the border with Umbria, is a historical and cultural gem of Tuscany. Between the 7th and 8th centuries, it became an important base for the Etruscans, thanks to its strategic position among the hills. Rich in fortresses, abbeys, ancient churches, and historic villas, Cortona offers breathtaking views and lush nature.

8 Reasons to Visit Castello di Gargonza this Summer

reasons to visit Gargonza Castle during summer season

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of Tuscany, Castello di Gargonza is a captivating medieval fortress that invites you to step back in time and immerse yourself in its rich history and enchanting atmosphere.

As summer approaches, here are many compelling reasons why Castello di Gargonza should be at the top of your vacation itinerary:

  1. A Journey Through Time

Embark on a fascinating journey through centuries of history as you explore the castle’s ancient walls, towers, and courtyards. Imagine the knights, nobles, and artisans who once inhabited these spaces, leaving their indelible mark on the castle’s soul.

  1. A Haven in the Heart of Nature

Immerse yourself in nature: surround yourself with the breathtaking beauty of the Tuscan countryside as you wander through the castle’s vast grounds. Stroll through vineyards, olive groves, and lush forests, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the serenity of nature.

  1. An Authentic Tuscan Experience

Live the authentic Tuscan culture: immerse yourself in the heart of Tuscan culture and traditions at Castello di Gargonza. Participate in local festivals, demonstrations, and festivals that showcase the region’s rich heritage, from winemaking and extra virgin olive oil production to traditional crafts and local cuisine.

  1. Unveiling the Culinary Culture of the Region

Indulge in delectable culinary delights: tantalize your taste buds with the flavors of Tuscany at the castle’s renowned restaurant. Savor dishes prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, accompanied by fine Tuscan wines, all while enjoying breathtaking views of the Chianti countryside.

  1. Discovering Authentic Flavors

Castello di Gargonza’s cuisine is an unmissable experience for food lovers. The dishes, prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients, reinterpret traditional Tuscan recipes in a modern and refined way. You can savor authentic flavors, such as pasta with Chianina ragù, Florentine steak, or cantucci with Vin Santo, accompanied by a selection of the finest Tuscan wines.

  1. A Stay Dedicated to Relaxation and Wellness

Castello di Gargonza is the ideal place for those who want to relax and rejuvenate. The historic residence offers a perfect retreat to escape the summer heat. In addition, you can go horseback riding, play tennis, or simply enjoy the peace and tranquility of the surroundings.

  1. Unique Experiences

Castello di Gargonza also organizes special activities and events to make your stay even more memorable. You can participate in cooking classes, wine tastings, classical music concerts, or falconry shows. In addition, the castle is an ideal venue for weddings, corporate events, and private parties.

  1. Charming Hospitality

Castello di Gargonza offers various accommodation options to suit all needs. You can choose from elegant rooms inside the castle, apartments in the outbuildings, or villas immersed in the Tuscan countryside.

  1. An Unforgettable Experience

Castello di Gargonza is more than just a castle; it is a magical place where history, nature, culture, and tradition intertwine to create an unforgettable experience. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Castello di Gargonza has something to offer everyone.

And if that’s not enough, here are more reasons why Castello di Gargonza should be at the top of your vacation itinerary:

  • Strategic location: the castle is located in a strategic position, close to some of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany, such as Arezzo, Siena, and Florence.
  • Dream weddings: the castle is a dream location to celebrate an unforgettable wedding.
  • Corporate events: the castle offers elegant and equipped spaces to organize successful corporate events.

The charm of the Valdarno: a territory to discover

i 10 luoghi imperdibili in Valdarno

The Valdarno is a geographical area of Tuscany that stretches between the Province of Arezzo and the Metropolitan City of Florence. This valley, traversed by the Arno River, is rich in history, culture, and picturesque landscapes.

Here are 10 must-visit places.

1. Gargonza Castle

Let’s start by exploring our characteristic village and castle, where you can spend an unforgettable stay. Gargonza is indeed a perfectly preserved medieval castle, located on a panoramic hill that offers guided tours, wine tastings, and typical product tastings, as well as events and weddings.

2. Vallombrosa Abbey

A millennium-old abbey immersed in a forest of firs, an important place of worship and spirituality that houses a library with precious ancient manuscripts. Founded in the 12th century, this abbey is nestled in the lush nature of the Casentino Forests National Park. In addition to the beauty of the building itself, visitors can enjoy wonderful walks in the surroundings and admire the tranquility of the place.

3. Santa Maria in Alpe Nature Reserve

An oasis of peace and unspoiled nature, ideal for walks, trekking, and picnics. The reserve is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

4. The city of Arezzo

Arezzo: a city rich in history and art, with a well-preserved medieval old town. Don’t miss the Santa Maria Parish, the Cathedral, and the Vasari House.

