Dear Newsletter Reader,
Welcome to the
Autumn issue of our newletter.
Festivals celebrating the bringing in of the
harvest and the wish to have a bumper crop have
been celebrated around the world for centuries.
Italy is no exception to this and in this
special Autumn issue of our newsletter, we are
telling you about the harvests you can enjoy
over the next few months in Tuscany and Umbria.
With so much to see and do, the Autumn and
Winter months are certainly a time where a visit
should be considered - think of the benefits -
cheaper prices, less tourists, fewer queues and
the chance to spend time with the locals!
photocompetition closes for entries in the
middle of November, so there is still time to
get your photos entered. See the bottom of the
newsletter for details and another great example
of one of last years entries.
As always, please let us know your views on our
newsletters or contact me for any other
information or help.
Regards and we
will be back in November.
The Grape Harvest
Autumn is a
fantastic time to visit Tuscany and Umbria to
see the area erupt into one of the busiest times
of years - the grape harvest. It starts at the
end of September and goes on throughout October
and sometimes even into early November as the
start date is weather dependent.
and particularly in the Chianti area of Tuscany
you will have the chance to see workers in the
fields harvesting the grapes before taking them
to the local winery for production into some of
the worlds finest wines. You will see an
increased number of agricultural vehicles on the
close to vineyards or on properties within
vineyards will be able to witness the harvesting
first hand and even get involved - they are
always happy to accept extra helpers but be
aware that it is hard work!
The Olive Harvest
Throughout Tuscany you will find some of the best
Olives in Italy. Often growing within the vineyards,
the nutrients in the ground just seem to add that
special something to the Olives and the Olive oil
produced in the area.
The majority of the Olives in Tuscany and Umbria are
still harvested by hand with members of extended
families and friends travelling to the family farms
to help bring in the olives. Nets are laid under
the trees to protect any falling olives, baskets are
tied around waists and each branch is methodically
stripped of its prize. A sharp hit from a broom
handle normally dislodges any stray olives too!
In Tuscany, the olives are picked whilst Green and
it is this early crop that gives the local Tuscan
oils their distinctive taste and texture.
Once picked, it is important to get the harvest to
the olive press as soon as possible in order to
avoid any spoiling of the olives - because of their
fat content, olives can spoil quickly and ferment.
Most presses in Tuscany operate as a 'Frantoio'
which is a communual mill and every grower has an
appointment to press their olives for their oil -
something that is watched closely so that different
growers olives are not mixed by mistake.
The best quality oil is that of the 'First Press'
and this is highly prized amongst the growers and
fetches the highest price if sold.
If you are staying
Montefiorile hamlets during the olive harvest,
you are welcome to join in and help and visit the
The Chestnut Harvest
Roasted, sugared, salted, baked, pureed, on pizzas,
in polenta, in pasta, in sausages, and rolled in
pork; these are just some of the ways that Tuscany
will be offering visitors Chestnuts during the
harvest month of October. So, no matter what your
preference is, there will be something for you to
From the hills near Florence to the sides of Mount
Amiata, the Chestnut harvest begins in October and
in the most prolific growing areas, it continues on
Such is the importance of the Chestnut in certain
areas of Tuscany they have introduced the "Chestnut
Trail" to rival the Chianti areas wine trails.
There are 6 trails of differing length and
difficulty all of which take you through the
Chestnut groves and allow you to experience the
beautiful scenery of the area.
The Truffle harvest
The last 3 weekends of November are given over to
Festivals celebrating the harvesting of White
Truffles in the San Miniato area of Tuscany.
Easily reached from
all areas of Tuscany, San Miniato is one of the most
productive areas in Europe for the valuable White
Truffles and the locally grown truffles are the most
expensive of their kind. The Tubar Magnatum Pico is
the most valuable because it will only grow in the
most precise conditions and is therefore very
limited in its harvesting.
The San Miniato
National White Truffle Fair sees stalls selling the
famous delicacy along with other local produce such
as truffle oils, porcini mushrooms, walnuts,
artichokes and even the Sigaro Toscana - Tuscan
Cigar - that is also produced in the San Miniato
not take the Treno Natura from Siena to San Miniato
to enjoy the Truffle Festival?
Treno Natura is a lovingly restored steam train
which runs on a special 'tourist' rail line at
certain times of the year.
information and bookings please go to the
Treno Natura website (information is in Italian
The Mushroom Harvest
you are in Italy during the Autumn you will
often see groups of cars parked on the sides of
the roads. Sometimes these are the hunters
vehicles and sometimes they are just a group of
people that know that there are mushrooms ready
for picking in the area!
The most famous of the Tuscan varieties is the
Porcini mushrooms but other varieties that can
be found include Chanterelle, milk-cap and
russola. As always with mushroom picking, you
need to make sure you are with an expert as it
is easy to mistake an edible mushroom with a
non-edible one and this can have quite serious
consequences - on average, 40,000 people in
Italy suffer from mushroom poisoning each year!
If you would like to pick some mushrooms whilst
in Italy, bear in mind that rules have been
brought in to regulate the amount of mushrooms
allowed to be harvested by individuals in order
to protect the species for future years and
ensure that those picking mushrooms know which
types are edible.
Some of these rules include:
You must have a permit to collect mushrooms (these
are also available for tourists)
You must only collect using wicker-baskets -
absolutely no plastic bags to be used.
You can only collect 3kg per day (except if you
live in the mountains where you are allowed 6kg)
You can collect from public areas only and from
at least 100 metres away from residential
buildings and at least 20 metres from the
Thomas Dinan USA
Dont forget about the To Tuscany 2010
photocompetition. Entries (maximum
) must be sent in JPEG format and the
prize is a hamper of Tuscan delicacies. Send
your entry to
with your name,
reservation code and a title for each of the
CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES IS NOVEMBER 8TH
We hope that you find the information in this
months newsletter useful.
Please let us know of any content that you would
like to see included in our newsletters and we
wish you a fantastic Autumn wherever you are
spending it! Click
for contact details