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Old varieties of fruit in the Adamello Park

Following an initial campaign in the area with the dual objectives of investigation and provision of information, coordinated by the Park, about 200 apple and pear trees of presumably ancient varieties, which were considered potentially interesting, were surveyed.

This initial screening and a subsequent stage of scientific research carried out by the University of Milan Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Production resulted in a list of sufficiently characterized plant material which was worth multiplying and which included some accessions which could be autochthonous.

Propagation material (cuttings or buds) was taken from these plants, and used for the creation of a plant collection in a field in Sonico.

The collection was planted in the Dane area of Rino, part of the village of Sonico, in an area of the Park suited to agriculture and fruit growing, but which had been abandoned over the years. From this point of view the collection also aims to be an example of a possible return to using this strip of land for agriculture.

The local historian Oliviero Franzoni was commissioned to carry out a historical-bibliographical investigation. The research entitled “The fragrance of the orchard on the trail of ancient fruit trees in Vallecamonica”, can be consulted at the Adamello Park offices.

The collection currently contains more than 200 plants, referring to more than 30 accessions. The camp is managed by the local farm Grassi Aldo Giuseppe, based in Edolo, thanks to an agreement with the Park.

The last few years have seen an active collaboration with APAV (Agricultural Producers Association of Vallecamonica) thanks to which some experimental campaigns of propagation of old varieties, which are now being assessed by members, were carried out.

In particular, trees planted on dwarfing rootstocks and traditional vigorous rootstocks are being tested by the APAV; these plants are suited to orchards and meadows in growing conditions that would be judged not idoneous or not appropriate for more industrialized production systems: a recovery of agricultural production (obviously limited), combined with a very interesting scenic, cultural and environmental restoration of the areas.

Over the next few years the objectives are:

  • to identify some varieties which may be of greater commercial interest, to assess the feasibility of their production and marketing using low environmental impact techniques.
  • to create a series of “Adamello Park old varieties “, made up of plants on vigorous rootstocks, which can be used for the establishment of large orchards and the restoration of old wooded fields, rows of fruit trees or isolated plants.
  • the creation of a publication that summarizes and presents the project and the research by the Adamello Park and the production of teaching materials and information about local and old varieties of fruit and about apple trees in general.

This project has been reported and entered in the database of the Department for Public Administration of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers on the site

For information about the project:

Guido Calvi
Adamello Park