5. Ponticino

A medieval village located on the Arno River, famous for its Romanesque bridge and artisan shops. Ponticino is the ideal place for a stroll and to enjoy typical Tuscan cuisine.

6. The Masaccio Museum

Located in Arezzo, this museum houses works of art by the famous Renaissance painter Masaccio, who was originally from the Valdarno region. It is an ideal place for art lovers who want to learn more about the work of this important Renaissance master.

7. San Pietro a Gropina Parish Church

This Romanesque parish church is located near Loro Ciuffenna and represents one of the finest examples of medieval religious architecture in the area. The interior of the church is adorned with frescoes of great historical and artistic value.

8. The characteristic village of Loro Ciuffenna

Imagine a village where time seems to have stopped when water energy was still used. Here, at the foot of the Pratomagno, the Ciuffenna river still turns the blades of a mill built on a boulder. It is one of the oldest functioning water mills in Tuscany, and the only one remaining of the 14 mills along the river. Dating back to the year 1000, it is still used for the production of wheat, corn, and chestnut flours.

Loro Ciuffenna – one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy” – revolves around this mill and the civic tower whose clock has marked the days of the locals for centuries. A stone Romanesque bridge, called the old bridge, connects the two banks of the river. A pleasant walk can be taken along the streets and walkways that run alongside the flowing water, with a familiar atmosphere in this small rural center surrounded by woods.

In summer, the particularly cool river water is a destination for many seeking relief from the heat.

9. The Pratomagno Park

This mountainous massif offers spectacular panoramic views of the Valdarno and the surrounding mountains. It is the ideal place for hiking and trekking enthusiasts, with a network of trails that wind through forests, alpine meadows, and ancient villages.

10. The cliffs of the Valdarno

le balze del Valdarno come in Arizona

Not everyone knows it, but there is a part of Tuscany that seems twinned with Arizona. In the upper Valdarno (particularly in the municipality of Reggello), there are rocky peaks, pinnacles that can reach heights of 100 meters, and deep gorges: the clayey rock formations known as the Cliffs of the Valdarno create unusual and fascinating views that you would expect to see on a journey to discover the Grand Canyon in the American parks.

Also called “smotte,” the cliffs in this area are a characteristic geotope and represent a natural spectacle that amazes anyone who witnesses it: Leonardo da Vinci was so fascinated by them that he captured the unique aspects of this landscape and used them as a backdrop for his most famous work, the Mona Lisa.

The Cliffs not only provide a spectacular scenic backdrop but also a habitat of unique naturalistic value protected by the Locally Protected Natural Area.

The Zolfina stream trail is one of the hiking trails that allows you to better admire the spectacle of the Cliffs. It is an easy loop route that starts and ends in one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, Castelfranco di Sopra, and takes its name from a Zolfine water source touched by the route. The valley has the typical tones of the Tuscan countryside, with orchards and vineyards. Midway through the route, you will encounter a road that leads to the small and delightful hilltop village of Piantravigne.

In addition to these must-visit places, the Valdarno region offers many other attractions, such as medieval villages, Romanesque parish churches, castles, and villas. The area is also renowned for its production of Chianti wine and its typical cuisine.

Arezzo Cuisine: Typical Dishes of Arezzo

arezzo cuisine

The area of Arezzo is famous for the production of various types of products. Among these are olive oil, beans (Fagiolo Zolfino, Fagiolo Coco Nano, Fagiolo dall’Occhio, Cece Piccino), cheeses (goat, sheep, ricotta, and Abbucciato Aretino), and honey.

The area is also renowned for its meats (Valdarno chicken, Chianina beef) and cold cuts (Capocollo, Finocchiona, Tuscan Dop ham, Tuscan salami, Soprassata, Tarese del Valdarno). Among the local classics are Mugellano tortelli (filled with potatoes and meat sauce), “all’aretina” (sliced beef), ribollita (a type of soup), pici with wild boar (pasta with wild boar), tripe alla aretina, rabbit with fennel, and pappardelle and Aretine goose.

The local wine of the Colli Aretini is the perfect accompaniment to the meal, which should end with a plate of cantuccini and Vin Santo.

Being in the Tuscan hinterland, the typical dishes of the city of Arezzo refer to meat, particularly Chianina.

Other traditional dishes include pork liver and acquacotta, eggs beaten with onions and tomatoes. Scottiglia is a hearty stew with beef, chicken, guinea fowl, and rabbit. Rabbit in porchetta and grifi, veal snout with tomato, are other typical dishes of Arezzo meat.

Arezzo Cuisine for Food Lovers. Dinner Places: the Best Restaurants

The Arezzo minimalism is the main distinguishing feature of local cuisine. Arezzo chefs pay attention primarily to the taste of dishes, while the aesthetics of the place and the unusual service are not considered of primary importance.

