The town of Rosolini lies between the provinces of Ragusa and Syracuse, at the foot of the Iblei mountains and a few kilometers from the Noto Valley. Founded by the Byzantines and conquered by the Arabs, Rosolini is rich in history and culture and also an important economic center. It was known for agriculture and particularly famed for its almonds, olives, wheat and broad beans. Until the end of the 1960s, every family had a horse or a mule and a “salina,” a pit dug in the ground where the manure collected from the stable was kept. Often a perennial local variety of brassica similar to collard greens and known as cavolo vecchio (“old cabbage”), would be planted around the edge of the pit. The particularly long-lived plant (up to six or seven years) would be planted out between July and August and begin to produce the first leaves for cutting from the beginning of October, continuing until the end of March. The seeds were reproduced by the families and the greens were cultivated only for home consumption. Rosolini Cavolo Vecchio were found on every table in the Iblea area, and particularly in and around Modica. Today the greens are still grown in family plots together with other vegetables or planted around the edge of gardens to exploit the variety’s longevity.
Harvested between October and March
A group of young producers, thanks to the receptiveness of a nursery that has been reproducing the plants, production has begun to be revived. The aim of the Presiduium is reviving and relaunching this rare long-lived type of leafy green. Local people and restaurants serving traditional cuisine are very enthusiastic about the reintroduction of the heritage vegetable.
Rosolini, Noto and Palazzolo municipalities, Siracusa province; Ispica, Modica and Ragusa municipalities, Ragusa province
Via Tiepolo, 22
Tel. +39 348 0011082