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Chianina Farm near Florence

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Hello all,

It's my first posting on Chowhound! I have a pretty specific question, and I'm just not sure where else to ask it online. My parents are coming to travel with me in Europe, and we hope to do a private day trip from Florence in late September. They would really like to visit a farm that raises Chianina beef cattle and do a sampling of the different preparations of it. I know the Val di Chiana where the certified Chiana cattle are raised is quite a ways from Florence, but we are hoping to find something a bit closer. Does anyone out there know where we might find a place like this that offers what we are looking for? I have searched online for hours, and I can't seem to find anything.

Thank you for your help!
Katie

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  1. This place too far?

    http://www.agriturismo-casanova.it/en...

    You might be able to significantly cut the cost of the excursion by taking a train from Florence to Siena (90 minutes) and having a taxi take you to the farm, which appears to be about 45 minutes from the Siena train station. Either the taxi driver will be willing to give you his number so you can call him for a pick up, or the farm owners would call a driver for you, although you might want to work that out with them in advance.

    I can't tell by reading their website if they do lunches or serve food to people other than guests. Even if they ordinarily do not, you might be able to negotiate that with them directly. Even if you only want to thank the cows and nibble, you should contact them in advance of arriving to be sure they are available that day.

    (If you want to make purchases to take home, I think you need to check what current law is about bringing Italian meat products into your home country, even if it is vacuum packed. Don't know.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: barberinibee

      That's a little bit further than we were hoping for, but it looks beautiful. I will keep it in mind. Thanks!!

      1. re: katieicebaby

        This farm is closer to Florence and it breeds Chianina cattle as well as other livestock, but I don't see any option to eat there or buy

        http://www.agriturismocolombaia.com/e...

        Occurs to me to add that instead of the cost of a driver to anywhere far enough from Florence to permit cattle raising, you might consider grabbing your toothbrushes and going to an agriturismo in the late afternoon by train+ taxi to eat and spend the night. That way you could tour the production and eat dinner. The costs of rooms in agriturismi are generally so modest that I am guessing such a plan is cost competitive with hiring a roundtrip private driver out of Florence for many hours, even if you are leaving behind an empty hotel room in Florence for a night.

        This would especially be true if you were already planning to visit Siena or one of the Chianti wine towns as a day trip. (Or see Cortona or Chiusi.) You could go there for the day by public transportation as planned, but instead of heading back to Florence for dinner, head to the agriturismo by taxi. Go back to Florence in the morning, via taxi+train.

        1. re: barberinibee

          Yes, I wish I had thought to plan like that actually. We might just give up and visit a cheesemaker instead. That would also be of interest to us.

          Thanks for your help! I really do appreciate it!

    2. are you and your parents more interested in visiting an active farm or tasting the local foods? Realistically, you can eat chianina beef or a variet of tuscan cheeses while in florence - however if you want to visit farms or cheese producers, the day trip approach makes sense - in that context, the first place @barberinibee mentioned is certainly close enough - you can cover a lot of ground in a day and its probably not more than 1-1.5 hrs away by car (its been many years since Ive driven in this area) - you could also most likely find a cheesemaker to visit in the same general area since tuscan pecorinos are made in the area SE of Siena (down toward Pienza/Montepulciano. Some people like visiting the butcher shops and restaurants of celebrity butcher Dario Cecchini in Panzano which offer chianina beef - another famous butcher shop, that of Falorni, is in Greve. Both are in the chianti classico zone. Here's some info about Pecorino making near Pienza, but a commercial tour is likely not the only way to visit these places. http://www.emiliadelizia.com/pecorino....

      8 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb

        Thanks for the pecorino tips. I am aware of the Chianina beef possibilities in Florence. We'd much rather visit the farms and sample it locally. My parents are farmers and would like to visit farms in the region, but we only have a day. We'd like to avoid big tour buses as that's not really our thing.

        I've found prices in Tuscany to be outrageous compared to other regions in and out of the country. We might just do a winery tour or something similar and save our countryside explorations for Slovenia instead.

        Thanks for all of your help.

        1. re: katieicebaby

          Im totally with you on the tour buses - I would think you could simply rent a car for a day and travel on your own in the region. Its not a large area, driving is not difficult and its beautiful agricultural country with many agriturismi in addition to those bb mentioned as well as lovely hill towns to explore. worth a little research in any event .

          1. re: jen kalb

            Id venture to say that most of the commercial food tourism in italy is small scale (for example a car and driver taking you around) rather than buses On one trip,. we stayed at an agriturismo near Parma that raised dairy cattle. We toured their facility, and the lady also drove us over for a tour of the cheese factory which made parmesan cheese from their milk, and had an adjoining pig operation (which we also visited) that fed the whey from the cheese making - these pigs were eventually turned into prosciutto di parma and other local products. We then snacked on samples of the parmigiano reggiano made in the factory.

