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He has woven his existential love of art with that of nature: as the painter who trained at the Brera Academy, and after years on the important cultural scene of Milan emerged as a leading, award winning figure, but came back to the beautiful hills of the Tiber Valley and discovered, in this unique landscape on the border between Umbria and Tuscany, essential values such as love for the land, the common good and a living source from which to draw renewed inspiration.
Dante returned more than three decades ago and transformed the family farm in Ronti, which in 1999 saw the beginning of ‘Le Pietraie’; an oasis of industry based on a respect for the natural turning of the seasons and the quiet growth of olive trees . At the heart of it all is the ancient knowledge of the olive; a tree both majestic and humble. Of the 33 hectares of organically farmed land, (which produces honey and wine among other things), 18 have been selected and everything researched in terms of formation, arrangement and configuration, as well as altitude, aspect, ways of growing the plants and the cultivars best suited for a superior virgin oil.
Thus we get six types of oil each with their own specific uses: Collesecco, Vignolo, Pietraia, fruity with decreasing intensity, the monocultivar Gentiledi Anghiari, Borgiona and Apicale; all of which have been appreciated and adopted for quality gastronomy, such as by star chef Marco Bistarelli of the ‘Gradale’ in Monterone. Neither has Dante forgotten his aesthetic approach to life. Lively presences suddenly emerge from the olive trees: sculptures that the artist-farmer arranges like a metaphysical painting.
This year ‘Le Pietraie’ has been selected for the special edition of Ercole Olivario, and put on the Premium Gold List of Umbria, a competition sponsored by the Regional Chambers of Commerce of Umbria, in collaboration with the Region, Technology Park Agribusiness , Consortium Extra Virgin DOP ‘Umbria’, Coldiretti, Confagricoltura, CIA, National Academy of Olive and Oil, Faculty of Agriculture (University of Perugia), Centro Estero Umbria, Association and Association ‘Città dell’Olio’, and Chambers of Commerce of Perugia and Terni.
‘Le Pietraie’ will be present at Expo 2015 with its oil, the only representative with one of Umbria’s most typical products from the Upper Tiber Valley, whilst the other 14 other companies will be coming from the more traditionally suited areas of Southern Umbria.
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