The typical dish of San Giovanni Valdarno is the “Stufato (stew) alla Sangiovannese” that has recently obtained the mark of uniqueness and typicality. Its origins can be dated back to the beginning of this century among some factories, like the Ferriera, the Ceramica, the Fornaci Bagiardi, where some workers, particularly greedy and able in cooking, sometimes cooked the stew mainly with the animals entrails (such as lung, bowels etc.).

One of these workers was recruited in the army in 1915 and sent to Libya, where he was the chef of the regiment for his disposition and passion. Here he discovered spices and especially learnt to cook great quantities of food. When he came back home he jealously preserved his discoveries and began to apply these firstly at home, then at the Ferriera and finally in the rooms of the Basilica, where he began to cook the stew that from that moment was called “Stufato alla Sangiovannese” because here only was made with new ingredients and especially with the meat of the front legs of the adult calf, giving to the dish a different taste from the stew.

The secret was transmitted little by little from one chef of the Uffizi to the other (every Uffizio has his own chef), creating an out and out competition that has still preserved today, and then from house to house and in taverns and restaurants of the city. The original recipe remained related to the Uffizi and applied in this circumstance only.


Veal: paw muscle chopped onion, celery, carrots and parsley.; in part, chopped garlic with some skins of lemon, salt, pepper and a little bit of nutmeg; bones of the beast, olive oil, red wine and a little bit of tomato paste.

The secret is difficult to explain because it depends on a number of important factors such as: the quantity and the type of meat, the type of pan (it is preferable to use an earthenware or an aluminum pan), a spoon (wood only) with whom the whole thing should be stirred only, then the hand that works it. However: put the meat in the pan with the oil and the two chopped things. Add salt, pepper, common spices and nutmeg. Turn it all with a wooden spoon and put to fire. Put the bones in boiling water only. Brown them well or until the oil at the bottom of the pan appears transparent. Now add the red wine in order to cover the meat and make it evaporate at an high temperature. When the compound is retired, so to assume a brown aspect, add a little bit of tomato paste in such quantity not to give to the meat a really red aspect. Add the soup of the bones whenever the meat requires that. Fifteen minutes before the cooking add a pinch of nutmeg. The whole thing should boil slowly in about four hours.