“Typicity and culture revive rural economy”

Giovanni Gatti, owner of the organic company in his father Libero Gatti’s name, with Carolea oil and wild fruit jam

Unique local organic products valued in half the world markets and the overall momentum of the Biodistrict and the basket of typical Copanello (Cz) products. The experience of Giovanni Gatti motivated the Calabrian producer certified by Suolo e Salute, heir to a tradition of awareness of culture, environmental protection and social cohesion in the territory, which has its roots in Cassiodorus’ work fifteen hundred years ago

Culture provides a livelihood. Nature and the environment too. And the ability to aggregate and combine makes the economy across rural areas grow.

That proves it Giovanni Gatti, owner of the firm Libero Gatti in Copanello, Province of Catanzaro, Calabria. Promotion of the biodistrict Bio-Calabria by Copanello, recognized by the Calabria region in February last year, it is only the latest of its companies.

Copanello promontory overlooking the Ionian Sea, where the company LIbero Gatti stretches

Good blood does not lie

An entrepreneurial spirit and an awareness of environmental sustainability and social cohesion, which must be at least partly genetically based. Giovanni is actually the heir to a family and cultural tradition that makes your wrists shake.

The farm was actually founded 100 years ago and since the 1930s it has been run by the grandmother, the baroness Elvira Marincola Cattaneo and from the grandfather Giovanni Gatti, politically limited by Modena origin, married in second marriage. Their work must have been inspired by the Cassiodorean remains found in the company.

The inspirer of the concept of social coexistence

Cassiodorus, chancellor of Theodoric and enlightened promoter of Vivarium in the fifth century, is considered a humanist before litter. The remains of his castrum are included in the boundaries of the firm of Libero Gatti in Copanello

Flavius ​​the Great Aurelio Cassiodoro Senator he was in fact an enlightened statesman who lived in the fifth century AD, adviser to the estrogenic king Theodoric the Great (that of Ravenna’s mausoleum), inspirer of the concept of civilizations which aimed at the social, legal and economic coexistence of Roman and foreign citizens and then the founder of the Copanello of the Vivarium, a prototype of a monastery that even preceded the Benedictine tradition and inspired their rule.

An awareness of the area’s social stability, which 1,500 years later also marked the work of Baroness Marincola Cattaneo, who, elected mayor of Staletti in the 1960s, promoted the construction of schools, aqueducts, sewers and initiatives to reduce unemployment. Under her and her husband’s enlightened leadership, the Copanello company exported oil and citrus fruits to England and Northern Europe as early as the early 1950s, pioneering the path of globalization.

A unique natural area

The family business is located on the Copanello headland, recognized as a site of community interest in the Natura 2000 network, a granite massif that dominates the entire Gulf of Squillace with high cliffs overlooking the Ionian Sea. Sea that caught Libero’s attention, son of the baroness and founder of a natural history museum that housed its malacological collections (now closed), while his nephew Giovanni is more attracted to the land than the sea.

The flowering of wild herbs in the farmhouse Santa Maria di Staletti

During his progress, the 24 hectares of the Copanello property have been revived, with the conversion to organic, the certification of Soil and Health, the first certification body in Italy and also in Calabria, where it controls almost 50% of organic farms. and the enhancement of an extra virgin olive oil with unique aromatic and nutraceutical properties.

The Copanello promontory is actually characterized by the presence of tall forests (the original cork forest was replaced by the olive grove two centuries ago by the Bourbons) and Mediterranean scrub with deep valleys marked by violent waterways.

The unique perfumes from Carolea

Here, olives of the Carolea variety have a fruity aroma and a spicy and bitter aroma, properties other than those of Pollino or the nearby Squillace plain. A plus enhanced by Giovanni Gatti with productions exported worldwide. Especially in Japan, the Jas-certified organic extra virgin olive oil from the Gatti company has become a cult product with sales of silkscreen and personalized bottles and adoption of plants and parts of olive groves from a distance.

Wild fruit jams

Giovanni Gatti and the drying of figs

Truly natural organic products: the search for unique has led Gatti to produce decidedly alternative jams, based on prickly pear, myrtle, wild grapes, obtained from spontaneous vegetation.

The leaves of the wild olive Olea sylvestris, properly dehydrated and processed, they have become a unique ingredient for tasting cheese, biscuits and other baked goods. The next project will be to increase the production of medicinal plants in start-up. But to enrich the range of typical local products, Gatti has found another way involving the 31 different member realities of the Biodistrict of Organic Foods in Calabria – Copanello.

The indirect support for Soil and Health

Giovanni Gatti

“An initiative,” he comments Alessandro D’EliaGeneral Manager of Soil and Health – where our certification body has played an indirect role as promotion and stimulus, with respect for the roles, thanks to the experience of Val di Vara, in the province of La Spezia, where we have helped to do what it is first biodistrict in our country to grow ».

Among the members of the Biodistretto di Copanello are producers of spiced meat, cheeses, pasta factories and five wineries. Ideal for building a basket of organic products with a strong local connotation, which, thanks to Gatti’s push, improves the range of restaurants and agro – tourism that accept the challenge proposed by Giovanni.


Restoration of the Cassiodorus basins

The Cassiodorus Basins (photo tourism in Calabria)

The Copanello headland is a naturalistic area characterized by a rich bird life and an archeological area with a stratigraphy, where early Greek (Skilla), Greek (Skilletion), Roman (Scolatium) and late Roman settlements alternated.

The latter include the Cassiodorean sites of the Vivarium Monastery and the Cassiodoro Basins, or the fish farms, which are the subject of a restoration project supported by Giovanni Gatti, and the castrum, the remains of which are all included in the Gatti Society.

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