IMG_8313
Before I lived in Italy, the closest I came to a real fig was the jammy stuff inside of a Fig Newton….”you’re darn tootin, I like Fig Newtons!” Wow! Whoever thought a fresh one would be so yummy!

I recently saw them at the market as they came into season, and wondered what they were and how to eat them. While at a garden at one of the Medici Villa’s I saw the shrub they grow on covered with fresh fruit and my interest was piqued. I went straight to the market and bought some, inquiring as I did on how to eat them. The vendor at the market laughed, picked one up, bit into it and said, “Cosi!” (Like this!)
IMG_8312
The figs natural range is in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, although my research indicates they are grown in some US states. Arkansas, Louisiana, California, Georgia, Oregon, Texas, and South Carolina, all apparently grow figs, but I swear, I never knew it, much less have eaten a fig from one of these states. They are very delicate when ripe, so I assume they don’t ship well. If you have the chance to eat a fresh one, try it! They are tasty!
IMG_8314

Mixed Steamed Seafood
Warning! Food porn included in this post!
Mixed Fried Fish-Fritto Misto
Located at the Aurora Beach Club in Castiglioncello is one of the most amazing restaurants! The Capanna del Zio Tom is a tiny bamboo covered patio area where absolute magic happens. If you are staying in Castiglioncello, it is best to make a reservation. We ate here every day at lunch time while we were here.
Baccala LivorneseMixed Seafood Steamed in Bag

Mixed Seafood Steamed in Bag
They are filled to the brim every day and have two seatings. One of the seatings is at 1 pm and the other at 2. If you are using the beach club, it is best to order in the morning when you arrive. They will call you over the loud speaker when your table is ready.
Spaghetti alle Vongole-Spaghetti and ClamsDeluxe Seafood Cold Plate
Carpaccio di Pesce Spada-Smoked Swordfish
I can’t even begin to describe what a joy eating here was. The food is not only delicious, but reasonably priced and artfully presented! The minute I finished eating, I started planning my meal for the next day and I can honestly say that I was never disappointed.
Spaghetti alla Scoglia-Spaghetti and mixed seafoodCarpaccio di TonnoPolpo Saprito-OctopusCozze alla Marinara-Mussels with tomato sauce

IMG_8011
I was fortunate enough to get to spend a good chunk of time in Castiglioncello. Castiglioncello is easy to reach on the train and it takes a little less than two hours to get there from Florence. The seaside is just minutes away from the train station.
IMG_8024

IMG_8014

IMG_8012
When you exit the train station, you will see directly across the road, to the right, the Pineta. It is a huge park filled with pine trees. Through the park is the seaside, which has a small concrete “boardwalk” where you can walk the coast a ways. There are several beach clubs along the way, and some restaurants and bars.
IMG_7995

IMG_7997

IMG_8000
In the small town of Castiglioncello, you will find everything you need for a seaside vacation. We stayed at a friend’s house, so I don’t have any hotel suggestions, but there are several in the vicinity. You could also make it a day trip.

We used the Aurora Beach Club which is down some steep steps on the Aurora Gulf. The beach club is family oriented and a wonderful place to spend time. The views are lovely, the water refreshing, and the people friendly. This club is full of folks who have been coming here for years.
IMG_8019

IMG_8001

IMG_8020
The town has some events in the summer like movies in the Pineta, music in the piazzas, and food festivals. This small beach town has one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. You can see from the photos why that is so!
IMG_8031

IMG_8033