Long-stemmed Italian Chicory is related to several other bitter leaf vegetables which make up the chicory family, such as Belgian Endives and the many varieties of Radicchio which are so important in the region of Veneto. These pictured below are the outer stems,
which surround little buds which roughly resemble aspargus. I assume this is the reason for its other name Cicoria Asparago. Although here in Tuscany it is almost always called simply Cicoria or Catalogna. Anyway the buds are pictured below are called Puntarelle or literally little points. In Rome and the surrounding areas they are often eaten as a salad dressed with a type of vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil and anchovy paste.
Chopped and ready to be grilled.