The tale of the truffle, regional reminiscences: Tuscany
Following the thrust of the Truffle Research Center, even Tuscany, already in the eighties, began its “truffle” awakening thanks also to the contribution of the Experimental Institute for Forestry in Arezzo on which the aforementioned Center depended as provided for by the Ministry. Arezzo, however, was not a recognized truffle area but the story was in its favor since his noble son Francesco Petrarca had mentioned it in the ninth of his sonnets.
As director of this institute, we immediately made contact with those areas of the region where the tradition of truffles had long been known. San Miniato in the province of Pisa, where we immediately found solid connections with the institutions, the Crete Senesi and then the Mugello but the areas of Valtiberina were certainly not neglected where we met those who really knew about truffles at all levels: Pino Crestini by Sestino. For the occasion, the idea of hiring him as an employee of the Research Center was brilliant and we must admit that he later proved to be exceptional for the success of numerous scientific and practical researches. With his help, we were able to study the ecology of the white truffle in central Italy.
Pino knew perfectly the numerous production areas by virtue of his experience as a truffle hunter and a detailed map came out with all the necessary information, botanical, edaphic, topographical and meteorologists that we were thus able to know where, how and when the white truffle could be at our disposal.
In the most well-known areas there was a continuous meeting with the operators of the sector and conferences were held almost everywhere with the interest of the experts and those who glimpsed new perspectives in this sector. In San Miniato and San Giovanni D’Asso (SI) educational courses were repeatedly active with many participants who often obtained certificates recognized even by the region. Near Siena, near the forest nursery “Il Campino”, a center was built for the production of truffle plants. In the Pisan area, work was carried out for years to improve the existing natural truffle fields.
In Tuscany, the promotional activity of the product was flourishing and not only through the many national but strategic exhibitions was the world truffle auction held in Mugello in video link with all parts of the world. Together with Beppe Bigazzi, well-known face of television, and Carlo Raspollini (head of the authors of Linea Verde, Uno Mattina, La Prova del cuoco) we organized this event of great media depth and for which occasion we published two important volumes concerning the Tuscan truffle . In very elegant typography and also translated into English, the two volumes immediately became tools for promoting tourism in many parts of the world.
On our recommendation, the Region created a series of pilot experimental truffle fields almost everywhere that served as a starting point and practical example for agricultural entrepreneurs who intended to invest in this sector.