Lemons as far as the eye can see, the distinctive landscape of “pagliarelle” cultivation, the intense scent of citrus fruits, the devoted farmer patiently and attentively harvesting lemons one by one and, beyond your gaze, the sea. This is “Le Grottelle”, the historic Sorrento Peninsula lemon grove that produces the extraordinary Sorrento Oval PGI lemons used by Villa Massa to make its traditional limoncello.
It is here, in “Le Grottelle” lemon grove, where Villa Massa’s magical Sorrento limoncello was born. Without these unique PGI lemons, and without respecting the old-style cultivation and harvesting techniques, we could not create our authentic Sorrento limoncello.
In the “Grottelle” lemon grove, we grow Sorrento Oval lemons like in the old days, in order to preserve their authenticity. We use pergolas, an ancient technique that requires the use of “pagliarelle”, characteristic straw mats that rest on chestnut trellises, protecting the trees from the elements and slowing down the ripening process. In addition, small banks built around the trees collect rainwater, ensuring that the plants receive nourishment even during the hottest months. Each stage in caring for the lemon grove involves ancient and natural techniques, such as manual pruning and fertilisation using organic products.
In the Villa Massa lemon grove, lemons are produced continuously: blossoms and ripe fruit can be seen on the same plant at the same time. For this reason, just like one hundred years ago, today we harvest the lemons by hand, picking only ripe fruit and preventing it from coming into direct contact with the soil. It is our farmer who has taken care of the harvesting in the “Le Grottelle” lemon grove for over twenty-five years, picking the fruits one by one, clipping them off and loading them into large wooden baskets, just like they did in times gone by.
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