Last May, after a blitz tour of the beautiful Cinque Terre in the rain, I hopped on a train to Sarzana with my friends Ann and Robin to find the STREEAT food truck festival. The festival highlights food from various regions of Italy and select foods from other countries. It felt like a foodie tour of Italy, all wrapped up in a bow on Piazza Matteotti. I’ve always loved the Ape microtrucks seen throughout Italy. These “tricked out” Apes in the food truck festival are brilliantly designed to showcase their specialty food. We took turns retrieving a different Italian dish or dessert from the trucks then sampling and critiquing it. Of course, we enjoyed everything, accompanied by some Italian Spritzes.
Sarzana is at the foot of the less touristy Lunigiana area of southern Liguria. Located between the famed Cinque Terre and Tuscany, the Lunigiana are hills filled with villages, thirty castles and of course, fine food. It takes its name from Luni, an ancient Roman town that no longer exists except for a few remaining ruins. One of the highlights in the city of Sarzana is the Fortezza Firmafede, referred to simply as La Cittadella. Built in 1249, destroyed in the “War of Serrezzana” by Lorenzo de Medici and the Florentines in 1487 then re-built, it’s only a short walk from the train station and worth a visit if you are interested in historic fortifications.
Today is the first day of the 2016 European food truck tour throughout Italy. It begins at Torre Quetta in Bari and will continue on to Langhirano, Mantua, Udine, Padua, Milan, Verona and Genoa on various dates in April – June. The remainder of the schedule, which will continue into fall, has not yet been announced.
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Photo Credits: All Photos by Lisa Vogele at the STREEAT Food Truck Festival in Sarzana, Italy May 2015 @travelwithlisa ; Author of the forthcoming book: Food and Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals, available Summer 2016.