Masaccio, the San Giovannese stew and the Marzocchina: these are the three symbols that identify the town of San Giovanni Valdarno more than others and they best represent its art, tradition and history. When summer gives way to autumn, these three elements come together in a fascinating union, giving to the city a unique atmosphere.
San Giovanni Valdarno is more than a place of history and tradition, it’s an authentic artistic treasure chest, cradle of one of the greatest masters of Renaissance: Masaccio. Even today, as you walk past his birthplace, you can retrace the steps of the famous painter and imagine his former world. Inside Masaccio’s house, art is still living through temporary exhibitions.
Nothing is more engaging than immersing yourself in the history and traditions of a country, capturing instants and moments of joy during events, festivals and celebrations. And this is how, at the beginning of September, San Giovanni Valdarno takes a step back in time: the streets come alive with vintage bicycles, vintage clothes and a contagious cheerfulness. It is the Marzocchina cycling tour, which offers the opportunity to explore the city and its surroundings from a unique perspective. For the occasion, usually impervious paths and trails open up to reveal the hidden treasures of this land.
La Marzocchina is an extraordinary event to discover the true essence of the Valdarno in a single experience: uncontaminated nature, culinary pleasure and art. Not only a journey through time to discover secret places, but also an opportunity for conviviality that allows you to taste the local wines and the traditional dish of the city, the acclaimed Sangiovannese stew.
The roots of the Sangiovannese stew date back to the early twentieth century, when some workers of local factories such as Ferriera, Ceramica and Fornaci Bagiardi occasionally experimented with a stew prepared with animal innards. It is said that one of these skilled cooks, later enlisted in the army and sent to Libya, became the cook of the regiment. This experience introduced him to spices and culinary arts on a large scale. Upon his return, he put into practice what he had learned, creating the stew which took the name of "Stufato alla Sangiovannese", because only here was it prepared with unique ingredients. This authentic dish can be enjoyed during the Marzocchina and other city festivities.
The best way to discover the authentic soul of San Giovanni Valdarno is to let yourself be guided by the five senses and drawn into the events that this city has to offer. Only in this way will it be possible to fully appreciate the rich artistic heritage, the fascinating history and the tasty traditions that make this destination unique in its kind.