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Description

Itinerary: Marina di Pisa, Capannoli, Toiano (Palaia), San Miniato

We propose an innovative and alternative itinerary in companies that use the snail for gastronomic or cosmetic products.

It starts from the Pisan coast, more precisely from Marina di Pisa where, inside the San Rossore Regional Park, there is the breeding of the “Consortium The Snail in the Park“.
The consortium, the only one in Italy inside a protected park, is a reference point for the production of snails for gastronomic and cosmetic use. The snails grow in a healthy environment, in order to guarantee a fresh and quality product, Cruelty Free. The consortium is also an educational and cultural center, open to visits to discover the world of heliculture: how snails are raised, what they do during their day, how and why they produce burr.

From the coast we move to Capannoli, among the green hills of the Valdera, where we also recommend a visit to the Museums of Villa Baciocchi (zoological and archaeological museum surrounded by a beautiful park).
In the lower part of town there is the company Arcenni Tuscany, whose snail farm extends over 2 hectares with open-field fences, where a natural habitat has been recreated where snails can reproduce and grow under control with a pesticide-free diet. The snails, used only for gastronomic purposes, are ready to be cooked. The breeding is open to visits, it also organizes tastings of snails combined with wine and local products

Moving towards Palaia, a pretty medieval village in the Valdera, we continue towards the area of the Toiano gullies. Below the small village, now uninhabited, is the Helix Valdera farm, which breeds full-cycle organic snails according to the guidelines of the International Heliciculture Institute of Cherasco, to which it is associated. The company uses snails for cosmetic and gastronomic purposes. Besides being open to visitors, it has a small agricultural restaurant.

The itinerary ends in San Miniato, a place of excellence for white truffles. After a visit to the historic center that offers an interesting museum tour, continue towards the village of Balconevisi, where in October the palio dei paperi is run. Here is the Azienda Agricola Chiocciola di Bacco, which in addition to the activity of horticulture carries out a social function by inserting disadvantaged people in the world of work. The company uses snails for both gastronomic and cosmetic purposes. The company is open to visits with tasting of the products in the shop.

Sights

Maybe you didn’t know, but snail breeding (heliculture) was already present in many historical studies on the local social life of the Pisan territory.
If before, however, it was used only as food, it is now also used as a natural cosmetic product.

The snail meat is a nutritious and delicious food, rich in proteins with a high biological value and low in fat, excellent for those who follow a diet. Snail meat contains calcium, magnesium and zinc in significant quantities for daily food requirements.

Scientific studies have also shown the importance of the snail in the aesthetic field. The pure snail burr has regenerative and antioxidant properties, it nourishes human skin tissues, improving their tone and elasticity. Its combination of chemical elements reduces skin blemishes: acne, stretch marks, skin spots, scars, burns. Finally, another use of snail mucus in the pharmaceutical field, is that of the production of syrups to combat pathologies linked to both respiratory and gastric apparatus.

 

For fans of snails there are some well-established festivals:one at the end of May in Vicopisano, one in Casale Marittimo at the end of July and finally, the most recent one, in Santa Maria a Monte in mid-September with a cooking show.