I was recently invited to a lunch in Vorno with a small group of students from Lucca Italian School. Vorno is a small village in the commune of Capannori, reached from Lucca via a pleasant 7-kilometer bike ride, which travels along the path of Nottolini’s aqueduct. It’s about 15 minutes by car - efficient but less scenic. I knew the lunch would be fun, a sociable afternoon with new friends and a chance to try a new restaurant - the Cucina dello Scompiglio. It turned out to be much more, because this is a place with a story to tell.
The story is about the old Tenuta Estate, which once upon a time included a beautiful villa surrounded by terraced plantings, olive groves, orchards, vineyards, smaller farmhouses, a large barn, and wooded areas. The estate had been abandoned for decades; lying untended and overgrown until a major project was undertaken to reclaim and restore the estate.
Today, Tenuta dello Scompiglio is again productive agricultural land and a center for culture, art, performance, and a variety of workshops. It is also home to the wonderful restaurant, Cucina allo Scompiglio, which is housed in what once was the vecchio fienile (old barn, hayloft) on the Tenuta estate. It is also a pastoral and peaceful setting, perfect for a walk through the gardens and vineyards after a meal
Tenuta dello Scompiglio is a biodynamic farm, using agricultural methods that minimize disruption to the land and soil, employing organic strategies for plant nourishment and pest control. The project is slowly restoring long-abandoned olive groves and has revitalized the vineyards that now produce a red estate wine called Lavandaia. They have also reclaimed the orchards, which produce pears, plums, cherries and apples, all typical varieties from this region of Italy. And the gardens! The garden was full of deep red tomatoes, slender zucchini with blossoms, peppers, and a variety of greens. All are used in the restaurant, along with the estate-produced wine. You can’t get more farm to table than that.
In the end, it was a special lunch with like-minded travelers, all here as students of the Italian language. The food was delicious and the outdoor patio offered fabulous views of the estate and distant mountains. After lunch we enjoyed exploring the estate and soaking in the scenery. A perfect Italian afternoon!
Of course I have to include some photos of the food. The pasta and salad on the left, as well as all the pictured desserts below, were from out weekday lunch; the pasta and ribs on the right were from brunch the previous Sunday (thanks to Kim Chung for those!).
A big thanks to new friends Kim and John for discovering this lovely spot and arranging lunch for our group. -post by JMB