In the background Marietta and Cesidio Di Ciacca, the great grandparents of Sofia Di Ciacca, owner of Azienda Agricola I Ciacca Srl.
This photo shows the couple at I Ciacca, during the grape harvest.
Marietta and Cesidio embody the values of I Ciacca, through their respect for tradition and their willingness to take risks to build a life for the future.
Scots Italian Family Farm, Picinisco, Italy
Maturano IGT, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Delicacies
Back to the Future
THE DI CIACCA FAMILY
Cesidio's father, Johnny was born in I Ciacca. His grandparents, Cesidio and Marietta (pictured here during a vendemmia at I Ciacca in the 1920s), moved to Scotland at the turn of the 20th century along with many other families from the area.
Cesidio's nostalgia along with his desire to regenerate the area is the driving force behind the company. Cesidio wishes that the project at I Ciacca, together with other initiatives in the area will create employment and opportunites for the youth of the village.
Cesidio, his wife Selina and their children Sofia and Giovanni are excited about I Ciacca's future. Giovanni who is 16 and has Down's Syndrome, loves the farm and is looking forward to getting involved when he leaves school.
SOFIA DI CIACCA
Sofia was told by a school careers teacher at fifteen years old that she should become a gardener. Two degrees and ten years later, she discovered that her careers teacher was right.
Whilst working in the corporate world in London, Sofia was becoming incresingly interested in her family's, project in Picinisco. After opening a small boutique hotel in the village of their ancestry, Cesidio turned his head to reacquiring the family farm, I Ciacca. Cesidio and Sofia's passion for fantastic produce and redeveloping the farm and the area spurred her to a career change in 2014.
She spent her first vintage at Poggiotondo in Tuscany, with I Ciacca's consultant winemaker, Alberto Antonini. Learning from the farmers, enologists and winemakers there sparked an interest and love of the winemaking process from field to bottle.
Sofia's hope is for I Ciacca to become an interesting producer of extra virgin olive oil and fine wines which reflect a territory so special that it pulled the Di Ciacca family back to the beginning, where they belong.
We are very proud of our team at I Ciacca. Antonio, Luca, Mario and Onorio look after the land. Cousin, Luca Fabrizio helps to keep an eye on things when the Di Ciacca's are in Scotland. Marica is our fantastic administrator and Ilaria looks after the plants and environment. Our team is young and vibrant, and with Mario's experience, they embody our values, enthusiasm and love for the land and the territory.
I CIACCA AND PICINISCO
I Ciacca is a small hamlet near the town of Picinisco, Val Comino, halfway between Rome and Naples. The Di Ciacca family can trace its roots back to the same hamlet for at least 500 years, when records began and infact their name literally means 'from I Ciacca'.
Slowly, the family started moving away, frist to Picinisco and the neighboroughing towns and villages then to Rome and abroad. Nowadays, members of the Di Ciacca family are based in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, France and Switzerland.
I Ciacca was last lived in by Cesidio's Zia Immacolata in the 1970s and the hamlet had lain abandoned ever since.
After opening the Sotto Le Stelle hotel in Picinisco, the family began acquiring and bringing life back to the forgotten hamlet. In 2012, Azienda Agricola I Ciacca srl was born.
Picinisco will be celebrating its millenial anniversary in 2017. The village borders the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise (voted in the top 5 national parks in Europe by Lonely Planet). Reasons including economic problems resulting from the unification of Italy and the first and second world wars have meant that Piciniscans have emigrated all over the world but the warmth of the people, the food, culture, nature and beauty of the area pull its descendants back year after year.
For more information on Picinisco, please visit:
The first vines were planted in 2013 under winemaker Dr Alberto Antonini's supervision.
Our first wine, to be harvested in 2016, will be Maturano, an indigninous, local white grape. The grape, which may have been referenced in the Roman poet, Virgil's writing, has been almost lost for the past fifty years. Now, a few winemakers are starting to use this fantastic grape once again.
Picinisco was known for Maturano in an agricultural survey carried out by the government after the unification of Italy and another survey in th 1560s speaks of the excellent quality of white wine from Picinisco.