Traditional Tuscan cuisine might seem too simple to some tourists, but lovers of a rustic and authentic lifestyle will appreciate it. Only the freshest and finest products are used to cook the food, chefs carefully control the optimal combination of ingredients to create nutritious and healthy dishes. Every national cuisine restaurant offers homemade food and magnificent Italian wine.

Meat delicacy lovers will appreciate the Florentine steak.

This dish is prepared with prime quality beef. The fresh meat is cooked over the fire with almost no spices and various marinades to preserve the natural taste and aroma. It’s important to remember that in Arezzo, meat and fish are rarely grilled or roasted in the oven: locals prefer to roast them over fire or in a bonfire. Prosciutto crudo is a traditional dish of the region. It’s usually served together with stewed beans as a side dish. Extra virgin olive oil has always played a significant role in national cuisine. Freshly baked bread and olive oil are always present on Italian tables. Tuscan appetizer is another interesting dish recommended for tourists to try. Sliced salami and ham are served with bread and a little olive oil. Among the first courses, locals prefer the first soup. Of course, every restaurant offers traditional Italian pasta and risotto. Vegetarian guests will have the pleasure of trying various salads and vegetable soups that are always on the menu regardless of the season.

If you want to try something truly authentic, order crostino, a dish usually found in small restaurants and cafes. It consists of small appetizers made of slices of bread, olives, sauces, pâté, and fresh vegetables. Locals often start dinner with this appetizer. When it comes to desserts, here Arezzo guests truly have an embarrassment of choice. They can order traditional European sweets or choose to try a truly Italian dessert: a plate of cheeses with schiacciata.

Typical dishes of Arezzo cuisine

Arezzo cuisine is rich in flavors and tradition. Here are some of the typical dishes:

Starters:

  • Crostini neri: roasted Tuscan bread soaked in a broth of liver, anchovies, capers, and chicken.
  • Tortelli alla lastra: fresh pasta tortelli stuffed with ricotta and chard, baked.
  • Pappa al pomodoro: a soup made of stale bread, tomato, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.

First courses:

  • Maccheroni aretini: fresh pasta similar to tagliatelle, seasoned with goose sauce.
  • Bringoli: hand-pulled spaghetti, dressed with tomato sauce or wild boar ragout.
  • Bread soup: soup made of stale bread, vegetables, and beans.

Main courses:

  • Scottiglia: stew of mixed meat (beef, chicken, pork, and lamb) with vegetables and tomato.
  • Peposo: beef stew with black pepper and red wine.
  • Bistecca alla fiorentina: Chianina beef steak, grilled.

Desserts:

  • Baldino: sponge cake with chocolate glaze.
  • Lattaiolo: milk pudding with amaretti and candied fruits.
  • Apple pie: rustic cake with apples, pine nuts, and raisins.

Wine:

  • Chianti Classico: red wine DOCG produced in the Chianti area, between Florence and Siena.
  • Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: red wine DOCG produced in the Montepulciano area, in the province of Siena.
  • Val d’Orcia DOC: red, white, and rosé wine produced in the Val d’Orcia area, in the province of Siena.

In addition to these typical dishes, Arezzo cuisine also offers many other specialties, such as cold cuts, cheeses, mushrooms, and olives.

Chiantigiana: Wine Road in Chianti close to Arezzo

chiantigana street

The Wine Road in Chianti, the Chiantigiana (or simply SR 222), is the road that connects Florence to Siena: one of the most beautiful driving routes in Italy, passing through acres and acres of vineyards producing the famous Chianti Classico DOCG.

Chianti has been one of Italy’s most important wine regions for over three centuries. It was here that the family of the Grand Duke of Tuscany began cultivating the vine in the XVIII and XIX centuries in the region that would become modern Chianti.

The Chiantigiana winds its way with a series of zigzags offering enchanting views of the Tuscan countryside, charming medieval villages, and of course, delightful wines to taste.

For a truly stimulating tour of the Chiantigiana, take the time to visit at least some of the ancient towns along the route and explore the vineyards. Most wineries are open to the public, but be sure to check carefully before visiting to avoid disappointment.

When is the best time to travel the Chianti wine road?

The best time of year to visit Tuscany is during the September grape harvest or just before seeing the Sangiovese vines bend under the weight of ripening grapes, the variety from which Chianti Classico is produced.

Another good reason to go in September is to participate in one of the local festivals celebrating the harvest, such as Vino al Vino, held the third week of September, in the small town of Panzano, where you can taste numerous local wines by the glass.

