The Best of Siena is Pretto: Food for a Better World
The Best of Siena is Pretto, Pure and Simple
prètto agg. [prob. forma sincopata di puretto, dim. di puro]. – Sinon. letter. di puro, schietto, cioè non alterato o non misto con altro: un buon bicchiere di vino p., genuino, oppure non annacquato
Pretto is an Italian adjective that means pure and genuine. It is often used to describe a good glass of wine. It works especially well when talking about the unaltered qualities of Chianti Classico which, by DOCG Regulations, must be made with a minimum of 80% Sangiovese grape. The remaining may be made up of other red grapes from the area. In the case of the newish food nook near Piazza del Campo in historic Siena, the essence of Pretto defines and embraces everything the restaurant stands for and everything you find there.
The longer story of Pretto Prosciutteria and how it came to live so warmly on Via dei Termini, in the cool heart of medieval Siena, reaches far beyond the scope of this post. My main goal is to open the door onto a place where you can plug into the unmistakable flavors of Siena, its outlying provincial countryside, and The Chianti.
If you know of Siena, you may know something of its impressive history in banking and horse racing. If you’ve visited, you probably recall its remarkable architecture. My guess is that you don’t remember it as warm and inviting. Let’s just say it’s a place where outsiders don’t easily feel at home (even after years of residing and working there) and the insiders or “contradaioli” come across as insecure about what to do with all of the curious visitors.
One of most pleasurable outcomes of Pretto Prosciutteria may be the contrast in how you feel once inside its walls after wandering the stunning streets of Siena and realizing that few, if any of the locals have cared to engage with your experience.
Food for a Better World
Inside Pretto, pages of poetic discourse warm the atmosphere of this very unlikely positioned refuge of hospitality. But the power of this ethical and mouthwatering eatery is greater than how well it stands out against its harsh backdrop. Pretto is, in itself, a hub of wellbeing. It was born of a desire to sustain the pure and honest work of local farmers and artisans who, in turn, sustain the integrity of the land out of gratitude for what the land gives. Each ingredient that goes onto a Pretto plate is accompanied by a lifetime of passion and knowledge.
Owners, siblings, and long-time business partners, Emanuele and Tamara Pacini will welcome you to the table with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity that is woven into the story of Pretto. If the timing is right, you may find yourself in powerful exchange with one of your hosts. You may go deep on the meaning of il prosciutto di Danilo, il vino di Franco or, la poesia di Pretto. On rare occasions, Emanuele has been known to recite some of the founding spoken word of Pretto, tableside, as guests finish a longer-than-expected stay.
At the end of any arrangement your interaction with the flavors themselves will have touched generations of knowledge and devotion. You’ll have tasted the fruit of generations of genuine practices that continue to contribute to a way of life that works passionately toward a better world. You will at once be part of a community that takes food, life and the land to heart. Upon your return, I invite you to write here and share with me your reflections on the meal and the encounters. This sharing is part of the energy that keeps the mission of Pretto in places like Siena, that need it most.
Via dei Termini, 4
+39 0583 289089
Sun 10:00 am - 6:00 pm / Mon - Wed 10:00 am - 11:00 pm / Thu - Sat 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Pork, Poetry, and Passion: a gastronomic exploration of The Chianti and Siena Wine Country. Experience the vast flavor and knowledge of this food and wine community on tour with Traveling Native and Pretto. Contact me for details or click here to learn more.