Near Pisa there is a small town called Lari. Besides being a lovely place on a hilltop overlooking the Pisan hills facing Volterra, surmounted by a medieval castle, Castello dei Vicari di Lari, and housing some nice churches, Lari is home to one of the most delicious spring products: the so-called “ciliegie di Lari”, a local type of cherry.
After World War II, the agricultural tradition of the hills of this area of Tuscany had undergone a serious crisis that resulted in a progressive abandonment of the cultivation of cherries in the area. Over the past few decades though, things have changed and nowadays the cherry tradition has been revived and the cherries from Lari are now very much appreciated all over the country.
Several types of cherry are unique to this area and have been included among the certified local products of the Pisa area, gathered under the label “cesto pisano“, literally Pisan basket.
In late May, the town celebrates its products with a series of initiatives, such as the dinners known as “Ciliegie a tavola” (April 23 – June 12), and the “Sagra della Ciliegia” (May 23, 24, 30, and 31 and June 1 and 2). Unfortunately the sites are only in Italian, so the links above provide an automatic translation via Google Language Tools. It should hopefully be enough to understand the program of the festival.
If you happen to be in Pisa in late March or early April, I recommend you take a daytrip to Lari and enjoy the town and the views of the valley with the cherries in bloom. It’s amazing!