Letizia Mattiacci

Artichokes, named carciofi in Italy, are edible flowers belonging to the thistle family. They are as iconic of Italy as the Colosseum, the cliffs of Positano, pizza and – of course – a ride in a FIAT 500. To my …

I could become vegetarian any moment of my life, save for a few foods which I passionately like. My mom’s stuffed involtini rolls, a slice of well-aged prosciutto di Norcia and our family’s cotolette served with a green salad and …

While common beans originally come from the Americas, broad beans (fava) have been a staple of European cuisine for thousands of years. In addition to their importance as a food crop, fava beans were considered sacred in ancient Greece and …

I feel fortunate to have experienced a completely different way of life in Italy. I was a child in the late 1960s, when many Umbrian villagers still didn’t have home ovens and took their bread to the bakery for cooking. …

Farro is now trendy because of its health benefits, but here in Umbria it’s been a staple for over 2000 years. In ancient Rome, farro flour was the ingredient of choice to make puls, a sort of porridge served with …

Does your town have a patron saint? My hometown, Perugia is well protected from evil, as we have three: San Lorenzo, Sant’Ercolano and San Costanzo. San Lorenzo is the most famous. One of the Seven Deacons of Rome, and therefore …

In medieval mythology there is a land named Cockaigne (Cuccagna in Italian), which is an imaginary place of  pleasure and plenty where the harshness of peasant life does not exist. In Cuccagna, the mountains are made of gold, silver or …

In the spring, life is sweet in Umbria. Wild daisies and blackthorn blossoms make their appearance along the country roads. Purple clouds of wisteria and rosemary come alive on walls and trellises. After a long and often rainy winter, the …

Italy has a rich and diverse culture of bread which is not limited to pizza and focaccia or to the tasteless rolls on offer at your average trattoria. Most breads are unique to each region and sometime seasonal. Sardinia offers …

Easter is connected with the rites of re-birth and fertility which, in ancient times, were celebrated around the Spring equinox. In my hometown of Perugia, we celebrate Easter with a rustic cake called Ciaramicola. In the past, young women made …