Bergamot is widespread in the area encompassed by Roccella Jonica and Gioiosa Jonica, in the surroundings of Brancaleone, Bruzzano Zeffirio, Capo Spartivento (Bova and Melito Porto Salvo) and in the municipalities of lower Ionian sea in the province of Reggio Calabria. This citrus is peculiar because it has never been planted or duplicated elsewhere: agronomes and farmers tried, in fact, to grow Bergamot (Citrus bergamina) in Sicily, Spain, Ivory Coast, California and even in the Comore Islands, but in vain.
Similar to an orange but green and yellow in colour, according to its ripening degree, features a thin peel and a weight between 80 and 200 g. Three are the cultivated varieties: Femminello, with thin branches and smooth fruits, Castagnaro, hardier and with less round, slightly coarser fruits, and Fantastico, which represents 75% of the production. The fruit contains 10 to 15 slices. Its flower, the so-called zàgara (from arab ‘zahara’ meaning ‘flower’), is made of five extremely perfumed petals. It is acidic in taste, with a dense scent, and it is widely used in the local gastronomy to flavour dishes or to season other products.