To learn more, we travelled to the Montalbano hills to meet Michela Bottasso, chef of Biagio Pignatta restaurant. In the Renaissance period, the hamlet of Artimino was a Medici property, along with the hunting reserve annex. In 1596, Fernando I commissioned famous architect Bernardo Buontalenti to build a Villa. Originally constructed as a hunting residence, it was completed very quickly and the court of the Grand Duke with the Duchess, Christina of Lorraine, moved to this estate. Known as Villa La Ferdinanda or Villa of the 100 chimneys, it’s today an UNESCO property and part of a 732 hectare wine estate with a hotel and a restaurant.
Located along the Carmignano wine route, today Artimino is a perfect place to sample high quality traditional Tuscan cuisine as well as to discover fascinating stories and tastes from the Medici court.
"The practice of cooking meat with fruits has Arabian origins; it later spread to Spain and then came to Florence in the Middle Ages. In Florence, the orange duck was known as Papero al Melarancio and was much appreciated at the Medici court. At the time of the Medici, whole ducks were cooked in the oven, but in my recipe I recommend using only duck breasts." Here is Michela's version of the famous Duck à l'orange: