50 local specialties and the best (or most unique) places to find them
Every region in Italy has its own unique cuisine, but Tuscany boasts one of the top spots for favoured cuisine in the world. But even this Central Italian region is subject to a divide when it comes to typical products and dishes. Although traditional dishes can be found throughout the region, there are countless specialties to be found in specific areas or cities. Here are 50 local Tuscan dishes and the best (or most unique) places to find them.
Arezzo and surroundings
Bringoli with fake ragù: thick, hand-made spaghetti topped with “fake ragù,” so-called because it looks like typical Italian ragù but is actually meatless.
Sangiovannese stew (San Giovanni Valdarno): a succulent stew made with veal meat, vegetables and spices.
Gattò: the word gattò comes from the French word gateau, meaning cake: indeed, gattò is a soft cake filled with custard.
Tarlati soup: a special chicken soup made with local Valdarno chicken.
Scottiglia: a mixed meat stew simmered in tomatoes, made using pork, beef, chicken, pigeon, guinea fowl and even turkey.
Torta co' bischeri: rice and chocolate pie, flavoured with pine nuts, raisins and candied fruit.
Baccalà coi porri: fried, salted and breaded cod flavoured with leeks
Mucco pisano: the Mucco Pisano is a crossbreed between the Schways breed of cattle (from the Alps) and the local breed. Its main characteristic is the flavour of its meat, which is intense and particularly tasty.
Wild Boar Stew with olives (Chianni): November is when olives are hand-picked one by one and then cooked together with wild boar, which is marinated and prepared in a stew.
Florence and surroundings
Lampredotto sandwich: a popular Florentine street food that you can buy from stands around the city. Lampredotto is part of the cow’s stomach and is cooked in a broth containing herbs and tomatoes.
Cacciucco: Livorno’s traditional and famous fish soup.
Baccalà livornese (Livorno): salted cod, perfectly topped with tomatoes and onions.
"Cinque e cinque" sandwich (Livorno): a sandwich frommade with bread or focaccia stuffed with a chickpea cake. Its name refers to the historical price of the dish, when people could buy five Lire of bread and five of the chickpea cake from the bakery.
Schiaccia briaca (Isola d’Elba): a sweet flat bread, topped with pine nuts, raisins and dried fruit with a touch of Eastern flavour. Aleatico red wine has also been added to the bread since the 19th century.
Sfratti (Pitigliano and Sorano): a cigar-shaped biscuit with a thin layer of unleavened dough wrapped around a filling of chopped walnuts, honey, orange peel and nutmeg.
"Sfumate" eels (Orbetello): the eels are marinated in a pepper sauce and then smoked.
Buglione di Agnello: a rich and dense lamb stew. A typical easter dish in some towns of the Maremma like San Martino sul Fiora.
Panficato (Giglio Island): a typical cake made of dried fruits from Giglio island, similar to Siena's Panforte.
Versilia, Garfagnana and Lucca
Spaghetti alla Trabaccolara (Versilia): fresh fish sauce for spaghetti. The sauce was historically made on board ships by fishermen from San Benedetto del Tronto, who came to live and fish in the Versilia.
Garmugia (Lucca area): a vegetable soup with a very little meat. A modern version includes some dried pancetta (belly bacon – non smoked) and a little ground meat.
Spelt Soup (Garfagnana): a traditional soup made with spelt, vegetables and borlotti beans. Spelt from the Garfagnana is particularly good compared to the spelt cultivated in other areas.
Buccellato (Lucca): a sweet bread made of a soft pastry, with a lot of raisins and aniseed. In Lucca, no celebration happens without Buccellato and glasses of the sweet Vin Santo.
Torta d'Erbi (Versilia): a very special dessert made with vegetables, like chards and spinach, and flavoured with sugar, raisins and pine nuts.
Stuffed Celery: celery ribs with a meat filling made of veal, mortadella, parsley, parmesan and eggs.
Dried figs (Carmignano): sweet and soft with a slight taste of anise, dried figs from Carmignano are really tasty with mortadella from Prato, but they’re also perfect as a light dessert. It’s famous across the country for its organoleptic attributes and its ancestral and natural drying technique.
Pesche di Prato: Peach-shaped pastries dipped in alchermes and stuffed with custard.
Mantovana: a simple yet tasty sponge cake from Prato.
"Zuccherini" (Vernio): special biscuits made with flour, eggs, butter, sugar and aniseed. Very good for breakfast or as a snack.
Testaroli (Pontremoli): unusual types of fresh pasta made from an egg-free dough that is flattened between testi (special cast iron baking dishes) like a crepe and then briefly plunged into boiling water before serving.
Panigacci (Podenzana): a traditional round, flat bread from the Lunigiana that’s cooked on special terracotta plates called testi, which are placed directly in the fire.
Torta d’Erbi : a vegetable stuffed pie, usually served hot and cooked on special terracotta plates called testi, which are placed directly in the fire.
Lasagne Bastarde (Licciana Nardi): a very special type of lasagna pasta made with chestnut flour.
Frgadei (Fivizzano): a tasty polenta soup made with Tuscan kale, beans and pecorino.
Pistoia and Valdinievole
Brigidini (Lamporecchio): thin, crispy and fragrant waffles, rounded and curled, gold-orange in colour, with a diameter of about 7 cm. They are made with eggs, sugar, anise or fennel seeds, and very little water and flour.
Pistoia Panforte Glacé (Pistoia): a chocolate-covered fruit cake containing only almonds, hazelnut cream, vanilla beans, chunks of chocolate, cocoa butter and candied cedar fruit from the south of Italy.
Cialde di Montecatini (Montecatini): a very simple dessert, without added fats or preservatives, comprising two fragrant wafers made of flour, sugar, milk, eggs and crushed almonds.
Sorana beans "al fiasco" (Sorana):small and very thin-skinned cannellini beans cooked "al fiasco" (in glass containers with large openings) and seasoned with garlic and sage.
Siena area and Amiata
Pici all'aglione (Siena area): pici pasta is similar to spaghetti but is thicker and the pieces are stretched by hand. All'aglione means seasoned with tomato and garlic sauce.
Panforte (Siena): a traditional Christmas cake made with walnuts, almonds, candied citrus fruits, mixed spices and coriander seeds.
Sweet polenta (Abbadia San Salvatore): chestnut flour polenta, seasoned with sausage, ricotta and pork liver.
Lunghetti or tagliolini alle briciole e tartufo (Crete Senesi): long pasta made with flour and water and seasoned with breadcrumbs and white truffle.
Mushroom soup: tasty soup made with all the mushrooms that can be collected on Monte Amiata. It’s served with toasted bread rubbed with garlic.
This is just a selection, because our list could go on and on. We invite you to visit our recipe section where you will find many other typical Tuscan dishes.