Dario Cecchini and the Steak

The Tuscan sky is clear and cobalt blue when we arrive in Panzano. We have made this journey to meet the mad butcher, Dario Cecchini, and celebrate the 100th birthday of the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It is Saturday and a crowd spills out of the Antica Macelleria. Chianti is generously served by employees and a table is set with an assortment of meats, spiced lard, and pieces of bread. Behind the meat case, elevated as if on a pulpit, stands Dario with a large meat cleaver meticulously cutting fat off a slab of Florentine beef. He is a presence. ACDC blares from a pair of old speakers and the days performance has begun. Our eyes meet and I sense Dario’s mind filing through crowds of history.

Tor Torkildson