Mushroom Picking in Tuscany

Tuscany's fields and forests have a wide variety of edible mushrooms. Find out how to get a mushrooming licence and what mushrooms you can expect to find in the region...

A permit must be purchased (usually before collecting mushrooms outside of city limits). As laws differ from comune to comune, it is best to consult with the comune for specific rules.

Permits can be bought at national park visitor centres or from the local comune.

Permits will only be issued to those over 14 years of age. Children under 14 years of age may pick mushrooms only when supervised by an adult who has been issued a picking permit.

Before going mushroom picking, be sure to read up on the local laws in force that govern mushroom collection as these may supersede national laws.

Some towns have reciprocal agreements with their neighbouring towns, allowing mushroom pickers (fungaioli) with a permit to pick there. Towns also have the right to prohibit any picking or the collecting of specific species.

Mushrooms may be collected for personal or scientific purposes.

Licenses available in Tuscany are:

  • Residential (for personal use): may be valid for one, three or six months, or one year or three years (some comunes offer a more limited selection of permits)
  • Tourist (for personal use): valid for one or seven days (not necessarily consecutive, though the seven days are only valid until December 31 of the calendar year in which the permit was purchased)
  • Scientific

Since 2006, people over the age of 65 have been exempt from license fees. People over 75 need not have a permit at all. Those residing in Mountain Communities are entitled to reduced-rate permits.

Collection Rules

In Tuscany, no more than 3 Kg of edible species may be collected per day per person, with the exception of residents of Mountain Communities who are allowed 6 Kg. There are no limits on the quantity of mushrooms that may be gathered on private land by the owner of the land.

Collection may only be done on public, uncultivated land, at least 100 metres from residential buildings. Some cooperatives of pickers and even individual residents in mountain communities may be given exclusive rights to pick in an area, making it off-limits to other mushroom pickers. Inquire about these areas when applying for the permit.

Picking must be done at least 20 metres from the edge of the roadway in public green spaces.

Collection may occur from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

Mushroom pickers may not use tools (such as rakes or hooks) that damage the forest floor. There is a hefty fine for those caught breaking this rule.

Wicker-type baskets must be used for collection to ensure mushroom spores are disseminated as pickers walk through the woods (placing the mushrooms in bags is illegal).

It is illegal to pick the following mushrooms if the cap is less than:

  • 4cm for Boletus mushrooms
  • 3cm for Hygrophorus marzuolus (sleeper) and the Calocybe gambosa/Tricholoma georgii (blackthorn) mushrooms

It is prohibited to collect Amanita cesarea (royal agaric/ovolo buono) if the gills are not yet exposed to air.

Types of Mushrooms One Can Expect to Find in Tuscany

  • agaric (in Italian: ovoli)
  • chanterelle (Cantharellus lutescens/finerle)
  • finferli chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius/galletti)
  • green russola (including Russula virescens/russole)
  • honey agaric (Armillariella mellea/chiodini)
  • milk-cap (Lactarius deliciosus/sanguinelli or lattari)
  • parasol (Lepiota procera/mazze di tamburo)
  • pinaroli (pinaroli)
  • porcini (porcini)

A local pharmacy may be able to help identifying mushrooms.

Further Information

  • For information on the mountains around Pisa, including a page on mushroom collecting: Click here
  • For information regarding mushroom picking in Florence: Click here (in Italian)
  • For information on mushroom picking permits in Pisana: Click here (in Italian)
  • For information on mushroom picking permits in Acquacheta: Click here
  • Florence Mycological Group (Il Gruppo Micologico Fiorentino) - in Italian
    At: Via di San Romano 21, 50135 Settignano (FI)
    Tel: 0556 549 195