An elusive character lives hidden away in these parts. So well holed up that it takes a very singular nose to sniff it out. In the end, however, it is brought to light, especially in autumn when the damp smell of the leaf-covered ground permeates the woodland. The white truffle (tuber magnatum pico), the rarest and most prized species. It is futile to try to resist its fragrance, because the simple act of admiring its light colour and letting its aroma penetrate your senses will leave you utterly seduced by its charms. Few places are as bountiful in this “pearl of the forest” as Montaione. The area around the San Miniato hills is one of the most abundant truffle areas in Italy in terms of the quality and quantity of this precious fruit of the earth, which makes Montaione one of the “Truffle Cities”.
The Tartufesta festival, one of the most important event of the year in Montaione, takes place on the last two Sundays of October. Tartufesta, a market-exhibition of truffles and traditional local specialities, is an autumn festival that celebrates the “king of the table”. A true explosion of flavours and knowledge, the festival also showcases the excellence of the food and wine produced in the region. In addition to white truffles, there’s Chianti, pecorino and goat’s cheese, cured meats, as well as extra virgin olive oil, saffron, honey and jams. For almost thirty years, Tartufesta has taken over the centre of Montaione, with numerous exhibition sections for food and wine and traditional local crafts, and a vast programme of events and experiences of various kinds on offer for visitors and tourists. These include the TartuRé, La Via dei Sapori, the Arts & Crafts Market, the Ristoro del Tartufaio, as well as the Cooking Show, which features renowned chefs preparing dishes with truffles in front of the general public. Plus, there’s the TeatroinPiazza and the CookingArtShow, during which a chef and an artist give life to unique creations with artistic performances inspired by the preparation of a truffle recipe, not to mention walking tours to discover the region led by environmental guides, horseback riding, guided tours and tastings. And don’t forget that during the autumn months, you can sample delicious dishes featuring truffles in many of the restaurants in Montaione.
Promoted and organised by the Municipality of Montaione, in collaboration with local associations of traders and tour operators, Tartufesta is a showcase for the entire region, which is well aware of the importance of its food and wine tradition and the quality of local agricultural products. Along with a wealth of historical and cultural resources, these aspects represent the area’s historic and economic identity. During the Tartufesta visitors can immerse themselves in a real sensory journey to discover Montaione and its rich agricultural, historic, artistic, craft and cultural heritage.