What to do along the Chiantigiana

  • Visit wineries: The Wine Road is home to numerous wineries, where you can taste local wines and learn about the wine production process. Many wineries also offer guided tours of vineyards and production facilities.
  • Taste local food: Chianti Classico DOC Vinsanto, a liqueur aged for up to 5 years in small wooden barrels called “caratelli” and produced from Malvasia bianca and Trebbiano grapes; Chianina meat, handmade pasta, and cured meats, including pork, wild boar, and cinta senese pork.
  • Explore villages: Characterized by narrow streets, houses with red tile roofs, and ancient churches.
  • Go hiking: The Wine Road is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts. There are trails for all levels of difficulty, crossing vineyards, woods, and meadows.
  • Visit castles: Along the Wine Road, you’ll find numerous castles, with a small detour towards Arezzo you can also find the Castello di Gargonza with its typical village.
  • Go cycling: The Wine Road is a great destination for cycling enthusiasts. There are cycling routes for all levels of difficulty, offering breathtaking views of the hills and vineyards.
  • Relax: An ideal place to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the countryside. There are numerous agritourisms and hotels offering a welcoming atmosphere and impeccable service.

How to plan your trip along the Chiantigiana

Here are some tips for planning your trip on the Wine Road:

  • Choose the best time to travel: The wine road is beautiful to visit all year round, but the best times are spring and autumn when the weather is mild and the vineyards are in bloom or fruit.
  • Book your accommodation in advance: The Chiantigiana is a popular tourist destination, so it’s important to book your accommodation in advance, especially if you’re traveling during peak season. You can take advantage of a unique stay in a castle.
  • Rent a car: The best way to explore the Wine Road is by car, if you arrive by train or plane make sure you have a car available to stop where you want and visit the wineries and villages that interest you the most.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: If you plan to hike or walk, wear comfortable shoes and layered clothing.
  • Bring a camera: The Wine Road is a truly picturesque place, so don’t forget to bring a camera to capture your memories.

Food and wine experiences in Tuscany: Vineyard tours and tastings

fodd and wine experience in Tuscany

What are the enogastronomic itineraries?

Enogastronomic itineraries are routes that allow you to discover and appreciate the culinary and wine traditions of a specific region or territory.

These paths offer the opportunity to visit farms, wineries, olive oil mills, and other production facilities where you can taste and purchase local products.

Furthermore, during these itineraries, you can participate in guided tastings, cooking classes, visits to markets, and enogastronomic festivals, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the culture and history of the area. Enogastronomic itineraries represent a unique opportunity to know and appreciate the quality and authenticity of local products, as well as to have an unforgettable experience in the world of gastronomy.

2-Day Enogastronomic Tour in Tuscany

A two-day enogastronomic tour in Tuscany is a breathtaking culinary and wine experience. During these two days, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Tuscan enogastronomic culture, visiting renowned wineries and tasting some of the world’s finest wines.

You will also have the chance to savor traditional Tuscan dishes such as ribollita, bistecca alla fiorentina, and pappa al pomodoro. You can explore charming Tuscan cities and villages like Florence, Siena, and San Gimignano, offering a perfect blend of art, history, and culinary delights. This two-day enogastronomic tour in Tuscany will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deep understanding of the culinary and wine richness of the region.

Culinary Experiences in Tuscany

Enter the picturesque landscapes of Tuscany, where gentle hills are adorned with vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. In this idyllic setting, a gastronomic adventure awaits you.

Tuscany, renowned for its rich culinary heritage, has long been a mecca for enogastronomy enthusiasts. The region boasts a series of vineyards producing some of the world’s best wines, from the prestigious Chianti Classico to the robust Brunello di Montalcino, showcasing the passion and dedication of its winemakers.

But exploring Tuscan vineyards is not just about sipping wine; it’s a sensory experience immersing you in the heart of Italian culture. The vineyards provide a wonderful backdrop for a leisurely stroll, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Tuscan countryside while learning about the winemaking process.

In each vineyard, you’ll have the opportunity to delight your palate with tastings of exquisite wines produced on-site. Guided by expert sommeliers, you’ll learn to appreciate the nuances and complexity of each sip, from delicate notes of fruit and flowers to subtle hints of oak and spices. These tastings open the door to discovering the artistic skill involved in creating the perfect bottle of wine.

Traditional Tuscan Pairings: Exploring the Classics

When it comes to traditional Tuscan pairings, there are some classic combinations that have stood the test of time.

One such pairing is the marriage of Chianti Classico and bistecca alla fiorentina, a delicious Florentine-style steak. The bold flavors of the steak complement the robust and fruity notes of Chianti Classico, creating a harmonious balance on the palate.

Another classic pairing is pecorino cheese with Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Pecorino, a sheep’s milk cheese with a rich and spicy flavor, pairs beautifully with the crisp and refreshing Vernaccia wine. The creamy texture of the cheese is enhanced by the citrusy nuances of the wine, creating a delightful combination that is both indulgent and refreshing.

No exploration of traditional Tuscan pairings would be complete without mentioning Vin Santo and cantucci. Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine made from dried grapes, is often enjoyed alongside cantucci, almond biscuits. The hazelnut flavors of cantucci complement the honeyed sweetness of Vin Santo, making it the perfect finale for any Tuscan meal.

Wine Pairings: Unlocking the Perfect Match

While traditional pairings maintain their charm, there is also an opportunity to explore beyond these classics and unlock new flavor combinations.

