Since the Middle Ages there has been a tradition of hospitality and gastronomy in the territory making up the Mountain Community (Unione Montana dei Comuni del Mugello) of the Upper Mugello, the Mugello and the Sieve Valley.
Each town or hamlet to be found on the major roads, once they had become safe enough, became market towns for the sale of agricultural produce and local crafts.
Thus numerous 'Albergatori' (hotels) were opened to offer overnight hospitality to both travellers and their beasts. Here the travellers could make use of the tables and order wine, or be served meals, both frugal (soups and tripe) and substantial, as required.
There were also 'Osterie' (inns) offering the same services, in a rather more subdued tone and 'Taverne' (taverns) providing food and wine in abundance, but no accommodation.
These were all run in strict accordance with regulations (see 'Statuti dell'Arte degli Albergatori della città di Firenze e contado' (The Statute of the Company of Hotel-keepers of the city of Florence and surroundings) by L. Santini or 'L'Arte degli Albegatori a Firenze nel 1300' (The Company of Hotel-keepers in Florence in the fourteenth century) by A. Sapori ) concerning guidelines to relations not only between the different categories of establishment , but also on how to treat clients with the aim of maintaining in image of order and decorum.
It was, in fact, against the regulations for these establishments to place tables outside on the street, and ' at a distance beyond two feet from the entrance' it was forbidden to 'invite to sleep, eat or drink or buy or sell .....or to call out, both loudly and quietly, to sell wine, hay or other merchandise and not to show any wares to those passers-by needing accommodation....'
The territory of the Mugello - Sieve Valley has inherited from this period few, but important and typical dishes and wines, all of which are 'natural' tasting as made only with traditional ingredients, avoiding the stronger flavouring agents food and drink are full of nowadays.
Lovers of healthy, simple and tasty food are invited to come to this part of Tuscany – the Mugello to be exact – to discover not only the magnificent historical and architectonic landmarks in a setting of great natural beauty, but also traditional dishes and a variety of local produce that have maintained their authenticity to this day.
The gastronomy offered in these places that are closely connected with the city of Florence, fit in perfectly with a modern life-style where quality and authenticity are sought after: so why not finish off a visit to the castles, villas and churches or a walk in the woods at one of the restaurants along your way, and savour some of the traditional local dishes?