According to Greek myth, handsome mortal Crocos fell in love with the beautiful nymph Smilax. But his favours were rebuffed by Smilax, and he was turned into a beautiful purple crocus flower. The deep orange-red stigmas of the beautiful purple Crocus sativus are what we call saffron. It takes the stigmas from 100.000 to 200.000 crocus flowers to make 1 kg of saffron.
Experts believe saffron was first documented in a 7th century BC Assyrian botanical reference, it’s use – first as a therapeutic drug, later as as spice – has been documented ever since.
Saffron cultivation was introduced in Le Marche by the Duke Federico da Montefeltro and this spice was cultivated in the Ducal Palace’s kitchen garden.
A very active and resourceful couple is trying to revive this old tradition in their small farm near Urbino and they’re offering visits to their zafferaneto (saffron field) to our guests.
Visit the zafferaneto, learn about saffron cultivation and production, listen to Silvia’s fascinating insights on saffron tradition and use, buy some beautifully packed organic saffron stigmas from their own produce (also makes a great present for your family and friends!) or buy some bulbs and give home-production a try!
Read more on how and when to visit.