'Pici': a wholly Tuscan traditionDid you know that...
'Pici': a wholly Tuscan tradition
Every year the Ministry of Food and Agriculture compiles a list containing elements that must be protected and safeguarded for their cultural importance and their deep bond with the traditions of Italian regions. And guess what Tuscan delicacy was added in 2018 to this appetizing inventory? A first course that, of course, immediately brings Tuscany to mind: pici. In fact, the request for inclusion was made by the municipalities of Valdichiana, the undisputed homeland of this dish. Do you know what it is? It is pasta noodles that according to the original recipe are made with just flour, water and salt. There are also some versions with eggs and olive oil ... but, as we said, the very original recipe is the simplest and most essential one. After all, this type of pasta represents a peasant and simple dish from the rural tradition.
There is also a precise term that describes the art of preparing these special noodles: 'apiciare'. This is precisely the operation that is carried out when working the dough made of water and flour with the palm of the hand so as to obtain the long and coarse spaghetti. It is obvious that especially in the past the whole procedure was the prerogative of housewives but today 'apiciare' is often carried out together with family members on the occasion of a special event or anniversary. They are also prepared during village festivals where pici are often, if not the main protagonist of the event, at least a respectable presence. Take a look at our Events section, you may find one during your stay in Tuscany!
The origin of this dish is really ancient and supposedly dating back to the Etruscans. This is arguably proved by the widespread use of this dish primarily in the south of Tuscany, Umbria and the upper Lazio region. But there is an even more interesting proof that would support the thesis of its Etruscan origin. In Leopardi’s tomb (5th century BC) at the archaeological site of Tarquinia, a banquet is painted in one of the walls where you can see a servant carrying a plate whose content perfectly resembles pici! But what’s more, this delicious dish could be given even more prestigious recognition: an application has in fact been submitted for pici to be given UNESCO world heritage status. While those in high places vet the nominations, we advise you to taste them in their many versions: with tomatoes, garlic, cheese and pepper or crumbs.
Is your mouth already watering? Well then, you know what you have to do. Book our 'Siena Food Tour' and you will taste the famous pici together with many other delicacies depending on the season. They might not all be as prized as pici, but we are sure that they will make it into your personal list of Tuscan favorite dishes. Enjoy your meal!
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