Cuisine in the land of the Medici
The Mugello is a huge valley closed in on the north by the Apennine mountains, on the south by the spur made up by Mount Giovi and Mount Senario which divide it from the valley of Florence, and on the west by Mount Calvana beyond which the city of Prato and its surroundings extend.
This valley was once extremely rich in game: deer, roe-deer, wild boar, hare, wild duck and geese; the many rivers and streams were well-stocked with barbell, roach, eel, trout and prawns. The Ligurian Magelli, the Etruscans and the Romans had settlements here, and later after the Dark Ages, the medieval families of the Guidi and the Ubaldini made their homes here.
After 1300 the Mugello passed a period of rapid development as a rural area of the Florentine Republic. A certain Morelli (1371-1444), native of this land, wrote this description of the beauties and the produce of the Mugello in his Chronicle of the Fourteenth Century (Cronaca Trecentesca):
The Medici family, and, in particular Lorenzo the Magnificent, have left many signs of their dominance in the Mugello, not only with their buildings (notably the VILLA OF CAFAGGIOLO at Barberino, the CASTLE OF THE TREBBIO at San Piero a Sieve, the PALACE OF THE VICARI at Scarperia) but their presence also remains visible in agriculture - the fields and the woods planted with their taste for geometric patterns, and the system of irrigation.
Today, after many centuries, the Mugello still maintains this tradition and many farms of this territory breed cattle, sheep and also horses:
The annual FIERA AGRICOLA MUGELLANA (Agricultural Fair of the Mugello), continues the tradition of the markets of the Mugello and gives us an overall view of the local agricultural activities with several important zootechnical exhibitions (the national, regional and provincial shows of the Limousine beef cattle and the Frisone milk cow) as well as expositions of other products and machinery.