Calvenzano is a small town in the Bassa Bergamasca, south of Bergamo, known for a melon variety that has been included in the germplasm bank for the protection of biodiversity held by the University of Valencia.
The Calvenzano melon has a thick, netted rind with a fairly pronounced stalk which is left attached to the fruit during harvest. The fruit can reach very large dimensions, weighing between 2 and 6 kilos, and is oval in shape. The flesh is dense and sweet, with a beautiful warm orange color and a heady fragrance.
The melon has continued to be cultivated over the years by the historic Calvenzano Agricultural Cooperative, founded in 1887 and the third-oldest in Italy. The fruit can be found listed in its records since the 20th century and according to the oral accounts of the oldest members it had a fundamental importance in the local economy, with farmers able to make enough from its cultivation to buy the land they were working.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the melon’s fame spread internationally, and during the Belle Époque, the melons were shipped from this small town in the Bassa Bergamasca straight to the best restaurants in Paris. In the 1930s, they were even sent to the summer residence of the British monarchs, and according to some members, the cooperative received a certificate of appreciation from the royal family.
The harvest takes place in July, with peak production lasting 10 to 15 days. Due to its lower sugar content and short harvest time the variety has suffered from competition from modern melon varieties. These modern varieties have been selected to obtain sweeter and sweeter fruits and their longer harvesting period makes them commercially more attractive.
It is available fresh in July, processed, all year around
Calvenzano municipality and surroundings, Bergamo province
Presidium supported by
Slow Food Bassa Bergamasca Convivium
Via Crippa, 9
Tel. +39 389 1647981
Via Misano, 14
Tel.+39 333 4005859
Largo Pirmo Maggio, 1
Tel. +39 347 9983090
Via dell’industria, 16
Casirate d’Adda (Bg)
Tel. +39 329 2151704