Discovering lost citrus

Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s reputation far exceeds the breadth, and perhaps also the depth, of his artistic output. The artist from Lombardy is one of the best known and most mentioned because of the intrinsic content of his work, power of communication and curious interpretations. How many other painters, also of considerably clearer fame, enjoy quite so many copies and imitations?

All because of those heads, grotesque depictions of surrealism before its time, in which visual features are reconstructed mostly with faithfully reproduced plant elements. Mysterious fruit also appears, which we can’t find anywhere today.

In the hanging gardens of Poggio Casciano, we have retrieved several forgotten citrus varieties, with unusual and bizarre shapes, intense perfumes and flavors far from the present penchant for perfect produce.

Imaginatively named shrubs and bushes are lovingly tended to so that we can relive the biodiversity we almost lost. Melangolo, Bizzarria and Canarone are oddly shaped and gnarled, but still arouse the curiosity of visitors and gardeners, and even photographers…

In the garden or in capacious containers under the pergola, ancient citruses are trusted companions for a lost world that lingers in our memory, capable of eliciting the charm of imperfect agronomy that’s nevertheless full of wonder and discovery.