The Tovaglia a Quadri’s Theatre, Food and Stories Formula
A collective rite that combines theatre, great Tuscan food and everyday life stories.
Theatre, good food and everyday life — a formula that is as ancient as the walls of Anghiari, a splendid medieval town in Tuscany. This is the deep meaning of Tovaglia a Quadri: the overthrow of the stereotypical vernacular entertainment, and ultimately a collective ritual, where people eat, sing, laugh and… digest, sometimes a hard to accept ‘local reality’ that mirrors universal concepts.
All this, without renouncing a script which gleans from a great heritage of jokes and original Tuscan comedy, well known among Tovaglia’s affectionate viewers and throughout several cases of imitations.
Dramas that have the great merit of recalling memories, near and far, small and large.
Memories that recount the history of the country, flavored with an archaic and folkloristic culture that survived in small towns and that, filled with people’s beliefs and superstitions, brings back ancient wisdom.
Tovaglia a Quadri takes place once a year in Anghiari, Tuscany (this year between the 10th and 19th of August) and, as part of the Memory Route, is possible to live a mini-Tovaglia experience during the year, booking in advance: http://en.memoryroute.org/plan-your-route/
A little bit more about the Tovaglia a Quadri experience
Tradition, culture and food: this is Tovaglia a Quadri: a ‘community theatre event’ combined with a Tuscan cuisine experience. Enjoying a four course meal — appetizer, first course, main course, dessert — and wine, the traveler has the opportunity of listening to the history of the town performed by the inhabitants themselves. The event has been going for over 20 years in a small square (the Poggiolino) in the heart of Anghiari, in Tuscany. Tovaglia a Quadri is an open inn where every year the locals tell a different story, played by the people who inhabit the square. Between authentic memories and local myths, ‘local issues’ and ‘universal references’, it is the best way for the tourist to make contact with the local community. It is an event that enhances the great traditions of theatre, popular music and impromptu poetry of Anghiari, and encourages new generations to participate in a form of “community theater”, where food and storytelling meet.
This is the km O menu (kilometer zero) of Tovaglia a Quadri: crostini with pancetta, bringoli (homemade pasta) with sugo finto, Chianina and pork, pecorino cheese with honey, Tuscan biscuits; mineral water, red wine, vinsanto (dessert wine), barley coffee with rum. Shortened versions are possible throughout the year, in the form of lunch with entertainment.
This work was made possible also thanks to the amazing help in proofreading by Sam Webster, freelance artist working in multiple mediums, born in Sydney and currently living in Tuscany. Check out his podcast on Italy: http://foolsparadise.libsyn.com/