But as a visitor passing through, after a requisite stop to the church, your palate is what you should really focus on. The town’s trademark treat is a type of savory cookie known as the biscotto salato di Roccalbegna, a simple biscuit with some bite. Handmade with olive oil, salt, flour, water, and yeast as base, it’s anise seed that kicks the taste up a notch. Local lore says that its roots go back to the Middle Ages, and that while the ingredients were rather no-fuss, it remained a little luxury for most families, to be enjoyed only two or three times of year on special occasions (the touch of oil required rendered it out of reach for everyday consumption). Traditionally the town’s ProLoco association hosts a celebration of this tasty treat just as summer is coming to a close, usually the week of Ferragosto (August 15). The Sagra del Biscotto Salato di Roccalbegna, as it’s called, has run for nearly forty editions and features more than just savory nibbles—it’s a festive community gathering complete with live music and performances, children’s events and at some past editions, even fashion shows.
The ProLoco is also behind several other festivals and folksy events on the local calendar. July 25 brings an annual celebration of the town’s patron, Saint Christopher, while in the scorching hot weeks just before, foodies and brew enthusiasts typically enjoy a beer and gnocchi-themed festival.
Aside from fairs, art and culture lovers will want to make a requisite stop at the Romanesque-Gothic Chiesa dei Santi Pietro e Paolo. Despite its remote and quiet hometown, the church is hardly your rustic neighborhood parish: instead, its striking rose window and elaborately decorated Gothic door paired together make quite a strong visual impact. The main altar’s polyptych by the prominent Sienese school painter Ambrogio Lorenzetti, which depicts the church’s namesake saints and the Madonna and child, draws the visitor eye.