Winter is never extremely cold and long in Maremma and Summer hot temperatures are
mitigated by cooling sea breezes. Rainfalls are abundant in Autumn and Spring, while long dry
season and snow precipitation are rare.
This microclimate is ideal for a varied spontaneous flora which is mainly composed by the
Mediterranean scrub of evergreen shrubs, aromatic plants and a multitude of annual essences
with coloured flowers that blossom one after the other all year round, giving a touch of colour to
the landscape in every season.
In the middle of Winter there are hedges made of tiny purple rosemary flowers, while the still
bare hazel tree lets its long brownish-yellow inflorescences freight with pollen move in the wind.
In late Winter you can find carpets of violets underneath white blackthorns, heather and
hawthorn shrubs, then comes the intense pink of the sycamore standing out on the soft green of
the Spring all around.
Spring is an explosion of colours and scents: acacia trees perfume the air while uncultivated
fields turn coloured with the intense yellow of the rapacella, the blue-violet of the borage, the
red-crimson of the .. closed to the fruit trees and the hundreds of small flowers studding
meadows. When Spring is about to give way to Summer delicate dog-rose flowers and timid
marruca and myrtle inflorescences show up on hedges, poppies create wonderful colour stains
on the edges of cereal fileds and clover and healing herb meadows get white, burgundy and
Then comes the golden yellow of sunflowers leading us towards the most warm and dry season,
but Maremma doesn’t stop blossoming: many bramble flowers that will give delicious
blackeberries show up on the bushes and amongst the sunny fields the spaccalocchio (also
known as schiucciolo, a wild thorny plant) opens its yellow plumes protected by thorns. At the
end of Summer little shrubs of brugo (similar to heather) brighten up the scrub, then arrive the
yellow cobs of the inula viscosa leading till late Autumn. In Fall most of the plants head towards
the Winter rest, but in Maremma there are still ivy flowers and on strawberry trees besides fruits
there will be bunches of white dangling flowers until December.
The mild climate and the efflorences availability all over the year make Maremma an ideal
environment for bees. We have to consider also the absence of factories and intensive farmings
that represent one of the principal causes for the diseases of bees because of the chemical
products released in the environment.
In Maremma bees give many kinds of multifloral honey with different properties and organoleptic
features depending on the production area and on the harvest time, since taste, colours and
benefits depend on the essences from where comes the nectar that is turned into honey.
Beside multifloral honeys many delicious monofloral ones are made in Maremma, some
common as the acacia, chestnut, clover, heather, other rare and peculiar of the area as the
marruca honey with a delicate taste and healthy properties for the stomach or the extremely
rare of spaccalocchio with green hues, delicious and with balsamic effects.
Our bees give us also other precious products as propolis, wax, royal jelly and pollen. The royal
jelly has excellent nourishing and restorative properties, since it is a natural source of vitamins,
is beneficious as food supplement for kids, elderlies and sportsmen and to strengthen immune
defense or to give us energy during stressful times.
The pollen, fresh, dry or frozen consumed, is a concentrate of carbohydrate, essential amino
acids and vitamins. It can be used as food supplement in place of synthetic ones, since each
pollen granule contain all the elements necessary to life. It has the benefit of reducing
cholesterol and triglycerides levels in blood. It is little ball-shaped, the grains are made by the
bees themselves and have different colourings depending on the flower they are collected from.
Up until a few decades ago each farmers family of Maremma used to have at least one own
beehives, that’s why honey is an important ingredient of traditional recipies as the tasty melatelli
The number of breeders considerably decreased because of various bee pathologies, but there
are still many beekeepers in our land: some do it as a hobby, others made it their profession
also specializing in the royal jelly and pollen production. Moreover, many beekeepers coming
from other areas of Italy moved to Maremma to breed their honey bees because of its
favourable environmental conditions.
Article by Irene Gamberi
Translation by Gemma Bancalà
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