When it comes to wine pairings in Tuscany, you can never go wrong with Vermentino paired with seafood dishes. The sparkling acidity and mineral notes of Vermentino cut through the richness of grilled shrimp or spaghetti alle vongole (clam pasta), creating a refreshing contrast on your palate.

For something heartier, try pairing a bold and full-bodied Super Tuscan wine with a rich and savory dish like wild boar ragu. The robust flavors of the wine stand up to the wild flavors of the boar, creating a perfect match for the cuisine.

For those with a sweet tooth, Moscato d’Asti is the perfect companion to desserts like panforte or ricciarelli. The light and effervescent nature of Moscato d’Asti balances the richness of these sweet delicacies, leaving you with a harmonious combination that satisfies your cravings.

Beyond Tuscany: Global Influences and Fusion Pairings

While Tuscan wines are undoubtedly exceptional on their own, they also lend themselves well to fusion pairings that incorporate global flavors.

An example is pairing Sangiovese with sushi: the bright acidity and red fruit notes of Sangiovese complement the delicate flavors of sushi, creating an unexpected but delicious combination.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing a bold Tuscan red like Brunello di Montalcino with spicy Indian curry. The wine’s tannins help temper the heat of the curry, while the complex flavors of both elements create a palate-explosive taste experience.

Finally, for those who prefer vegetarian options, a crisp and aromatic white wine like Vernaccia di San Gimignano pairs beautifully with dishes like caprese salad or vegetable risotto. The fresh and herbaceous notes of Vernaccia enhance the natural flavors of the vegetables, creating a light and refreshing pairing, perfect for summer dinners.
In Tuscan vineyards, culinary delights abound. From traditional pairings that have stood the test of time to innovative fusion combinations pushing boundaries, the world of Tuscan wine tastings offers something for every palate.

Discover our Tuscan culinary traditions

which are tuscany culinary traditions?

Tuscany, a region known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, is also celebrated for its gastronomic delights that have stood the test of time. From the gentle hills of Chianti to the iconic city of Florence, Tuscan culinary traditions have captivated palates for centuries, enchanting both locals and visitors alike.

As you wander through the picturesque streets of Tuscany, it becomes evident that food is more than nourishment; it is a way of life. Tuscan culinary traditions are deeply rooted in the region’s history, reflecting the simplicity and authenticity that define Tuscan lifestyle. From the philosophy of “from farm to table” to the preservation of centuries-old recipes, locals honor their culinary heritage with unwavering dedication.

One cannot speak of Tuscan cuisine without mentioning the heavenly combination of fresh, high-quality ingredients and exquisite flavors. Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, famous worldwide for its distinctive taste, is the cornerstone of many dishes, adding a golden touch to everything from bruschetta to ribollita. Earthy herbs like rosemary and sage infuse traditional stews and roasted meats with a fragrant aroma that immediately transports you to the heart of Tuscany. And let’s not forget pecorino, a beloved staple in Tuscan kitchens, imparting its sharp and savory notes to pasta dishes and salads.

The “From Farm to Table” Philosophy: Honoring Tuscan Culinary Heritage

The “from farm to table” philosophy lies at the heart of Tuscan culinary traditions, embodying the region’s commitment to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The people of this region hold a deep respect for the land and its generosity, honoring their culinary heritage by preserving traditional farming practices.

When you sit down to savor a meal in Tuscany, you can be certain that the ingredients on your plate have been carefully cultivated or raised. Farmers in this region prioritize quality over quantity, focusing on sustainable agricultural methods that protect the environment and ensure the highest level of flavor. From juicy tomatoes full of sweetness to tender cuts of pasture-raised meat, each bite tells a story of dedication and passion.

An iconic example of the “from farm to table” philosophy in Tuscan cuisine is ribollita: a hearty vegetable soup made with leftover bread and seasonal vegetables. This dish originated as a way for farmers to consume stale bread and make the most of their harvest. Today, it has become a beloved dish on Tuscan tables, showcasing the resourcefulness and creativity at the core of this culinary tradition.

Tuscans not only support local farmers but also preserve centuries-old recipes passed down from generation to generation. Each dish tells a story of tradition and connection to the land, allowing visitors to experience Tuscan culture through their taste buds.

Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The Golden Elixir of Tuscan Cuisine

No discussion of Tuscan culinary traditions would be complete without mentioning one of its most prized ingredients: extra virgin olive oil. Known as “liquid gold,” Tuscan olive oil is renowned worldwide for its exceptional quality and distinct flavor.

The olive trees dotting the Tuscan landscape have been cultivated for centuries, with some olive groves dating back to Roman times. The region’s unique climate and fertile soil create perfect conditions for olive cultivation, resulting in an oil rich in flavor and low in acidity.

