By Simone Bandini


We meet the Belli family in Torrita di Siena on a misty November morning. The contrast between the festive, bright and sunny atmosphere that you experience, as soon as you cross the threshold of the shop, and the greyness of the first autumn day is striking. At the Macelleria Belli, as always, there is a great deal of excitement, in the comings and goings of purchases there is always a joke or a ‘warm’ exchange of opinions: faces widen into full and jovial smiles. We seem to be back to the good ‘social’ habits of the past.



In the fervour of chores and errands, Roberta leads us upstairs where, finally, we can speak with the minimum necessary detachment: “Who am I? First of all, my father’s ‘daughter’! In addition to being the legal representative and standing at the counter to serve. In the company, after so many years, I do a little bit of everything! I like manual work and being with people, I hate computer science!”

It is with this simplicity, which I adore, that the Belli family welcomes us and introduces itself. From a few words I have already understood what the strength of this partnership is.

His brother Marco looks after management systems and follows the ‘meat bureaucracy’ in all its many steps – as well as taking care of the family’s second factory, in the lower part of the village, near the station, he takes care of technology and ‘papers’: “Often there is more paper than meat!”, he complains jokingly.

As we get to know each other, the progenitor Alfiero appears, like an epiphany from another world, so expressive and ‘sweet’, complacent by life, are his traits: “I was born and raised in Pienza, in the nearby Val d’Orcia, on a sharecroppers’ farm called ‘Pecorile’ near Palazzo Massaini. When I was still a child, at kindergarten age (just think!), I was sent to look after pigs.

“You understand well that with such an experience, with the human relationships of the post-war countryside, Alfiero is a sort of ‘survivor’ in the modern world. A fantastic, rare, example of humanity and generosity. Despite this, he settled in and built his new business world well, precisely by virtue of his spontaneous empathy: “I have always believed in my work, always investing in the company to the point of building our second plant for the processing of raw materials. A brand new factory, rather than, as many others have done, a second home in the mountains or by the sea!” Solidity, humility, realism – a legacy of the hard times he has lived through and which have generated a strong identity and a precise sense of belonging in the new generation.

“I have had great satisfactions, including having opened the market with English customers, with my own strength, without having any representative across the Channel and in the rest of Europe”.

And all this with a vocation that is not exactly strong and clear. Alfiero makes us smile with this last anecdote: “I come from the countryside, as I told you, and when they killed the pig I always ran away from home, I couldn’t hear and see! Then when he returned from military service, something fortuitous happened. My neighbour suggested that I come and work in a butcher’s shop in Chianciano, and from there… Everything else is history!”

“I’m always on the move, looking for the best meats and the best suppliers,” he tells us hastily. So suddenly, as confirmation of his vitality, Alfiero as he came left: he had to take the wild boars to the slaughterhouse.

His wife Rosaria, on the other hand, is originally from Petroio, who grew up right in the heart of the picturesque village. She was employed for a few years in court, and then landed in the company to follow what no one really wanted to do: administration and accounting”.

“We are going through a period of constant growth and development – the brothers tell us – every year we invent something new. Among the latest ‘creations’ are Simmenthal or jellied meat, cooked ham and Chianina and pork frankfurters – processed according to ancient continental recipes.

The Belli butcher’s shop is renowned for its artisanal and traditional workmanship, from cured meats and hams of its own production to fresh pork and the prized ‘Cinta Senese’ breed; from Chianina veal to ‘Porchetta’. The typical ‘agliata’ is made following the ancient custom: with farmer’s wine, strictly fresh garlic and pepper. Fennel is used to flavour other cuts and modernity is supported only in the reduced use of salt. On the counter or hanging, on the ceiling and on the walls, we can also find specialties of all kinds such as loins, ‘capocolli’, ‘rigatini’ and ‘gota’ and “L’Imbrogliona“, a typical Tuscan salami flavoured with fennel, ‘sopressata’ and ‘buristo’, marinated pork, ‘coppiette’, ‘bresaola’, truffle salami; as well as wild boar derivatives such as thigh, loin, capocollo, salami and cured sausage. The raw material, selected by the patron Alfiero as we said, comes entirely from local farms.



Info: Shop and Laboratory. Via Passeggio Garibaldi 55, Torrita di Siena (Si) / Tel. 0577 685095 / 0577 684256 / /