13 February 2011

Casalinga Lunch in Cortona, Italy

Cortona is a charming Etruscan and Medieval walled hilltop town that is easy to reach via the Italian train line between Rome and Florence. One hour and 23 minutes on the train from Florence, exit at Camucia, and take the 15-minute bus ride up to Cortona. 
Piazza Garibaldi e chiesa
Walled city and view
Of all the times I have been to Cortona, my most recent trip was the first time I visited Cortona when it was not crowded with tourists.  
Locals in the Piazza
Wear comfortable shoes since many streets are very steep, and you have the opportunity to walk several paths, either along the wall or out in the country.  
Typical Cortona streets
This particular day, though not a clear day for gorgeous views and photographs full of vibrant color, was still quite wintery, and I enjoyed breathing in the clean air from the hillside and the smell of wood-burning fireplaces.   Early in the day, we found a good local restaurant that we would return to for lunch.  
Trattoria Tacconi Agniolo and a local woman
We asked Graziella, the owner and cook of our "Cortonese typical food" restaurant, to save us a table at one o'clock.  It was necessary to do if we truly wanted to eat there since the restaurant has only five tables.  
Graziella showing the fegato (liver)
We then resumed our exploration and chose to climb uphill so we would work up an appetite for all the delicious homemade food we would eat a couple hours later.
Cortona views and streets
The restaurant is Trattoria Tacconi Angiolo (Via Dardano, 46, Cortona; phone: 0575.603588).  Deciding what to order wasn't easy.  Most of the dishes offered this day are dishes I enjoy.  Each region in Italy has its specialties.  This restaurant identifies its food as Cortonese style, but perhaps I am not yet experienced enough to tell the difference from Cortonese, Fiorentina, and Toscana food because all the dishes she was preparing were the same specialties in Florence. Graziella showed me the kitchen -- it was like being in their home -- and what she was preparing. 
Baccalá (salted cod in tomato sauce)
Fagioli (cannellini beans) on the back burner
The restaurant is called a trattoria (small restaurant), but it is really more like a casalinga (housewife, and also refers to a restaurant that serves homemade food and is very simple.)  It is like going home to eat at mom or grandma's house.  The atmosphere is no atmosphere.  That is how simple it is.  But the food is always delicious.  Tacconi is open only for lunch. Graziella does all the cooking, and her husband, Angiolo, serves your food. 
Graziella e Angiolo nella cucina
We took Angiolo up on his offer to order a half order of primi piatti (first plates) (3,50 euro) because we did not want to fill up before our second plates arrived. Oh, and the pasta comes from just across the street at the fresh pasta store.  
Fresh Pasta
I ordered pici (a long, hollow pasta) with fresh tomato sauce for my primo piatto and Arista di Maiale, which is a Cortonese and Florentine specialty of pork, and fresh spinach for my second.
Arista di Maiale
After lunch and stuffed to the gills, we walked along the wall and in the country for a good two hours to work off just how full we had become...well, that and also because we spotted a bakery we knew we would want to sample later in the afternoon.
Il Bramasole, Frances Mayes's house (Under the Tuscan Sun)
When you are ready to leave Cortona, I recommend you ask the bus driver his destination.  There are two buses that leave the same piazza at the same time.  Since only one bus was there, it did not occur to me to ask. We were engaged in conversation when all of a sudden I realized we had been on the bus too long and the road was unfamiliar.  I inquired of the bus driver where we were and where we were going.  Of course, everyone in the front of the bus got involved in the discussion between the bus driver and me.  Sure enough, we were on the wrong bus.  Luckily, we were heading in the right direction to return to Florence, and he let us off near another train station.  If it weren't for the fact that our train was five minutes in ritardo (late), we would have missed our train to Florence.
Oops!  Stazione Castiglion Fiorentino
Cortona has so much to offer, to see, and to do, yet I only touched on one of my favorite topics, food: where to eat with the locals and off the usual tourist map. We were the only non-Italians in the restaurant, and we enjoyed our food, the interaction with the locals, and our day overall.
-- Josslyn
Cortona, Italy

1 comment:

  1. i thank you make me possible to find the telephone number of Tacconi