Tuscan olive oil is characterized by its vibrant green color, fruity aroma, and peppery finish. It adds depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes, from simple bruschetta to elaborate pasta sauces. As a finishing touch drizzled on grilled vegetables, a good steak, or a rustic soup, it is perfect for elevating your culinary creations.

When visiting Tuscany, be sure to visit an olive oil mill or participate in a tasting experience to fully appreciate the nuances of this golden elixir. You’ll learn about the various olive varieties used in production, the pressing process, and how to discern the quality of the oil based on its taste and aroma.

Pecorino: The Beloved Staple of Tuscan Cuisine

Pecorino holds a special place in Tuscan culinary tradition. Produced with sheep’s milk, this hard cheese has a distinctive sharpness that adds depth of flavor to many Tuscan dishes.

Throughout history, shepherding has been an integral part of Tuscan agriculture. The abundance of herbs and wild plants in the region contributes to the unique taste of pecorino cheese. As the sheep graze on these aromatic plants, their milk absorbs the flavors, giving rise to a cheese with earthy nuances.

Pecorino is used in various ways in Tuscan cuisine. Grated over pasta dishes like pici or pappardelle, it imparts a salty richness that enhances the overall aromatic profile. It can also be enjoyed on its own, paired with a glass of Tuscan wine and some crusty bread.

When exploring local markets or specialty food shops in Tuscany, be sure to seek out different varieties of pecorino. From young and delicate to aged and crumbly, each type offers a unique tasting experience that showcases the versatility and complexity of this beloved cheese.

Regional Specialties of Chianti

The Chianti region is synonymous with exceptional wine, but it is also home to a variety of culinary delights that reflect the unique terroir of this area. From hearty stews to delicate pastries, Chianti’s regional specialties highlight the diverse flavors and ingredients found in Tuscan cuisine.

An iconic dish of this region is bistecca alla fiorentina, a thick-cut T-bone steak grilled over an open flame. The meat used for this dish comes from locally raised Chianina cattle, known for their tender and flavorful meat. It is simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and olive oil before being cooked to perfection. The result is a juicy steak with a charred exterior that captures the essence of Tuscan cuisine, often accompanied by beans all’uccelletto, roasted potatoes, Tuscan kale, or oven-roasted vegetables.

In addition to savory dishes, Chianti is also known for its sweets. Cantucci are almond biscuits traditionally served alongside Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine. These crunchy biscuits are perfect for dipping into the amber-colored wine, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.

Exploring Chianti’s regional specialties allows you to immerse yourself in the culinary traditions that have shaped this part of Tuscany. Whether you’re savoring a bowl of ribollita or indulging in a slice of panforte, each bite tells a story of tradition and passion.

Pairing Food with Wine in Tuscany

No journey through Tuscan culinary traditions would be complete without exploring the art of wine pairing. Tuscany is home to some of Italy’s most renowned wines, and the right pairing can elevate your culinary experience to new heights.

When it comes to red wine, Sangiovese takes center stage in Tuscany. This grape thrives in the region’s climate and soil, producing wines with vibrant acidity, balanced tannins, and complex flavors. A glass of Chianti Classico or Brunello di Montalcino pairs beautifully with rich meat dishes like wild boar ragù or roasted lamb.

If you prefer white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a must-try. This sparkling and refreshing wine is made from Vernaccia grapes grown in the San Gimignano area. Its citrusy notes and mineral undertones make it an excellent companion for fish dishes or fresh salads.

Autumn Festivals and Christmas Markets in Tuscany

Autumn Festivals and Christmas Markets in Tuscany

The autumn and winter season in Tuscany is a celebration of colors and events dedicated to experiencing its cities and incredible landscapes to the fullest. Take advantage of mild days and weekends to explore small typical villages and towns.

Even better if you move close to events, fairs, and festivals.

Arezzo, the City of Christmas

A must for all Christmas enthusiasts is the event organized by the city of Arezzo every year: a grand fair full of artisan creations and stalls offering tempting dishes.

This year it will take place from November 18th, 2023, to January 1st, 2024.
What not to miss? The magical historic center of Arezzo, where you’ll find the “Prato delle Meraviglie” with a panoramic wheel to enjoy the view of the entire city from above, and traditional markets. Unmissable are the light installations, Christmas Brick Art, and the Tyrolean Village.

The largest Tyrolean market in Italy will be set up from November 18 to December 26, featuring 32 wooden chalets arranged around a large chalet. What will you find? Plenty of Christmas gift ideas, tree decorations, lights, typical Tyrolean beer, music, and gastronomic specialties. The little ones won’t be disappointed with Santa’s House, where themed workshops will be organized.

Let’s not forget about Arezzo Christmas Brick Art! What is it? A wonder that will please both young and old: the large LEGO Christmas Village, open to visitors from November 18 to December 26. Here, you will find over 400 square meters of exhibitions, shows, and workshops entirely focused on the world’s most famous building blocks, with themed areas and special initiatives.

