The hills stretching from San Miniato to Palaia and Peccioli, then bending downwards to Volterra, are a perfect environment for the growth of the white truffle. The vegetation and trees of the area generate an ideal climateand an ecosystem left uncontaminated even today. This area is home to an abundance of white truffles, the most prestigious of the tubers, and a substantial truffle harvest takes place between October and November, yielding dozens and dozens of kilograms’ worth. Between January and April, however, the same area celebrates the Marzuolo Truffle and in Summertime the Scorzone black truffle .
San Miniato is one of Europe’s most expansive area for truffles. Regulated by a strict regional law that clearly sets the terms for harvesting and sales, the white truffle of San Miniato has been well-known since medieval times. But it’s only in the last 100 years or so that the harvesting activities have been organized by domestic groups, known as the tartufai, or truffle hunters.
The Associazione Tartufai delle Colline Sanminiatesi (San Miniato truffle hunters’ association) is Tuscany’s largest group of its kind and the second largest at the national level. Its goal is to protect the product and safeguard its environment, aiming to valorize the long history and culture of the truffle.
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For half a century, in November, the National White Truffle of San Miniato Show transforms the old town into an open-air tasting workshop. Truffle is displayed in Piazza del Duomo, streets and squares, with typical local flavours and specialities from other Italian culinary cities. Smaller and hidden festivals take place in October in little villages around, such as Corazzano or Balconevisi (not to miss the goose race). In March the early Marzuolo truffle can be tasted in Cigoli, birthplace of the painter Lodovico Cardi.
Truffle hunting in the area around Volterra is permitted in woods, but not on farmed land. There are regulated truffle-grounds. The truffle hunter organization of Val di Cecina unites the truffle hunters of Volterra and surroundings in order to preserve and protect the lands. White truffle hunting season closes generally end of December but from mid-January on it’s still possible to go through the woods and pick marzolini or marzuoli truffle. Its name derives from the Italian word for the month of March. These truffles are not as aromatic or prized as their relatives; however, they are delicious chopped and added with a dash of extra virgin olive oil. The association organizes Volterra Gusto, a gastronomic kermesse showing the three types of truffle (marzuolo, black and white) in different periods of the year.
Associazione Tartufai San Miniato
Consorzio Turistico Volterra valdicecina