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Historical document

Group study tour to Italy to attend the first European Congress on Chestnuts, 2009 (CH09005)

Key research provider: Australian Chestnut Company
Publication date: October, 2009

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

A group of thirteen Australians attended the 1st European Congress on Chestnut
- Castanea 2009, Cuneo, Italy 13 – 16 October 2009.

25 Countries with more than 150 delegates were present at this truly International event held at Cuneo, North West Italy on the border of the Italian/French Alps. Cuneo was the hub and capitol of Chestnuts in Italy.

Prior to the Congress starting, Study Tour organizers Brian and Jane Casey had arranged for the Australian delegates to experience a wonderful introduction into the culture of chestnuts in Italy. These included attending a “Castagna Fiera” (Chestnut Fair) in Marradi (2 hours north east of Florence), and before leaving Marradi the group were given the rare opportunity of touring the largest Marrons Glaces factory in Italy, seeing firsthand the process from the farmer bringing in the fruit to the final packaged product.

The group then travelled up to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana nestled below the Apuane Alps and the home of chestnut flour. Highlights from this visit was a 4 km walk through a chestnut plantation; down to an ancient building that housed the remnants of a time past, a chestnut mill.

The group then travelled to the mountain village Colognora val di Roggio for a private tour of the Museo del Castagno by the Curator Angelo Frati. This museum was dedicated to the cultivation and production of chestnuts dating back to 828BC.

Then it was onto the Congress in Cuneo (Piedmonte Provence). The Congress dates also coincided with the Fiera del Marrone held annually in Cuneo. The festival had stalls with every kind of chestnut product from fresh and roasted fruit (roasting was done over open fires in huge holed pans) to cakes, pastas, biscuits, bread, glaces and puree plus all the local produce and wares.

What was bought home to the delegates was the ancient tradition of the Chestnut culture in Italy and one of the reasons for holding the Congress was the many challenges facing their traditions hence the need for discussions to preserve, enhance and extend the tradition of chestnuts not only in Italy but worldwide.


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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Chestnuts Australia Inc.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2010. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).