The one for the ancient fruit varieties is a passion that I inherited from my father, Mario. Often,
when I travel by car for work, or as I take a walk while I am on holiday, I happen to see an old and
abandoned tree, or about to die as it hasn't been pruned, or yet, covered by brambles. Usually, I find
these old trees – that I would define “the patriarchs” – in old villages, mountain towns or country
villas.
After having identified the tree, I try to talk to the owner or the old people who live in that area, to
understand the type and characteristics of the fruit. Then, I ask if I can take some grafts – the young
branches – to reproduce that particular variety, and I have to say that in all these years no one has
ever refused, instead, they usually thank me!
Sometimes it's the owners who point out the varieties that need to be recovered, being themselves
enthusiasts who still have an ancient fruit-bearing plant in their garden.
At times, I drive along streets that I don't know: narrow streets leading to little villages, to try
finding old varieties and approaching an old tree, to find out its variety. Sometimes, it can even get
dangerous due to the conditions of the streets, but I can't stop, as I feel this passion as a mission: to
save a variety from extinction and to preserve biodiversity.