The estate of the Marquis of San Giuliano: Sicily’s citrus fruit, oil, and wine
After visiting the estate of the Paternò Marquis in Castello di San Giuliano, between Catania and Syracuse, English author Helena Attlee wrote:
In Britain we think we have the monopoly on proper marmalade. I’d like to teach our marmalade fundamentalists a lesson by taking them to San Giuliano, an organic citrus estate on the eastern side of Sicily, outside Villasmundo and south of Catania, where they have been making excellent marmalade for years […].
At San Giuliano marmalade is made from November until May. Pot-grown citrus in central and northern Italy spend these months in the shelter of the limonaia, while the trees on the San Giuliano estate bask in winter sunshine, their roots deep in warm volcanic soil.
Their fruit is so heavy it pulls the branches down, forcing them into the soft grass that grows with perpetual springtime vigour all over the orange groves. The air is full of the energy of ripening fruit, fruit that has swollen slowly, absorbing the heat of a long Sicilian summer (H. Attlee, “The land where lemons grow: the story of Italy and its citrus fruit”, Penguin UK, 2014) .
But there are more than citrus groves in the three hundred hectares of this gorgeous Sicilian farm, which was renovated to its original splendor by Giuseppe Paternò Castello di San Giuliano and his wife, Fiamma Ferragamo (1941-1998), a crucial figure in the Salvatore Ferragamo Group. The estate now – on top of marmalades – produces fruit in syrup, honey, cookies, extra virgin olive oil and three great wines.
All of Sicily’s wonders.