Castèl Lemon Grove

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Limonaia del Castèl, nestled along the shores of Lake Garda, dates back to the early XVIII century. It was built for the cultivation of lemons, introduced in this area in 1200, with enough protection against occasional cold winters. This area soon became, in fact, the northernmost citrus production site in the world; in the past, several thousand lemons were also exported mainly to Germany, Poland, and Russia.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was struck by this very landscape on September 13, 1786, and wrote: “The morning was beautiful although cloudy, but at dawn quiet. We passed in front of Limone whose gardens arranged in terraces and planted with lemon trees have a rich and beautiful appearance. The garden consists of rows of white square pillars, which stand at a certain distance from each other and push themselves up the mountain along some steps. Above these pillars, there are strong structures covering the plants during the winter. The observation and contemplation of these pleasant objects were favoured by slow navigation … “.

In the second half of the XIX century, the crisis of cultivation made it lesser and lesser profitable; first, there was a gum disease (1855), then strong competition arose with southern producers. Eventually, the discovery of synthetic citric acid dealt a major blow to the local citrus economy.
Everything was shut down during the Great War, mostly due to the wholesale requisition of the roofing material in the lemon groves, and an exceptionally cold winter in 1928-29 destroyed what was left of them.

The current grove stretches on an area of 1.953 square yards and has undergone several changes over time, passing from one family to another (the Amadeis, the Bertonis, the Patuzzis, the Girardis, and the Polidoros). Later on, it was bought by Giuseppe Segala and finally sold to the municipal of Limone in 1995.

The central part of the structure acts as a link with the terraces and is now equipped as a museum-educational centre.

Inaugurated on 22 July 2004, it produces citron (Citrus medica), lemons (Citrus x limon), sweet and bitter oranges (Citrus × sinensis), chinotto (Citrus × myrtifolia), bergamot orange (Citrus × bergamia), grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi), mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) and round kumquat (Fortunella japonica).

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


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