Truffle and cycling are two passions that have always connected Tuscan people. Luciano, 76 years old is truffle hunter from Tuscany with a great love for that “bike” that he rides still today to have a “quick cycle trip of 80 km” on the roads of Castelfiorentino, San Miniato and Montaione hills.
Truffle and cycling are timeless passions and the words of Luciano portray a Tuscany that it’s gone and struggles to be passed on new generations. A simple and genuine Tuscany where “passion and need” go hand in hand.
Truffle hunter and cyclist, Luciano was born and raised on the hills of Piaggia, Ronta and La Sughera famous for precious Tuscan white truffle and lands of great cyclists. Truffle and cycling are two passions he has been cultivating for his entire life. “But be careful not to mix up the two: truffles combine business with pleasure, bike is only a cost!” - Luciano warns with old wisdom.
Since he was a child Luciano went to the woods of Montaione for truffle hunting and it wasn’t a kid’s game but an essential monetary contribution for his family: white truffle, the good one, went 200 lire per 100 gr and with 200 lire you could buy meat for all the family once a week otherwise shoes, clothes or anything a family needs.
“I started truffle hunting when I was a child, I was like 10 – says Luciano – and since I was scared of being alone in the woods, I went with my little brother and we cheered each other up”
Truffle and cycling are also a strong link with Simone Calugi from Selektia Tartufi. A connection whose roots are deep in time when Simone was little more than a child and started cultivating his dreams of cyclist. “I have known Simone for 34-35 years, I remember when his father showed me the bike he bought for him. Simone was like 9 or 10” tells Luciano.
Truffle hunters and their loyal dogs combine passion and work, even today, for searching the prestigious White Truffle of San Miniato and through their essential contribution, companies like Selektia Tartufi of Simone Calugi can bring the unique aroma of White Truffle onto tables worldwide.
“Any dog can become a truffle dog but in all my life as truffle hunter for 60 years there were only 2 or 3 dogs with capital D. I had a dog that looked for truffles in the snow, she was amazing!” reminds Luciano whose eyes seek a time that no longer exists.