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Simposio: Siena’s travel cookbook

Siena by Simposio is an Italian travel cookbook filled with traditional and authentic recipes, beautiful places, legends, characters, and traditions. A guide to local specialties, folklore, and culture.

Siena (Tuscany, Italy) is the city of the horse Palio, of folly people and delicious sweets like Panforte and Ricciarelli cookies. This travel cookbook will let you plunge into the folly, meet people from the present and the past, and cook unforgettable dishes.

Snuggle on the sofa, pour yourself a glass of red wine, light a candle, and put on good music: your Siena adventure is about to begin!

a Siena slow travel cookbook

rome cookbook and slow travel magazine


“Welcome to Siena, the Tuscan city of Palio, delicious sweets, and Middle Ages.

But there’s more, much more. Behind the big show, behind the brownish brick walls, behind the fancy patisseries.

There’s passion – some, including me, would say folly – and there’s pride.

In this issue, we will be swept away by the folly of poets, waters, husbands, economics, friars, painters, and the seventeen Contrade of Siena.

We will also experience the universe of Middle Ages apothecaries and prepare one of their potent remedies at home!

Further in time, we will meet Etrurians, an indigenous population of the Tuscan lands, and sit at their tables to savor their dishes, discovering the flavors and ingredients that put a base to Tuscan cuisine. 

We will also explore Siena’s traditional food: recipes from the countryside farms, from the noble palaces, and right out of Nonnas’ ovens!

Siena will be a new destination of our emotional journey through Italy. Our way to honor and preserve the country’s heritage, past, and present through a different traveling style: slower, deeper, more mindful.

Pour yourself a glass of red wine, spread some toasted bread with olive patè, play some jazzy music, relax and dive into Siena’s emotional world.


Recipes are in grams, ounces, and cups whenever possible. Servings are mostly for two, but you can duplicate as desired.

Remember to read the recipes all the way. It helps a lot. First, you are conscious of the ingredients and the tools that you will need; second, you will behave intentionally, knowing, in broad terms, what’s coming next.

I also recommend gathering all the ingredients on your working station before starting to cook. I try to indicate peeling, chopping and dicing at the best timing, but if you want to make things easier, you can prep them before you begin.

Most of the ingredients are easily gatherable, and I try to give you substitutes any time I consider it feasible with decent results. I’ve seen Prosciutto, Pecorino, tomato paste (passata, not sauce), pelati, Italian sausages, and mozzarella in many supermarkets abroad. 

You might need to search a bit for 00 flour. Guinea fowl and pigeon are not common meats, but if you find a good butcher, you can certainly order them – and you’ll find out later why I recommend doing so. You can substitute fresh brewer’s yeast with the dry version; the proportion is 3:1 – divide the fresh grams/ounces per three. You need dried Porcini mushrooms and Pici pasta, but I guess you can find them online. Remember that Italian cuisine uses many fresh herbs and spices and that mozzarella can be “fiordilatte” (cow milk) or “bufala” (buffalo milk).

Finally, use good quality wine for cooking, it goes in your body just like the one you drink, and it does change the flavor of your food! Plus, you can savor it afterward while savoring your creations.

Benvenuti a Siena.


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06 Welcome To Siena

08 Cooking Notes

10 A Bucket List

12 Siena

14 Folly

18 A Folly Poet

22 Folly Husbands

24 Folly Waters

28 Twins

30 Folly Economics

34 Folly Hedonists

36 Folly Academies

40 Assicurate

44 Folly Games

46 Folly Women

50 Summer Folly

56 Camilla

62 Folly Traditions

64 Folly Eyes

66 Folly Forger

70 Am I Folly?

82 Religious Folly

86 Apothecaries

90 Artichoke Decoction

92 Etrurian Food

96 Quail Eggs and Thyme

98 Oleata

100 Mushroom Crostini

102 Fava Beans Soup

104 Etrurian Guinea Fowl

108 Eating In Siena: specialties and recipes

112 Sausage Crostoni

114 Herbal Pecorino

116 Black Eyed Peas Soup

118 Kale & Pancetta Pici

122 Sienese Ragu

124 Sienese Pigeon

128 Ribs & Olives

130 Sage Tart

132 Ciancifricola

134 Ciaccino

138 Panforte Margherita

142 Budinone – Siena’s cake

144 Zuppa del Duca

148 Pinolata

152 Ricciarelli Cookies

156 Cavallucci Cookies

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Enjoy Siena!