Laura ArredondoComment

MURABILIA: A MARKET, FOR FARMERS - ITALY

Laura ArredondoComment
MURABILIA: A MARKET, FOR FARMERS - ITALY

LUCCA, ITALY

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A google search will be fruitless; you won’t find very much about it, unless you speak Italian: MURABILIA is an annual market for serious enthusiasts and professionals in horticulture - located in the beautiful medieval city of Lucca, in Tuscany.

For quick readers, vendor links highlighted throughout in bold.
Does anybody have the attention span to read blog posts anymore? Doubtful!


Over the past 18 years, MURABILIA has gained recognition in Europe, beyond just Italy. I haven’t seen anything quite like it myself anywhere.. It took persistent tuning in with my moral compass to not succumb to the temptation of smuggling seeds in my luggage as I walked in horticultural ecstasy, tantalized by interminable displays of tomatoes, figs, pears, heirlooms and crossbreeds alike.

Azienda Agricola Florovivaistica Campolungo   is dedicated to producing plants with organic and conservational methods, offering services ranging from custom garden projects and garden maintenance to garden restoration. Their tomato display at Murabilia was breathtaking… As extraordinary as the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is, this display was next level. #gardeningoals / vivaiocampolungo@virgilio.it

Azienda Agricola Florovivaistica Campolungo is dedicated to producing plants with organic and conservational methods, offering services ranging from custom garden projects and garden maintenance to garden restoration. Their tomato display at Murabilia was breathtaking… As extraordinary as the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is, this display was next level. #gardeningoals / vivaiocampolungo@virgilio.it

Lucca is a perfect picturesque large town/small city to hunker down for a couple weeks; to read, wander the streets, walk the idyllic medieval walls circling the entire ancient city. [Side note: Any urban planner interested in building a sense of community would drool over this unique architectural feature.]

Here locals of all ages gather as family, high-school clans, enamored couples… kissing, jogging and cycling, or leisurely strolling with a gelato in hand on Sunday afternoons.

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Man weaving baskets by hand, with 100% natural marsh grasses - see left.

Man weaving baskets by hand, with 100% natural marsh grasses - see left.

No website, but you can contact them at intercciodimani@gmail.com If dialing from US +001 39 338 9595015

No website, but you can contact them at intercciodimani@gmail.com
If dialing from US +001 39 338 9595015

MURABILIA summary:

  • held atop the city walls and neighboring botanical garden

  • 3 day event, first week of September

  • approx. 250 exhibitors specialized in Italian and foreign horticulture

  • offering a remarkable cultural, botanical and horticultural program: thematic exhibitions, conferences, publications, workshops, and plain ol’ market stands with fresh food & plant related goods for purchase…

  • open to all; enthusiasts and industry professionals welcome!

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Vivai Belfiore in particular had me swooning. Yes, behind these tables was one very handsome Italian man in charge… but I’m referring to the far more exciting bountiful display of endless varieties of apples, pears, figs, nuts, grapes, pomegranates, cherries, olives... #dream #heaven. Vivai Belfiore specializes in ancient, rare and historical fruits - for low maintenance, natural cultivation. Their catalog of indigenous mediterranean plants of high rusticity is staggering.

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If ever I settle this restless soul of mine I suspect it’ll be the result of succumbing to the the temptation of a bit of land to re-establish a food garden, and at last plant some fruit trees. If you are lucky enough to live in Italy and are seeking rare fruit trees - look no further. Vivai Belfiore is also on Facebook & Twitter. Click on grid above for more of the many photos I took of their exhibit alone.

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Italy is the largest rice producer in Europe, where more than 50 varieties are cultivated! Mostly located in the Northern regions, small areas of paddy fields can also be found in Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Sardinia and Calabria. / www.enterisi.it

...we aim to spread awareness on the new and complex realities of modern agriculture, and discuss the problems of the family and of the woman inserted in the agricultural context, both as an entrepreneur and as a citizen.
— Donne & Riso

Donne & Riso (Women & Rice), was founded in Vercelli in 1979. Visit their website, or find Donne & Riso on Facebook to learn more about this association, buy their beautifully cultivated rice, or discover new risotto & rice recipes. Thank you google translator for an amazing job at translating entire webpages in seconds!

