20,000 sqm of Italian biodiversity in Bologna – discover the world’s largest agri-food farm! Two whole hectares dedicated to demonstrative fields and stables with more than 200 animals and 2000 different cultivars. The best place to learn the secrets of Italian agricultural and farming traditions. A real “ark” of Italian beauty.
Did you know that citrus fruits are also known by the Romans loanword “agrumes”, literally meaning “sour fruits”? They typically grow in the Mediterranean zone, even though their origins come from the Far East.
Fun fact: Italy is one of the largest orange-producing country in the world.
Did you know that fruit-growing is one of the most articulate and profitable industry sectors?
Fun fact: fruit trees are so many that they perfectly convey the huge biodiversity of the Italian territory.
Did you know that cereal crops take up half of the world’s arable land? Cereal crops in Italy are evenly distributed according to the specifics of each land and territory.
Fun fact: Lombardy and Veneto are particularly suited for rice growing. There, you can find certified rice crops, including Delta del Po PGI rice, Baraggia Biellese and Vercellese PDO rice, and Vialone Nano PGI rice.
Did you know that hop plants grow spontaneously in Italy? Hop is a species of flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family which grows easily among bushes, along river banks and forest edges.
Fun fact: hop is mainly grown for its pivotal role in beer-making. It gives beer its typical bitter taste and different aromas.
Did you know that hemp is a species of flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family which originates in Asia?
Fun fact: until the beginning of the U.S. Prohibition, hemp had been used for medical, textile, and leisure purposes (female flowers and resins have psychoactive effects) for thousands of years. The varieties that are grown in Italy today are free of all psychoactive principles (Cannabinols) and are used for alimentary purposes.
Did you know that Italy holds the record for olive biodiversity, with up to 400 officially recognized different cultivars? Olive trees are classified in 3 main categories according to their final purpose: oil-making, eating, or both.
Fun fact: even though hailing from Asia, olive trees are cultivated in all countries of the Mediterranean coasts, most particularly in Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey. It has an extremely long life-expectancy and grows better in Liguria, Tuscany, the lake Garda basin, and in all central-south Italian coastal areas.
Did you know that Italy is one of Europe leading vegetable producers? Thanks to our unique climate and land quality, we host around 100 EU origin-protected cultivations, with PDO and PGI certifications.
Fun fact: even though the reproduction cycle of most vegetables lasts less than a year, some may be prolonged to live longer (e.g. artichoke and asparagus).
Did you know that aromatic plants have been used for cooking and medical purposes since the Middle Ages? Rich in essential oils, aromatics have been historically associated with many exceptional properties.
Fun fact: thyme, mint, basil, lavender, sage, coriander, laurel, and parsley are all aromatic plants.
Did you know that strawberries in Italy are mainly grown in Campania, Veneto, Basilicata, and Sicily?
Fun fact: the origins of this small, red fruit are ancient and there are many varieties: some grow continuously from Spring to Autumn, some other ripen only once a year.
Did you know that the ancient Greeks used to call the southern part of Italy “Enotria”? Around the year 1000 BC, the Etruscan started to cultivate vitis vinifera sylvestis on the Italian Peninsula.
Fun fact: the Latin writer Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 AD) counted 80 different vine varieties in Italy. Today, there are 513 varieties. The most widely grown is the Sangiovese.
Did you know that cattle breeds can be classified into simple, double, and triple purpose breeds, depending on whether they are raised for beef, milk, or draft? Draught breeds are no longer raised today. However, many breeds that today are raised for beef (e.g. the Chianina) were formally raised and trained as draft animals.
Fun fact: Italy’s local geography branches out not only according to the different cattle breeds, but also to the different ways of cutting beef.
Did you know that cattle raising originated in the Middle-East and India in 9,000 BC? The Romans were the first to process cow’s milk into hard cheese, which was easier to preserve and carry around. The circulatory and respiratory systems of dairy breeds are way more developed than beef breeds. They can produce up to 60 liters of milk per day, as in the case of the Frisona.
Fun fact: dairy cattle breeds are mostly found in the Emilia-Romagna region and in northern Italy.
Did you know that goat domestication took place in Persia, during the Mesolithic? In Italy, goat milk is highly appreciated for its strong taste and cheese, especially in Piedmont and Liguria.
Fun fact: goat meat is particularly suited for a diet low in fat. However, when compared to beef, goat meat needs to be cooked longer and at a lower temperature.
Did you know that rabbits and hares belong to the same family? Since ancient times, both were domesticated and appreciated for their tender and low-fat meat.
Fun fact: rabbit meat tends to taste differently according to what the animal used to eat when alive.
Horses - Donkeys
Did you know that donkeys are very peaceful and friendly animals? For centuries, donkeys have been bred as draught animals. With technologies and innovations in the agricultural sector, donkeys seemed destined to be set aside.
Fun fact: donkey's milk is a fundamental ingredient in newborns' diet since infants hardly assimilate cow milk.
Did you know that goose meat was very much appreciated by the Romans? They used to raise them not only for their meat or liver, but also for their legs which are still considered a real delicacy.
Fun fact: among the main breeds, the big Tolosa is usually raised for foie gras, while the smaller Piacentina and Padovana are bred for their meat.
Did you know that sheep-rearing originated in the Fertile Crescent in 10,000 BC? In Italy, sheep-breeding spread out in the southern regions, Lazio and Tuscany.
Fun fact: sheep are mainly bred for milk and cheese production, meat (suckling lamb, heavy land, gelded mutton), and whool.
Did you know that the Romans already loved eating pork meat? Over the years, many Italian pig breeds have been replaced by imported ones. However, the rising interest in traditional Italian salumi is highly contributing in safeguarding native breeds most suited for cured-meat production.
Fun fact: meat, fat, entrails, blood, skin, and bristles: a popular saying about pigs says “nothing goes wasted but the oink”.