Siena has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995 when it was recognized for its extraordinary ability to preserve and its historical authenticity, which allows those who visit it to almost take a journey through time and Italian history. It is a city that has fixed its medieval soul in time infinitely and indelibly, preserving architecture, c...

As the world reawakens and travel calls, wine lovers can set sights on no better destination than a region of Italy steeped in traditions that have been honed and crafted in alignment with present-day innovations. Naturally protected atop a stunning hill surrounded by dense forest, Montalcino is one of the richest agricultural terroirs in the world...

At first glance, this super-sized garlic bulb might recall the whimsy of the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Or it might not even seem edible at all, resembling more of an object  –  an ornament to bedeck the desk of a food lover. The Slow Food-protected Aglione (large garlic) delle Val di Chiana, an area of Tuscany sprawled between Siena and Arezzo, belon...

The Uffizi Gallery in Florence used the winter COVID shutdown to push ahead with renovations, discovering lost frescoes that will greet visitors when the leading repository of Italian Renaissance art reopens on May 4. Uffizi director Eike Schmidt said the six months of closure were put to good use: renovating 14 new rooms that will open to the publ...

Olive oil, widely used in Italian cuisine, has ancient origins dating back to the dawn of the earliest civilizations. Indeed, the first evidence of the use of oil goes back to 4000 BC in Armenia, Palestine, and even India where, beyond food feed, it was also used as an ointment, for lamps and for therapeutic purposes. Later, in 2500 B.C., the famou...

Montepulciano has very ancient roots. Its origins date back to the times of the ancient Etruscans and legend has it that the town was founded by Lars Porsenna, Chiusi’s Etruscan lucumone. The first actual date of its birth goes back to a written document dated 715 AD, in which the town is known as Mons Politianus. The little village was disputed fo...

Have I ever told you how much I love Chianti? Yeah, I thought so. But please indulge me while I spend a few minutes talking about my affection for this old Italian standard … and tell you about another good one that cost me just over $10. Chianti first caught my attention a long time ago, possibly before I was old enough to buy it legally. I would...

A priceless set of medieval relics stolen from a seminary on the outskirts of Siena in 1989 has been recovered, Italian art cops said Thursday. The San Galgano Reliquary was made in 1200 out of gold, silver and enamel. It was stolen along with another 10 works of sacred art of an inestimable value. All the works, property of the dioceses of Siena,...

Many years ago, when I was living in the town of Pietrasanta, located on the coast of northern Tuscany, a friend visited from London. Sitting down in a local trattoria, she asked the waiter to surprise her with something traditional. The waiter was so pleased with this request and promised her he would bring a local delicacy!  When the plate was pl...

When you write a book, people ask you what it’s about. When people ask me about Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure, I tell them that it’s the story of a disheartened American who arrives in Italy on holiday and decides he never wants to leave—pretty much what’s written on the back cover. That’s accurate and appropriate from a traditional book mark...