Two sprawling lands are united in the pursuit of flavour, to promote the great and the good of their produce. This is the aim of a convention signed by Toscana Promozione Turistica (www.toscanapromozione.it) and the Langhe Monferrato Roero Tourism Body, which has given life to the enogastronomic itineraries that span the areas of the Val d’Orcia (www.terredisienalab.it), Valdichiani (www.valdichianaliving.it) and Langhe Monferrato Roero (www.langheroero.it – www.astiturismo.it).
These landscapes, unique enough to have been recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, have nurtured inimitable products like the Rosso Nobile wine and white truffles, which grow spontaneously in these lands that seem destined to produce what the Greeks and Romans considered the “food of the Gods”.
The most highly-prized fungus in the world, the Tuber Magnatum Pico is “a miracle of the soil, which grows without roots and cannot seed”. So wrote Pliny in his Naturalis Historia on the fungus that is as exclusive and precious as the habitat in which it grows. It is a perfect synthesis of the unicum that these areas represent: art, culture, history and an enogastronomic tradition.
These are also the homelands of some of the wines that have helped write oenological history: Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano and the ‘ancient’ Moscadello, which has been drunk since at least the Renaissance; Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera d’Asti, to name only a few others.
Tuscany and Piedmont both have a strong tradition of peasant cuisine, and each has spawned some great dishes: from pici to agnolotti al plin, from peposo to brasato and some extraordinary produce, including the cinta senese PDO sausage and the salsiccia di Bra, the ‘cacio’ di Pienza and the Robiola di Roccaverano PDO goat cheese. And then there are the meats that are crown the glories of the table, be it Chianina (veal from central Italy, certified PGI) or the fassona beef.
The agreement marks the start of a virtuoso collaboration that has made exchanges possible between the National White Truffle Exhibition in San Miniato and the International Alba White Truffle Fair.
The project entitled ‘Discover the Differences’ made its first appearance on 30 October at the Italian Luxury Workshop in New York, and today it was presented to the Italian market, during the Borsa Internazionale del Turismo.
The convention individuated 10 operators specialising in incomings, 7 in Tuscany and 3 in the Langhe Monferrato Roero area. The aim is to launch new high-end tours onto the market, centred on enogastronomy, art and the outdoors.
The packages that have been designed extend from a minimum of 5 days to a maximum of 2 weeks, and are focused on luxury offers in various forms: art and culture, enogastronomy itself, outdoor pursuits (biking and trekking), and helicopter flights for moving from one place to another.
A shining example of collaboration and networking between two publicly-oriented tourism promotion agencies and private operators, it presents a unique, complete and high-quality product to the international markets.
Director of Toscana Promozione Turistica, Francesco Palumbo, commented: “What we wanted to celebrate with this agreement was Italy’s food-farming and natural heritage, and we wanted to celebrate it by opening up a type of tourism that, in the midst of all this quality, can exploit a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover two areas that are famous throughout their world for this enogastronomic bounty. This is the way we aim our tourism promotion, even when dealing only with Tuscany and its provinces, uniting energies and new methods to better tell our story to the tourists of the world, to translate what Tuscany has to offer into a tangible product, competitive and innovative and aimed outwards at foreign markets”.
Luigi Barbero, president of the Langhe Monferrato Roero Tourism Body, added: ‘These two destinations, with such varied territorial produce on the international markets, make for an innovative, intelligent marketing experience. An experience which, thanks to the involvement of the operators, has cohered into a luxury offer. One of the objectives that we are striving for is the competitiveness of an integrated, made-in-Italy product, defined by its quality and exclusivity.”
“Tuscany,” said the Tuscan Regional Councillor Stefano Ciuoffo, “is a paragon of good living, founded on the enogastronomic tradition and the care for and promotion of the environment. New actions and efforts like this are all geared towards exalting certain aspects or areas within it, and we have complete confidence in its lucrative potential.”
The initiative also involved Lorenza Bonaccorsi, the undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities with the Directorate-General for Tourism, who commented: ‘This is an excellent representation of the philosophy on which we believe that our nation’s tourism politics should operate. Tourism is one of Italy’s largest industries, and we face huge global competition. We have to be able to present the beauty and the other things that our land has to offer in a systematic way. The partnership between Langhe and Tuscany represents this drive, which will become more and more vital in our sector as time goes on, for an experiential, sustainable tourism that creates wealth and leaves that wealth to the land that raised it. Ours is a kind of tourism that must always aim at quality, more and more so, and we have to be able to raise the bar of what we can offer. This is the challenge of the coming years.”
Photos by Martino Dini