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How many times have you packed your bag a couple days before you depart, to gauge the remaining empty space available for the acquisition of more goods? For me, souvenirs usually mean food related items, which usually means, heavy items. See below ancient heirloom stone-ground flours. How could I not? So, I did. I have one word for you, heavy. I have another word for you, willful. Enter Eredita dal Passato...

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As a pastry artist, I was immediately drawn to Eredita dal Passato’s stand. Inherited from his grandfather, the farm had been cultivated by local farmers for decades. Honoring customs and traditions from the past, Eredita dal Passato offers truly ancient grains and cereals, aromatic herbs, berries, legumes… They are certified organic, and employ biodynamic farming practices to cultivate a healthy soil for these specific grains. Both grains and legumes are available whole or ground. If you’re curious to learn how to make these traditional breads yourself, they also offer courses 2-3 times a month on old methods, using a wood burning oven. Find more info on their website, or on Facebook.

I grew up on bread, jam and my grandparents’ stories; more than fairy tales they were true stories, retold from their parents about characters with rough hands, such as the carter, the tinker, the umbrella maker, the knife grinder... This is my legacy from the past... to transfer the emotions and memories through the aromas and flavors, which I attempt to rediscover according to the traditions of the past.
— Eredita dal Passato
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Another showstopper exhibitor - Zucche & Co. Oh the PUMPKINS! Scroll to the end of the post for photo gallery.. Zucche & Co is comprised of a small group of enthusiasts who grow pumpkins as a hobby. They exhibit over 170 varieties of cucurbitacee at Murabilia! It’s worth the trip alone. FYI, they sell seeds. You can’t legally take them in your luggage. But, mail? Just sayin’.

At Murabilia we put anyone who’s interested in the seeds of the many varieties that we have collected over the years, all the useful tips to get excellent results.
— Zucche & Co
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If spicy is your thing, for a variety of all kinds of chiles and pastes… this is your guy: La Terra dei Capsi Website. On Facebook info@laterradeicapsi.com

Italian wool table liners. If only I’d brought a bigger suitcase.

Italian wool table liners. If only I’d brought a bigger suitcase.

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Vibrant & aromatic spices at Murabilia.

Vibrant & aromatic spices at Murabilia.

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Stunning Palazzo Pfanner, Lucca -  website  Check calendar of classical music ensembles, tours of the palace and gardens available.

Stunning Palazzo Pfanner, Lucca - website Check calendar of classical music ensembles, tours of the palace and gardens available.

Kiwi Berries from a vendor at Murabilia.

Kiwi Berries from a vendor at Murabilia.

Close up of a tree inside the  Botanical Garden .

Close up of a tree inside the Botanical Garden.

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Cantina Delle Fate  website. Cheeses, Olive Oils, Wines, soups…

Cantina Delle Fate website. Cheeses, Olive Oils, Wines, soups…

You can also find Cantina Delle Fate on  Instagram  &  Facebook

You can also find Cantina Delle Fate on Instagram & Facebook

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Liquomar (liqueurs photo above) was a stand I had the chance to hurriedly visit on my way out as the event was wrapping for the day. Thank goodness I made the pit stop. Their flower and herb infused liqueurs are exquisitely aromatic. Also on Facebook.

Its founder, my grandfather Laerte began his artisanal activity there, always using natural raw materials, carefully chosen to achieve perfection and quality. Later the activity passed to my mother Cinzia, who driven by the passion for this work, has maintained the qualitative excellence of our production.Today driven by the desire to continue the path taken by my family, I Mara, continue the activity in a small town in the province of Turin, at the foot of the Valle d’Aosta, between medieval castles and corn fields. Our products are made with flowers, fruits and aromatic herbs; selected raw materials and seasonal, each product may come with slightly different shades, a symptom of craftsmanship and excellence.
— Mara, Liquomar
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Murabilia is yet another reason to visit Lucca, and September is a wonderful time of year to go - tourism is a little quieter, and the weather was not too hot, just cool enough. The fact that it’s about an hour from Florence by train, yum... But more on that in a separate post.

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Here below are more photos for any of you like me that can’t get enough of cucurbitaceae (gourd/pumpkin/squash) porn. If you’re interested in seeds: Zucche & Co is the source! On Facebook