Autumn Food and Wine Festivals in Tuscany

Here is a small list of festivals taking place in November 2023 in Tuscany, within driving distance from Castello di Gargonza, an excellent opportunity to organize a trip to one of the many wonderful villages in the region, spending a day immersed in good food and autumn colors.

  1. Autumnia from November 10 to 12, 2023, in Figline Valdarno (FI). A weekend getaway: less than an hour from Castello di Gargonza, a special fair dedicated to local products, focused on agriculture, environment, and food, featuring 25 local farms with their zero-kilometer products, 13 cooking shows in three days, and a zootechnical exhibition with over 50 farm animals.
  2. Market Exhibition of the White Truffle of the Crete Senesi from Saturday 11 November 2023 to Sunday 19 November 2023 in Montalcino, Siena.
    The festival takes place in the heart of one of the most suitable areas for truffle harvesting in Italy. San Giovanni d’Asso, a charming medieval village surrounded by rolling hills and unspoiled nature, offers a refuge away from urban chaos and industrial activity. The white truffles collected here are all 0 km, collected exclusively by truffle hunters affiliated to the provincial association.
  3. White and Black Truffle Festival from November 4 to November 12, 2023, in the Municipality of Scarperia and San Piero in the province of Florence. Less than two hours’ drive from Castello di Gargonza: why not spend an entire day as true gourmets and try all the truffle-themed delicacies? There’s something for every taste, both white and black truffles.
  4. Feast of San Martino and Bringoli from November 11 to November 12, 2023, in the Municipality of Anghiari. In the province of Arezzo, about an hour’s drive from Castello di Gargonza, during the second weekend of November, the 35th edition of the Feast of San Martino and Bringoli will take place. The town of Anghiari, known for being the birthplace of Piero della Francesca and one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, will celebrate local gastronomy. You can indulge in bringoli, a traditional local dish: large spaghetti made with water and flour, handmade and served with rich meat or mushroom sauces. Also unmissable are sausages, traditional “brustichino,” and chestnuts, all washed down with generous new wine.
  5. Chestnuts and New Wine Festival from November 1 to December 10, 2023, in the Municipality of San Gimignano. Chestnut lovers can move to the province of Siena, an hour and a quarter’s drive away, to visit the wonderful village of San Gimignano and taste the queens of the season: chestnuts.
  6. Festival of Tortello, Porcini, and Chestnuts of Mugello from September 29 to November 19, 2023, in the Municipality of Vicchio. Unmissable autumn pearls that can be enjoyed for more than a month. Mugello tortelli are typical, filled with potatoes and served with various sauces, while porcini mushrooms and Mugello chestnuts are precious gifts of autumn, to be enjoyed as long as possible.
  7. National White Truffle Market Show from November 11 to November 26, 2023, in the Municipality of San Miniato. Head to the province of Pisa, an hour and a half away from Castello di Gargonza, to be delighted by autumn dishes based on white truffles. The fair, organized for several years now, is also an excellent time to buy truffle-based products and take advantage of Christmas gifts and ideas.

And for a dreamy overnight stay, after days filled with events and gastronomic delights, Castello di Gargonza has it covered.

Discover all the options for rooms and apartments in this dreamy historic location right away.

Typical products of Tuscany: come and taste them in Gargonza

prodotti tipici di toscana a gargonza

La nostra regione è uno dei gioielli culinari d’Italia. 

Grazie alle sue delizie gastronomiche è capace infatti di incantare i visitatori non solo con i suoi paesaggi mozzafiato e con le sue città d’arte ricche di storia e di cultura, ma anche con la sua tradizione culinaria. Il cibo in Toscana non è solo nutrimento, è cultura, vita, celebrazione della tradizione.

A Gargonza siamo convinti che l’enogastronomia sia una parte fondamentale di chi vive un’esperienza nel castello. Per questo abbiamo selezionato una serie di produttori locali d’eccellenza e di prodotti tipici di Toscana che ben rappresentano la nostra storia e la nostra cultura gastronomica.

Dal prosciutto salato alla finocchiona (un tipico salume di carne suina arricchito con semi di finocchio), passando per pecorini, formaggi freschi e vini rossi strutturati e robusti: a Gargonza ti offriamo un viaggio tra i sapori dei prodotti tipici di Toscana, in un contesto magico e affascinante.

Prodotti tipici di Toscana: cosa troverai a Gargonza

Nella nostra bottega offriamo degustazioni guidate di prodotti tipici di Toscana provenienti dal territorio che ci circonda. Amiamo andare alla ricerca dei produttori locali che lavorano con passione le migliori materie prime e ci teniamo a farti assaggiare i prodotti che noi consideriamo migliori. Ai piedi della maestosa torre trecentesca, potrai assaporare formaggi, salumi, vini e altre specialità toscane che abbiamo accuratamente selezionato.

