Life in Lucignano

The rural traditions of Lucignano induce excellent food and folk events that animate the town throughout the year. Here you can taste wine, olive oil and Chianina beef, as well as dance to the rhythm of the traditional music during the days of the Maggiolata.

Il territorio

The territory of Lucignano has always been a land dedicated to agriculture. Many farms commit themselves in order to offer the best of their productions: wines of excellent quality, extra-virgin olive oil and in recent times also a limited but excellent production of honey, fruit and vegetables.

In addition to the numerous architectural and artistic beauties of the historic centre, Lucignano offers to the visitors an environment of great value which man has succeeded in modeling according to his own necessities, that can be enjoyed moving around by foot, horseback or mountain bike.



Food and Wines

The cuisine of Lucignano is linked to the agricul­tural tradition of the Valdichiana, and it uses the ingredients of the most classic and healthy Mediterranean cuisine. Usually the dishes are simple, not very elaborate, but with definite flavors and highly nourishing, because in olden times they had to cope with the intense exertions of the farmers who worked all day long in the fields. These dishes, skillfully re-elaborated, today represent the connection with the traditions of our ancestors, and the numerous restaurateurs of the village offer everyday those ancient and by now unusual flavors.

Starting from the hors-d’oeuvres, we can mention bruschetta, once known as panunto, a slice of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and spread with extra-virgin olive oil. More articulate are crostini neri (black canapés), the hors-d’oeuvres of special occasions, made with ground chicken’s liver and spleen. Among the first courses, our summer tables cannot lack a good plate of panzanella, a very simple dish with a base of stale bread, onion, basil, vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, which can be enriched with other vegetables. On the contrary, in winter a good bread soup containing vegetables, black cabbage and beans, good just cooked but excellent when heated up the next day: that is ribollita [meaning re-boiled; but also reheated cabbage and bean soup].

Moreover, among the first courses homemade pasta stands out, specially the pici, a type of homemade spa­ghetti that is the typical culinary expression of the Sienese Valdichiana and is superb when dressed with goose sauce. Once, meat was not served every day, how­ever housewives knew well how to cook stewed or roasted rabbit as well as prepared with fennel, rosemary, etc. exactly like all others barnyard animals. A place of primary importance was occupied by pork, which represented an essential source of protein for farming families. Hence, a remarkable tradition arose in the production of processed pork meats, with Tuscan salami, capocollo, rigatino, and salted ham. We must not forget Chianina breed cat­tle, which was once a work animal, but today is raised above all for the production of meat and is world famous for the famous Chianina steak.

Among the desserts we can recall ciambellini [ring-shaped cakes], which were once served only during Easter time, and are thus named due to their shape like a doughnut, and the gattò, from the French word gâteau, a dessert made from flaky pastry covered with cream, rolled out, and served cut into slices.

Events and Folklore

The Maggiolata, the May festi­val which more than any other distinguishes Spring in Lucignano, takes place on the last two Sundays of May. The first Maggiolata was celebrated in 1937 and took place in the austere simplicity of those times, with farm carts full of Spanish broom drawn by Chianina breed oxen decorated with ribbons and red tassels. The strong appeal to the farming world was lost in the post-war period, when the Maggiolata took on the organizational complexity of modern times. At present, it consists of a parade of allegorical floats, realized by the four districts of Lucignano, completely covered with flowers and accompanied by musical bands and folkloristic groups coming from all parts of Italy and even from abroad. The ancient Commander of the Guards, who opens the historic procession with soldiers, drummers, and clarion players, announces since early morning the beginning of the parade. The carroccio [cart], symbol of the Commune of Lucignano, drawn by Chianina breed oxen, brings up the rear of the parade.

The event catalyzes the commitment and participation of a large part of the population of the town. Every year, the four districts (Porta Murata, Porta S. Giusto, Porta S. Giovanni, and Via dell’Amore) work on a theme project that involves them for many months in order to realize the most original and elegant float and win the “Golden Griffin”. On the second Sunday, the manifestation concludes with the Battle of the Flowers, during which the floats are completely stripped and the residents throw flowers at each other, thus giving rise to an unusual and characteristic battle.

Another folkloristic appointment takes places in the month of September: Memories of the Past. This is a historic commemoration that enact scenes of the daily life of the end of the 19th century - beginning of 20th century. The last weekend of September, along the streets of the village, several artisan workshops bring back to life the trades and crafts of those times, while policemen, farmers and gentlemen in costume recreate the colorful and noisy atmosphere of the days of celebration. Jugglers, musicians and artists of various type animate every corner of the ancient village, while markets, taverns and restaurants delight us with perfumes and flavors that belong to the past.

In June the pro-loco association organizes Camminmangiando, an excursion which, starting from the village goes along country paths and leads to the Calcione Castle, that stands on north-western hills offering breathtaking views. The journey is divided into four sec­tions, at the end of each one there is a tasting of a typical dish: cold cuts and crostini at the first stop; pasta dressed with the exquisite and forgotten sauces of our tradition at the second stop; next grilled Chianina meats. Finally, after a short rest among centuries-old ilex trees with cantucci [hard almond biscuits] and vinsanto, a shuttle bus accompanies back to the starting point those who have exhausted their ener­gies for undertaking also the return by foot.

The night of San Lorenzo on August 10th, is celebrated with Calici di stelle, in the char­acteristic scenery of Piazza del Tribunale.

The Exhibition of Extemporary Painting takes place at the end of October. The theme is always Lucignano in its different aspects: the people, the monuments, the countryside with its colors and lights that give this village a particular halo of appeal and fascination.

The Fiera del Ceppo [Stump Fair] takes place on the weekend preceding Christmas. It is the occasion for promoting the typical products of our zone, from honey to sausages, from wines to extra-virgin olive oil. In this occasion the best olive oil of Lucignano is awarded and is organized the photographic contest ClickOliva.

Finally, Love signs, is a recent event that takes place at the Museum, in the Golden Tree Room, on February 14th, Saint Valentine’s Day. Lovers are invited to the Museum where a different show is organized every year.



san Francesco

Lucignano and the cinema

The corners, squares and views that offers Lucignano have often been the object of the attention of important film makers, who have not hesitated to transform the entire village into a movie set. Already in 1985 Mario Monicelli filmed the exteriors of his Le due vite di Mattia Pascal, freely adapted from the famous novel by Pirandello, which had the unforgettable Marcello Mastroianni as its protagonist.
During the summer 2009, Lucignano was transformed once again for a very important event. The Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami, recipient of many awards and for the first time outside of his own country, directed the film Copia conforme, inspired by an episode that he truly experienced. The great protagonists were the French actress Juliette Binoche, already Oscar winner as best supporting actress in The English Patient, and the English baritone William Shimmel. The film was presented at the Cannes Festival, where Juliette Binoche once again received an award.