Our aim is to offer a variety of white wines,a sparkling wine and in time a red wine only using local grapes.
We use no pesticides or synthetic materials and we are currently in the organic certification conversion process.
Work for the I Ciacca winery is well underway. The cantina, under supervision from consultant winemaker, Alberto Antonini, architect Assunta D'Andria, engineers Stefano De Vito of BCD Projetti srl, Rome and Stefano Mignani of M&E srl Firenze and their teams, will operate by gravity and will be built into the hillside.
We believe the cantina will be unique in its simplicity, efficiency and elegance and most importantly, we believe this winery will help make an excellent wine, true to its territory.
We will use state of the art concrete 'egg' tanks which will ensure that the wine is able to breathe as much as possible.
The winery will be totally organic, using only natural products to clean the winery and to purify the wine.
At 560 metres above sea level, with the Maianarde mountains behind and the Comino Valley ahead, I Ciacca has an incredibile setting. With very cold winters, hot summers with an almost daily rainfall and a constant mountain breeze coming from the Tyrrhenian sea 20 miles to the west, I Ciacca has a unique climate in Southern Italy.
The soil has not been touched at I Ciacca for at least sixty years and no chemical or synthetic materials have to the best of our knowledge ever been used. The ground is rich, rocky and fertile.
We are formally an area of the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise called pre-parco and are very pleased that the Park has paid for fences to be erected around our beehives to preserve them from the famous Marsican Bears which roam freely through the Park.
OUR CONSULTANT WINEMAKER ALBERTO ANTONINI
Alberto Antonini is a world leading consultant winemaker. Receently listed as one of the top five winemakers in the world, he was Antinori lead winemaker for many years and whas been instrumental in bringing Argentinian wines to the international acclaim.
Alberto has been involved in I Ciacca since its conception and Sofia Di Ciacca has spent time with him at his vineyard in Tuscany, learning from this great master winemaker.
OUR AWARD WINNING EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Our EVOO is a single estate olive oil, made from Leccina, Itrana, Marina and Moraiolo varieties. We handpick our olives early in the season when they are still green and cold press them on the same day at our local organic mill. It offers an oil of an unmistakable green colour, with a fruity, floral perfume and a bitter taste with a creamy yet clean texture. A fantastic pepperiness follows at the back of the mouth, which comes from the Marina variety and is due to the high level of polyphenols in our oil.
We are present in the "Slow Food Extravirgin Guide 2016".
Luca looks after the bees at I Ciacca and makes a beautiful honey. It is pale in colour and delicately floral. A very special honey indeed.
JAMS AND PRESERVES
Abundant orchards provide the fruit for our preserves and jams. Fig plum and a particular favourite, mulberry. As with all our products, no artificial preservites or synthetic materials are used in the growing or making of these delicious products.
THE I CIACCA FOUNDATION FOR FOOD EXCELLENCE
Education and an understanding of the land were fundamental to the Di Ciacca family being able to live at I Ciacca for at least 500 years. Consequently, I Ciacca has always been a place to teach and a place to learn.
We are building a collaboration between institutions in Scotland and Italy relating to food and Learning - from field to table and to market - involving growing, gastronomy, cooking, hospitality and business skills.
The vision is to create a system and knowledge base which helps young people to gain the hope and confidence to recover land; deliver excellent organic products to the markets, which really value the products (either through cooking or directly to consumers) with the business skills to create micro -businesses which employ 3-10 people - all against a background of the importance of gastronomy to health, environment and nation (i.e. the economy) and the use of modern scientific knowledge and techniques (but not chemicals). Cultural exchange and focus on young adults are cornerstones of our work.
The plans have been designed by Arch. Assunta D’Andria and her team. The project is ambitious and will require funding from national and European bodies.
The aim is to bring attention, life and work back to this forgotten hamlet and to keep the local gastronomic tradition and priceless agricultural knowledge alive for the next 500 years.
The Foundation for Food Excellence
I Ciacca - La Cantina - Picinisco
- Via Giustino Ferri, 7
03040 Picinisco (FR)