Martelli Pasta Factory

Factory in Lari

Here's an interesting fact for you: the Barilla company makes as much pasta in 20 minutes as this family-run factory makes in a year – it's an authentically artisanal operation. Established in 1926 and self-described as the smallest pasta factory in the world, it exports internationally (Germany and Australia are the biggest importers) and is happy to give its devoted customers a free 10-minute tour showcasing its hands-on production methods.

On the tour, you'll see slowly kneaded dough being fed through traditional bronze moulds to create spaghetti and spaghettini, penne, macaroni and fusilli – the best days to visit are Tuesday and Friday, when spaghetti is made. The pasta is then air-dried for 50 hours (compared to three hours industrially) before being cut and packaged by hand in Martelli's trademark canary-yellow paper packets. These are designed to evoke the pre-1960s paper that loose, market-bought pasta was wrapped in before industrialisation changed it all.

Chewier and coarser in texture than many, Martelli's pasta marries particularly well with meat sauces and game. In Lari itself, buy it for €4.50 per kilogram at village cafe and tobacconist La Bottega delle Specialità or eat the pasta for lunch at Antica Osteria al Castello in the main piazza.