Ecco qualche assaggio di quello che possiamo offrirti.

Salumi da animali allevati allo stato brado

I salumi che offriamo nelle nostre degustazioni arrivano principalmente dall’Azienda Agricola Basagni di Monte San Savino. L’azienda alleva suini allo stato brado, che vivono in libertà e si nutrono di ciò che la natura gli offre, per poi essere trasformati in salami, prosciutti e altri deliziosi salumi di eccellenza. La lavorazione artigianale non prevede inoltre l’aggiunta di fosfati aggiunti, per mantenere il gusto e l’aroma delle carni intatto.

Formaggi pluripremiati e ricchi di sapore

Tutti i formaggi che utilizziamo, non solo per le degustazioni ma anche nella cucina del nostro ristorante, arrivano dall’azienda di Andrea De’ Magi. Andrea, con il quale collaboriamo da tempo, è un pluripremiato affinatore che seleziona le migliori forme di formaggi a latte crudo e pastorizzato. Potrai assaggiare formaggi di capra, di pecora e di latte vaccino, che vengono fatti stagionare e affinare nell’azienda di Castiglion Fiorentino. Qui assumono il loro sapore e la loro consistenza caratteristica: sentirai il vero sapore del latte e della stagionatura fatta come una volta.

Vieni ad assaggiare i prodotti tipici di Toscana a Gargonza

prodotti tipici di toscana

Ovviamente salumi e formaggi saranno accompagnati da pane tipico toscano (senza sale, rigorosamente!) e da un bicchiere di vino rosso locale. Le aziende vinicole che abbiamo selezionato si trovano tutte in Toscana e le abbiamo scelte proprio perché i loro vini sono in grado di accompagnare ed esaltare al meglio le proposte gastronomiche.

Per esigenze particolari, possiamo inoltre preparare del pane e della schiacciata senza glutine per accompagnare salumi e formaggi.

Se vuoi prenotare una degustazione di prodotti tipici di Toscana a Gargonza, puoi scriverci e saremo felici di organizzarne una personalizzata per te.

Scrivici!

An ancient castle in Tuscany: the history of Gargonza

castello in toscana

Evocative and majestic, Gargonza is an ancient castle in Tuscany that has kept intact all the charm of medieval times. Thanks to the continuous restoration works and careful maintenance of it over all these years, walking through the streets of the village and entering the castle of Gargonza is a bit like stepping back in time.

In this article we retrace its centuries-old history of the village and the castle: it will be a truly fascinating journey through time.

The history of Gargonza over the centuries

It seems that the castle of Gargonza was built as a defensive structure around the 11th century. Specifically, the earliest records date back to exactly 1150: at that time, there was talk of a fortified castle on the road between Arezzo and Siena.

Over the years, Gargonza was transformed into a village where people were mainly engaged in wool processing and the care of the surrounding woods. In the seventeenth century, the castle would later be enlarged with a full-fledged farm: covering an area of about 900 hectares, the surrounding land was organized to be conducted on a sharecropping basis. Gargonza’s agricultural vocation lasted until the early 20th century.

After 300 years of flourishing agricultural life in the community, Gargonza was abandoned by its inhabitants but fortunately did not go into decline.

The Guicciardini Corsi Salviati family and the castle in Tuscany

castle in tuscany

The Corsi Salviati family has been the historic owner of Gargonza Castle since as far back as 1696, and since then has always dedicated itself to maintaining the original condition of the castle and village.

When Marquis Bardo Corsi Salviati died, all his property passed to Count Giulio Guicciardini, who added his surname to that of the original family. However, we are in the early 1900s, in the midst of a rural exodus: the hamlet is abandoned but one of the Count’s 8 sons, Roberto Guicciardini Corsi Salviati, chose to devote himself completely to the conservative restoration of the castle. The village was reborn and, from the 1960s, the houses and agricultural outbuildings were also restored. Gargonza was thus transformed into an accommodation facility, one of the very first in the region and in all of Italy, becoming a castle in Tuscany where people could stay as well as visit.

To this day, the castle of Gargonza is still owned by the Guicciardini Corsi Salviati family: it is the Count’s heirs, Neri and his wife Elisa, who carry on the activities of the hamlet and also the conservation and maintenance work, with the aim of preserving the hamlet’s medieval soul and appearance.

More than a castle in Tuscany, a real village

Gargonza is thus not just a castle in Tuscany but an entire medieval village. Around the tower there are stone-paved alleys along which we find numerous buildings maintained exactly as they were in medieval times: small peasant houses, with wooden beams and stone walls, have been converted into rooms and apartments that keep the medieval atmosphere intact.

Protecting the village we still find the original walls, preserved with great care.

What you will find today within the walls of Gargonza is therefore a perfectly preserved castle in Tuscany, a charming village and a luxury accommodation facility.

Want to visit Gargonza or book a stay in the castle?

Contact us!