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To Arezzo for lunch

Rachael Martin took a road trip from Milan to Arezzo with her family to see the sights of this Etruscan town and experience the bustling antiques market

We were planning our regular Easter break with the kids and we had all agreed that this year we would be going to Tuscany. It was my Italian husband who suggested that we should go specifically to Arezzo.

“Arezzo?” I asked. “Why Arezzo?” It’s not that I have anything against Arezzo, it’s just not the first place that jumps to mind when you think of a trip to Tuscany. “You’ll love it,” he assured me. He’s usually right about these things and I so started planing the journey.

We set off from our home in Milan early on the morning of Easter Saturday, driving steadily across the Po Valley and into Emilia-Romagna, and soon we were seeing signs for Tuscan towns and villages. “Let’s go to Florence for breakfast,” I suggested. And so we did, eating at Caffè Scudieri, one of Florence’s loveliest bars, right in the middle of town, on the edge of Piazza del Duomo with a view of the Baptistery and the Cathedral. My husband and I had a breakfast of brioche and cappuccinos, and there was fruit salad for the kids, and then we walked along the Arno up to the Ponte Vecchio before returning to the car.

Lunch was a pile of finocchiona sandwiches that I made on my knee in the car as we travelled along. Finocchiona is a large, coarse-grained salami typical of Florence and Siena. Finocchio means fennel, hence the name finocchiona, because the salami takes its distinctive flavour from the wild fennel seeds that are used to make it, along with salt, garlic and black pepper. At one time pepper was an extremely expensive commodity, and so fennel seeds were used as a substitute.

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About Italia!

The June issue of Italia! comes to you ready to inspire and inform. Crammed with travel features, stunning photography and delicious helpings of Italian food and drink, it’s a celebration of il bel paese right at your fingertips.