As Tuscany embraces autumn, with its traditions, colors and flavors, the town of Figline in the Valdarno hosts a fair dedicated to agriculture, environment and cuisine on November 10-12. The temperatures thankfully cool down, the trees begin to exhibit brilliant orange, red and yellow and fall brings this annual event with an emphasis this year on environmental sustainability.
The town and surrounding area, with its medieval walls, known for the rich agricultural history, claims a unique variety of grains, vegetables, poultry, extra virgin olive oil and local wines. The forests offer foragers chestnuts and the famous porcini mushrooms.
The elegant market square, Piazza Marsilio Ficino, holds an expanded version of the town’s weekly market on Saturday and Sunday. Shoppers are invited to try the local fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, wine, oil, pasta and other specialties. During the weekend cooking shows with chefs, wine tasting with sommeliers and plenty of street food will be available.
Not far away in Corso Massini, an artisans’ market allows visitors to observe artisans at work and perhaps purchase a one-of-a-kind handcrafted item.
There are activities and games for children, from the opportunity for them to play at being firefighters, to entering the livestock area and animal farm in the Giardini della Misericordia to mingle with sheep, cows, pigs, chicken, dogs and other animals, to viewing an animated performance entitled “Let’s Discover Garibaldi” or learning about ancient crafts. Kids can watch the milking of a cow, learn how honey is made, roll out biscotti and pasta and will be invited to ride ponies or donkeys. The local schools will also host an nature event with students planting olive and cypress trees.
The Valdarno, including Figline, Incisa and San Giovanni Valdarno, sits in the center of Tuscany, along the Arno River and 35 kilometers southeast of Florence. The bounty of local food products includes a pork sausage called Tarese del Valdarno and the zolfino bean, a thin-skinned, pale yellow legume that becomes incredibly creamy when cooked. An event organized by Slowfood Valdarno and the Figline farmer’s market presents the 100% Local Dish: a recipe by restauranteurs and farmers which is created totally with products from the area will be presented over the weekend.
Concurrently the town is hosting an exhibition on Marsilio Ficino, Figline’s most famous resident. Ficino, an Italian scholar, priest, astrologer and physician, was one of most influential humanist philosophers of the Renaissance. The exhibit runs Friday from 3 to 7 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm at the Palazzo Pretorio.
Fair admittance is free of charge and events begin on Friday afternoon continuing through Sunday afternoon. To access the fair, a free shuttle service into the town will be available from three large parking lots. (rita kungel)
For further information and program of events, see the website: www.autumnia.it