Frantoio Alberto Cipolloni

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The olive-groves

The holding's centre and greatest expanse of olive groves are at San Giovanni Profiamma situated to the north of Foligno along the valley of the River Topino on the clay-rich soil of gently sloping hills.
At Vocabolo Hoffman along the S.S. 3 Flaminia main road lies the "Chiusa Della Fonte Nuova" about 1000 olive trees planted in 1994 as a clonal selection trial of the moraiola variety in collaboration with the Institute of Arboreal Cultivation of the University of Perugia. Adjoining this, a further 350 m above sea-level lies the "<" with about 1500 moraiola olive trees.
After two hairpin bends, on the right there is the "Chiusa di Candiotti" about 2000 olive trees, mainly moraiolo, but with some frantoio variety present as a result of pollination and thickening. Here, next to age-old trees of 2 or 3 centuries, there are side-shoots regrown from stumps after the frost of 1956. Further up, there is an open space surrounded by two farmhouses, a storehouse for agricultural tools and a small pond created to very slowly irrigate the olive groves.
Around the pond, planted in 1983 with 'modern' systems and predisposed for mechanical harvesting, is the grove of "Mancia Nuova", with 2,300 olive trees (predominantly frantoio variety). About half of this 'Chiusa' (grove surrounded by oak trees) is at the disposition of the Institute of Arboreal Cultivation - Perugia which cultivates it and continually carries out tests on it, the results of which are in the scientific publications of the institute's professors.

The older grove of "Mancia Vecchia" lies above this to the west with its 2000 pure moraiolo trees which are hundreds of years old. Continuing up along the road, after a hairpin bend on the right lies the "Chiusa di Prova" (Test Grove) so called because even in the 1940s Pietro Cipolloni together with professors Jacoponi (Arboriculturist) and Professor Lucchese (Entomologist) carried out experiments here to improve the plants which are still today an unchanging characteristic in the running of the holding. At over 450 metres above sea-level stands the "Convento Casa delle Pecore" (Sheep's Convent Home) so named because of its use over time. This large rural dwelling is surrounded by olive trees of the "Chiusa del Monte Cucco" where we have replanted half the grove with about 3000 moraiolo olive trees, and also added other test varieties, as always in collaboration with the university.

To the west of the convent there is the "Chiusa di Massenzi" a grove composed of centuries-old moraiolo olive trees whose enormous trunks enabled them to survive the frost of 1956. Following the small road which goes round the grove of Monte Cucco there is, below it on the right, the "Chiusa del Burrone" where about 2000 moraiolo olive trees have been planted on a steep slope (40% gradient). After about a kilometre there is a wood where 'uccellagione', that is, the capture of live decoy birds with nets, used to be practised. The wood goes down into a narrow valley and meets the local road which runs along the valley floor near a brook.
On the other side of this 'gorge' towards the east, from 300 to 500 metres above sea-level there is the "Chiusa della Valle" which gets its name from the geomorphic conformation and the village of the same name which lies above it. Once again the moraiolo olive tree predominates but with many frantoio and leccini pollinators replanted.
Leaving the valley road at its highest point of about 500 metres above sea-level, we take an earth track which crosses 1.5 km of groves belonging to other landowners and leads to the "Chiusa dello Zampirone" where, on a gentle hill crowned with a manor-house, there are about 6000 moraiolo olive trees the highest up of which are either centuries-old or derive from side-shoots of 1956. The trees lower down reach back to the S.S Flaminia main road and were replanted 40-70 years ago (probably after the other great olive tree frost of this century, in 1929.

Crossing the river Topino on the other side of the valley which rises up towards the Apennines along the S.S. 77 Val di Chienti main road which joins Foligno to its most distant fraction Colfiorito, there is the area of Colle S. Lorenzo with the holding's highest olive groves at 500-700 metres above sea-level. We have rented these for a long time from the descendants of an ancient family of landowners and notables of Foligno, the Sorbi. As on almost all of this side of the valley, the land here is very steep (45% gradient), and was "torn" by our grandfathers from the coppice which still partly surrounds the olive groves. Of the approximately 6000 moraiolo saplings of the grove of "Colle San Lorenzo" about 2400 were replanted with moraiolo and frantoio varieties after the frost of 1985.

To complete the tour of the olive groves we must head westwards towards the Colli Martani Hills and Montefalco to the locality of Pietrauta at 450 metres above sea-level.
Here there are other olive trees, about 1800 of the moraiolo variety and some (about 300) eating-olive trees which Alberto Cipolloni planted together with Professor Antognozzi of the University of Perugia in order to test their adaptability to our climate and evaluate the possibility of planting in Umbria.
From our north-east facing olive-groves and Sagrantino vineyards at Pietrauta di Montefalco, it is possible to see the other side of the valley and the olive growers of San Giovanni Profiamma and Colle S. Lorenzo, and the little towns of Trevi, Spello and Assisi surrounded by the olive-groves of the 'Denominazione Origine Protetta' (EEC certification of origin and quality) zone of "Umbria", sub-zone "Colli Assisi-Spoleto" which I believe, with good reason, to be the "Gold Coast" for world olive growing and where the best oil in the world is made both in terms of absolute top products and average quality over the years.

On this "Golden Coast" the moraiolo variety of great purity (90%) which has been present in this environment for centuries, the cold continental climate which makes it almost impossible for olive flies to attack, and the soil together with excellent management of olive groves and careful transformation, all combine together and contribute to the achievement of absolute quality which is unrepeatable anywhere else.

Grove 1 Grove 2
Grove 3 Grove 4
Grove 5 Grove 6
Grove 7 Grove 8
Grove 9  



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