It's that time of the year again. I still try to hang on to summer, but latest with Monticello's chestnut festival on the horizon I know I have to let it go. It's autumn, and it's time to grab a jacket and drive up the road to see what our neighbors in Monticello are up to. 

Hilltop village Monticello in front of Mount Amiata
Monticello and mount Amiata (to the left) seen from Cinigiano

Once I pass the first chestnut groves on the way up, I'm at peace with the changing season. Just the idea of all those roasted chestnuts waiting for us. No need saying it, the inside of the prickly fruits are the perfect match for countless glasses of Tuscany's Montecucco wine (the DOCG of this area).

And how nice that I'll have a whole winter to try myself at making Necci (a chestnut flour pancake) or baking Castagnaccio (a sweet chestnut flour cake). In the last 13 years in Tuscany, I haven't been able to get the recipe right once. 

Chestnut grove near Monticello Amiata in Southern Tuscany
Chestnut grove on the way to Monticello Amiata
The three days of Monticello's chestnut festival are just the type of event that make a simple soul like me happy: street bands, food stalls, kids' entertainment and lot's of locals drinking and shouting around till late at night. 

For the hardcore chestnut aficionado, once you've eaten and drunk yourself through Monticello's stands and restaurants, drive onward to Arcidosso. 15 minutes on a beautiful curvy mountain road, and hey look at this, another chestnut festival

By now, you should be getting the message. Chestnuts are less frequently cited in connection with Tuscany than red wine or extra virgin olive oil; but actually - no way people could have gotten through the harsh winters in the region's mountains without this unpretentious fruit. For centuries chestnuts were the staple food for a big part of the Tuscan population.  

MONTICELLO AMIATA, Sagra della Castagna, October 12 to 15 2012
Detailed info about the events during the three days can be found on Monticello's Tourism site. Albeit, only in Italian. But no worries, you'll get by. There is a growing English speaking expat community in Monticello. Just ask around. 

Need a place to stay? Beautiful Le Pianore farmstay is in close reach of Monticello. You don't like hotels? Buy a house. Monticello Amiata has a great number of flats and houses on sale (which explains the growing expat community). With Monticello's amazing view over half of Southern Tuscany, why do all the locals move away? I don't know, but I'm sure my Tuscan native would have a few ideas...

House on sale in Monticello Tuscany
Your next home?
Monticello Amiata in Southern Tuscany

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