Fiesole's 'Magna Etruria' Etruscan Dinners

Farro prepared according to an Etruscan recipe

Until August 3MAGNA ETRURIA: ETRUSCAN DINNER-SEMINARS. Several locations in Fiesole. Dinners start at 8 pm. Admission: €35. Reservation needed at or at 055.5961293

Fiesole, that Tuscan gem close to Florence, is filled with must-see sites and archeological exhibits connected with the Etruscan era.  This heritage is kept alive by the local community: museums and civil organizations dedicated to safeguarding the town’s Etruscan culture.

The Etruscan roots of Fiesole are visible, touchable, and this time, thanks to Magna Fiesole, they become edible as well. This second edition of a 2015 initiative tries to recreate the Etruscan atmosphere with emphasizing historic cuisine. The initiative was born out of the collaboration of the city of Florence, Vetrina Toscana regional cuisine showcase and Roman Amphitheatre.

During the Magna Fiesole dinners, partner restaurants follow ancient methods of cooking, and use the ingredients of our ancestors with the aid of historian Luca Bertini.

Luca Bertini, the organizer of the event is a real expert on Etruscan culture and food, studying the connection between present-dau Tuscan dishes and the ancient times.  There are several sources that historians can use to recreate the eating habits of the antiquity. In this case, the rich Etruscan cultural and art heritage of the town offers the principle resources of research, through texts, paintings or sculptures.

The meals inserted in Fiesole restaurants’ menu are one by one studied and reconstructed by Bertini, who was also responsible for explaining the recipes to chefs.

To connect the archeological sites and cuisine, visitors of the museums receive a discount at Magna Etruria’s partner restaurants; meanwhile guests of these restaurants receive discounts at museums.

This year, seven restaurants are taking part in Magna Etruria: Vinandro, Aurora Hotel Restaurant, Bistrot Cafè, Pensione Bencistà Restaurant, Cavemare Restaurant, Linea 7 Restaurant and Trattoria Cave di Maiano. During the “Dinner- Seminars” participants not only enjoy the dishes of the Etruscans, but also learn about it with the help of Luca Bertoni.

The protagonists of the dinner are ingredients such as emmer (farro), and modern-day ingredients as well. Emphasizing the local producers, two contributors from the Fiesole area provide the very basic ingredients of the nights: olive oil (Saltapoggio) and vine (Montereggi ).

One couldn’t find more authentic location for an Etruscan dinner than the Roman Theatre of Fiesole. On July 20 the Terrace will be given a special attention, since the night is dedicated to the event “Night of Tuscan Archeology.” Because of this initiative apart from the food delights, the evening will be accompanied by Etruscan music.

An experimental performance, the “Voice and Sound” concert will take place among the ruins. The concert is the study of Stefano Cocco Cantini, jazz musician, director of Grey Cat Jazz Festival; and Simona Rafanelli, historian, expert of Etruscan Civilization. Their sounds and music is based on excavated ancient musical instruments and the studies that try to recreate the melodies of local ancestors.

The dinners in Fiesole are scheduled as follows starting at 8 pm

June 20: Terrace of the Roman Theatre

July 13:  Aurora Hotel Restaurant

July 20: Dinner- Seminars; 9:30 pm Performance by Stefano Cocco Cantini and Simona Rafanelli, “Voice and Sound”

July 27:  Aurora Hotel Restaurant

August 3:  Terrace of the Roman Theatre

On these evenings before the dinners, at 7 pm Amici dei Musei di Fiesole organizes free, guided tours to discover the Etruscan artifacts of the area.

The dinner-seminars will be repeated in Florence’s Limonaia di Villa Strozzi as part of Estate Fiorentina, thanks to Luca Bertini on June 22, July 6, July 12 and August 2.  (gréta szabó)