Thursday, June 6, 2019

Tuscany Journal: Settiponti

 bottles of I Bonsi oilive (photograph by Hallie Cohen)
The Settiponti is the main drag running through the Arezzo region of Tuscany that lies just over the hill from Florence. The name means seven bridges which may refer to the old Via Claudia which led from Florence to Rome, though the number remains a mystery considering the real number that actually exist. You pass through hilltop towns with names like Regello and Loro Cuifenna (where you can visit a museum devoted to a local painter and sculptor, Venturino Venturi). There’s even a place called the Settiponti which advertises itself as an American Bar right down the road form the Villa Cassia di Baccano in Guistinio Valdarno. By the way, this area of Tuscany can be accessed by taking a 30 minute train ride on the Rome train to S. Giovanni di Valdarno. Your modestly priced 5.7 Euro ticket will take you a long way into a universe of luscious sleepy towns which still produce olive oil through centuries old pressing processes that avoid the use of chemicals. Commodification, division of labor and economy of scale are another language when you visit the Fattoria I Bonsi, an establishment whose product sets the standard for what real extra virgin olive oil should be (acidity O.8 by the way). The landscape surrounding the ancient castle where the olives are harvested can reputedly be seen in the background of the 15thcentury master Fra Filippo Lippi who hailed from nearby Florence.

N.B.: read Francis Levy's short story, "Pet Buddha"in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. 

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