          2. re: katieicebaby

            If you check in again, kateicebaby, I confess I'm curious to know if your parents raise cattle or what kind of farming they do. Small places producing olive oil are only a half hour bus ride away from Florence, and I'm thinking it might not be hard to track down nearby some other small producers cultivating typical Tuscan products that might satisfy your parents' interest, not only wineries. It's just beef that is tough (so to speak).

            1. re: barberinibee

              They raise beef cattle now, but we used to raise dairy cattle. We've had pigs, chickens, and lots of crops. My mom just wrote today to say they are interested in just visiting any type of farm or farms.

              As my folks are older, they don't want to do a ton of walking which is why I thought we might hire a driver-guide. I will also be doing most of the driving when we do have car rentals on our one month trip, and I thought that maybe I could relax a bit this one day in Tuscany. But maybe hiring a driver isn't the way to go.

              Thanks so much to the both of you for your responses!!
              -K

              1. re: katieicebaby

                Here is an organic farm that is very close to Florence that also has a restaurant that serves lunch, so that could be part of tasting the products. They have a link to contact them to get information about arriving using public transportation.

                http://www.laginestra.toscana.it/?lan...

                This farm doesn't have a helpful website, but they raise cattle, pigs and chickens and they are quite close to Florence, near the outlet malls, so there is public transportation (up to a point

                )

                http://www.massoserpente.it/massoIngl...

                This agriturismo is very devoted to being touristic: they give tours of their farm in a small tractor, have a farm-implement museum, but the mainly produce wine and fruits. Again, there is public transportation up to a point.

                http://www.castiglionchio.it/testi_en...

                If you don't want to drive, you can take a train to Vicchio and there is a pig farm that is a 5 minute taxi ride from the Vicchio train station

                http://www.ilmurettoagriturismo.com/i...

                In Fiesole, which is reachable by a short bus ride, there is a farm in Fiesole that specializes in saffron cultivation among other products

                http://www.poggioalsole.net/eng/eng-p...

                and also in Fiesole in Fattoria di Maiano, which is very touristic, and gives olive oil tours and a didactic farm tour, but probably charge for it

                http://www.fattoriadimaiano.com/en/ma...

                There is such a density of farms open to the public near Florence that if you do decide to rent a car or hire a driver for half a day, you could visit several in a small area quite easily if you compiled a list of addresses ahead of time.

                You can go blind looking for places, but this is a website where you can specify that you are looking for a farm that sells typical products in the province of Florence, and you can further narrow the search to farms with a restaurant and an educational tour.

                http://www.agriturismo.it/en/farmhous...

                The area of Mugello which is just north of Florence is almost nothing but farms (and mall shopping and a race track!). The link below is a long list of where to buy typical food products of the region and isn't exclusively farms (it includes bakeries and butchers). But if you scroll through the pages, you can zero in on descriptions of many farms and what they sell, and look up their websites with a google search. Maybe you could scope out in an advance an area in Mugello that would be good for a half'day auto tour of a variety of farms

                http://www.mugellotoscana.it/details/...

                Good luck! I think all these farmers would be really interested to meet your parents. It is very rare that the people who visit their farms are fellow farmers.

                1. re: barberinibee

                  Wow!! I am blown away! I could not say thank you enough. I will explore all of these options. I really appreciate your efforts, barberinibee!

                  My brother, also a farmer, has traveled with me a few different times, and we've worked in a few farms visits. It seems the local farmers are just as excited to meet him as he is to meet them!

                  1. re: katieicebaby

                    Niente. I have been thinking about poking around Mugello, and I like farm stays -- and I like farmers! Hope you find something simple and enjoyable to do with your parents.

        2. The suggested agriturismo Casanova (barberinibee) has 5 rooms, and you can actually eat there too (chianina beef, of course) without spending the night, if they have at least 4 people. Write and ask Vicky at info@agriturismo-casanova.it
          We are going to spend the night and dine there in Sept. Look at their website, wonderful pics of the white cows. Can't wait!

          1. Ciao- I live in tuscany-- would be glad to help. I worked with Dario and he does not sell chianina-- except for the ones that he raises with the Fontodi winery in Panzano. I am sure i can arrange a visit.
            But if you want a larger chianina farm--- i also know of one in tavernelle. There is a restaurant in Florence that serves chianina-- that comes from a local farm- let me find out which farm.
            putting together the farm and eating there too- is a big deal, not all are agriturismi.

            My friend has a farm out near San Gimignano, and they may be the place.

            1. http://fattoriapoggioalloro.com/la-fa... this may be perfect--