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I'm always impressed when somebody knows a lot of flower names. I know about three of them (tulips, roses, and there was one more...). But the thing that I really envy is people who don't just recognize a particular plant, but also know whether it's edible, poisonous or something in between. 

The Tuscan villages are full of such geniuses, who - in the form of old ladies -  spend spring mornings trotting along the road side to pick bunches of herbs and salad greens that look like common grass to me. It's a
science really, and I'm relieved to see that efforts are made to passing the knowledge on to the next generation. 

In March and April hands-on foraging lessons take place around Monticchiello in the heart of the Val d'Orcia. The beautiful village is best known for its teatro popolare (the fun theater performances of the locals) and for its vicinity to Pienza, the ideal Renaissance city of pope Pius II . 

Flyer of the foraging course in Monticchiello, Val d'Orcia
From wild fennel to mint:
recognizing is one thing, but what to do with them? 


The lessons are organized with the support of the local theater group. The introduction takes place on the 23rd of March at 5.30pm in the historic town center of Monticchiello. An aperitif prepared with wild herbs will be served by the end of the presentation. Cost of the entire course is 90€ and it may be worth to wander along even if you don't understand a lot of Italian (the important thing is to learn how to recognize the plants and match them with their Latin name - you can google the rest). 
For further information call Caterina: +39 331 410 77 38. 

As an alternative, plant lovers with little time in the area can book a foraging crash course in the hills of the Val d'Orcia via Montalcino Wine Tours. The guides will take you on countryside walks with a focus on local herbs. 

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