The charming hamlet of Artimino – worth a visit just for the spelt soup
The charming hamlet of Artimino
worth a visit just for the spelt soup….
Tuscany is full of hidden jewels and the medieval hamlet of Artimino is one of them. Positioned a very convenient 25 minutes from the centre of Florence, it is a perfect location for a lazy drive into the countryside. Throw in a wonderful lunch at ‘Da Delfina’, a walk through the grounds of the Medici Villa and a stroll through the village itself and you have all of the components for a memorable and magical day.
The history of the hamlet dates back to the Etruscan Era but it was in the Renaissance period when the Medici family took over the entire hamlet that it really came alive. Buontalenti was the architect commissioned to build the Villa ‘La Ferdinanda’ which the family then used as one of their hunting lodges. The fact that most of the hunting was done in the colder months led to the name ‘The Villa of 100 Chimneys’ which you will see standing proudly, dotted all over the massive roof of the villa. It is privately owned but the gates are normally always open and you can walk around the gardens and through the ground levels open internal courtyard.
Lunch … dont miss ‘Da Delfina’. This restaurant is ‘heaven on a hilltop accompanied by great wine and authentic Tuscan food‘. Carlo the owner would argue ‘ Non è Toscano è la cucina Artinimese!‘ which means, ‘Its not Tuscan food, its Artimino food‘ which, is actually correct. He is so loyal to his heritage and the family tradition of the restaurant. It’s actually named after his grandmother ‘Delfina’ who used to sit in the entrance in her apron shelling peas. He is adamant that only the best quality ingredients, local ingredients and seasonal dishes are served and the majority of his wines are local.
Summer on the panoramic terrace with a breathtaking 180° view, winter inside where you will be greeted by the enormous spit roast crackling away in the kitchen. Here you will understand exactly what ‘Slow Food’ means. Leave a few hours for lunch, enjoy every morsel of incredible yumminess that is served here! Of course the menu varies but always includes dishes such as the famous ‘Bistecca Fiorentina’, the slow cooked goat is one of my favourites, ‘Dino’ which is deer, guinea fowl, pheasant, rabbit, wild boar both as a main course or as a rich pasta sauce. All of the pasta, including melt in your mouth ravioli is made in house of course and many of the vegetables are actually grown in the vegetable garden situated at the front of the restaurant. He is generous with his servings and often brings out samples of dishes to try and its so clear that he is proud of his kitchen. Desserts are amazing (the icecream with 4 fruit sauces is one of my all time favourites) and the wine as mentioned is mostly local. Try the ‘Barco Reale’ or the ‘Carmignano’ and you cant go wrong, If you are curious about trying a Super Tuscan then the Tenuta di Capezzana ‘Gaia della Furba’ is one you won’t forget. It’s actually on my Top 10 favourite Tuscan wines.
After your grappa and coffee help your digestion and take a stroll through the little village. There isn’t a lot to see but thats the whole point, you are in a hamlet and not on 5th Ave NY!
For fast eaters and those that want to power on through the afternoon then a wine tasting and cellar tour at the local ‘Tenuta di Capezzana’ would be a great way to spend the afternoon. They also have a working ‘frantoio’ here (means Oil mill) where, from about mid November you may be so lucky to see the olives actually being pressed. Buy the olive oil, buy the wine…. it’s all fabulous and in their little shop they also have a fantastic range of different coffee table and cook books.
This is a great day, one that I have done many times, both with family and friends and with clients and it’s one that will gives you those little ‘wow am I dreaming, this is too beautiful to be true’ moments.
Artimino Estate ( they look after the villa)
Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, 1
59015 Artimino – Carmignano – PO – Italia
Tel. +39 055 875141
Da Delfina – Via della Chiesa, 1 – ARTIMINO – 59015 (Firenze) Tel. 055 87 18 074 – Fax 055 87 18175
Call Carlo and make a reservation beforehand. A small group may be lucky enough to get in without a reservation, but depending on the time of year better to book.
Tenuta di Capezzana
Via Capezzana, 100, 59015 Carmignano (PO)
Tel: +39 055 8706005
For Tuscan rental accommodation near to here ( Florence itself is only a 25 min drive away) have a look here on my website or at these links
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