Autumn is synonymous with chestnuts in Tuscany, Italy. The harvest in the chestnut woods takes place throughout the months of October and November. During this period various Chestnut Festivals enliven towns and villages in the mountainous areas of Tuscany: the most popular being the northern Mugello, Mount Amiata, and the hamlet of Caprese Michelangelo.
=> An important word to learn for anyone who loves chestnuts is “marroni“. This is the word for the most prized Tuscan chestnut variety, with its crunchy and irresistible sweet pulp. (The more general word for chestnut is ‘castagna‘).
The “Marroni del Mugello” IGP and “Marroni di Caprese Michelangelo” DOP are the VIP’s of Tuscan chestnuts. Delicious when eaten roasted or boiled, and are also used to make marron glacé, cakes and desserts (like the typical castagnaccio) and ravioli.
Chestnut Festivals in Tuscany – the Mugello
PALAZZUOLO SUL SENIO – every Sunday in October 2019
The “SAGRA DEL MARRONE E DEI FRUTTI DEL SOTTOBOSCO” in Palazzuolo sul Senio – on the Apennines near the border with Emilia-Romagna – invites visitors to try chestnuts in every way, shape and form (as tortelli, roasted chestnuts, castagnaccio flat chestnut cake), together with other autumn flavours like mushrooms and various local products.
MARRADI – every Sunday in October
Near Palazzuolo, the MARRADI CHESTNUT FESTIVAL is another great opportunity to try traditional dishes of the Mugello (like polenta with mushroom) and all delicacies made with chestnuts: from jam, to tortelli, cakes and “bruciate” (roasted chestnuts).
Chestnut Festivals in the Mount Amiata area
At the foot of Mount Amiata, PIANCASTAGNAIO is an ancient village surrounded by centuries-old chestnut trees which boast the oldest of all Tuscan chestnut festivals, the “Crastatone” (usually the last days of October, days for 2023 TBA ).
ABBADIA SAN SALVADORE, close to the top of the Mount Amiata, hosts the lively “Festa di Autunno” (every year on the 2nd and 3rd Sunday October) celebrating not only chestnuts but also mushrooms and local products with plenty of food stands for every taste. You can also join guided walks through the woods in search of mushrooms and chestnuts. (see official site for more information).
Not far from the Mount Amiata, ARCIDOSSO celebrates the arrival of local chestnuts with the “LA castagna in festa” (usually the last 2 weekends of October).
CAMPIGLIA D’ORCIA every year organises the “Festa del marrone” on the last Sunday of October, where the village dresses up in festive colours and you can taste typical dishes and treats of all sorts.
=> Trip ideas? 5 Scenic Small Towns to visit in Autumn in Tuscany
Food lover? With this Florence Gourmet Tour you can discover the tasty side of Florence: taste delicious truffle sandwiches, artisan chocolate, olive oil, gelato and focaccia bread. And try some local Chianti wine, of course!
Caprese Michelangelo – Arezzo province
The small hamlet of CAPRESE MICHELANGELO is not only famous as the birth place of Michelangelo Buonarroti, but also for the top-quality marroni DOP produced here. Around the castle that dominates Caprese Michelangelo visitors have the chance to taste roasted chestnuts, jam, sweet polenta made with chestnut flour, and the typical ‘baldino‘ – a flat cake made with chestnut flour, walnuts and rosemary.
During the “FESTA DELLE CASTAGNE” local artisans will bring ancient crafts back to life for a full immersion in the long-standing traditions of this land.
Other areas in Tuscany for chestnuts
Casentino, especially in the Pratomagno area, is also rich in chestnut trees, and in the past chestnuts formed the basis of the diet for country people. Various towns in the Casentino in Eastern Tuscany organise Chestnut Festivals: usually in Stia, Talla, Raggiolo.
If you are visiting the Gargagnana, the mountainous area north of Lucca, check out local event calendars: usually chestnut festivals are held in Castelnuovo Garfagnana, Pieve Fosciana, Careggine, Pescaglia.