Nepi white onion

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Nepi white onion

An ecotype of the white, flattened onion, the Nepi white onion is average to large in size, reaching maximum weights of 600-700 grams. Production once thrived around the municipality of Nepi, in Lazio, where loose soils allow the bulb to grow easily, and plenty of sulphurous water, rich in mineral salts, contributes to the onions’ characteristic fragrance and sweetness.

The growing cycle starts on the waning moon in January, when the seeds are planted in a seedbed. In April, the seedlings are transplanted to an open field, where they remain until the harvest in August. The onion fields are worked entirely by hand. The best bulbs are selected for replanting and growing seed for the following year. The onions are eaten through late autumn, when those that are left and have started to decompose are replanted and used to grow fresh onion shoots.

The inhabitants of Nepi used to be called cipollari, or “onioners,” because their livelihood was strongly linked to this vegetable. In recent years the Nepi white has almost completely disappeared from the territory, being hybridized with other varieties grown in the area. The few remaining farmers of the Nepi white pass seeds from one generation to the next, and are very careful to grow their prized onions in isolated lands to prevent contamination from other onion varieties.

Nepi white onions are sold in bunches or, in the case of the largest individuals, singly. They are almost all consumed locally, and are most often eaten raw, because of their sweetness and easy digestibility. They are an excellent garnish for pizza.

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Production area:Nepi Commune (province of Viterbo)

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Vegetables and vegetable preserves

Nominated by:Andrea Lucentini