An endless work around olive trees. The olive grove has almost one thousand trees of different varieties spread over steep terraces, on the side of Montalbano which looks out to the sea. The story of this farm in the heart of Tuscany, that has long devoted itself to a selective production of extra-virgin multivarietal olive oil, starts here among splendid olive trees, dry stonewalls, bushes of aromatic herbs and blackberries, as well as ancient ferns still growing in the cool undergrowth.


For one reason or another, three siblings, Franco, Fiorenzo and Fiorenza, father and uncles, were those who discovered this place beyond Montalbano in the 1970s. It was not particularly attractive at the time: the general opinion was that the estate was harsh and too steep, hence inconvenient and not well positioned. Moreover, there was a lot of work to be done to recreate the conditions to produce olives.


Maybe it was true, but the three siblings were not thinking of production: they just wanted a place where to spend time together, discuss, grow vegetables and satisfy their inclinations.


The equipment was manual, and there was great satisfaction when, after a whole day of work, there was an olive peeking through the brambles.

“To tell you the truth we were not born in the countryside, but we spent as much time as we could among these plants together with our sister when we were young children. Together we have seen the olive trees grow and change, and have learnt how to look after the olive grove from our seniors.


We have spent most of our teenage years in this countryside, with the family gathering on weekends, observing and helping. This is how we learnt from nature to give value to things and to work in order to reach our goals. 


We dedicate ourselves to olive growing all year round, because there is always something to do, and we find a lot of free time for this. We try to exploit the days at our maximum in order to control the vigorous vegetation which keeps us very busy throughout the year.


It is important to stick to the deadlines for pruning, milling, manuring, cutting the logs, stimulating the shooting of the olive trees in spring and getting to pick the olives on time in October. Everything has to be done at the right time, without stealing time to the next task. Therefore early rising, big breakfast and off to the fields, which is beautiful in the spring, and regenerating in winter in the cold mornings under a bright blue sky. The cold weather of a few years ago during the harvesting of the olives is a very vivid memory.”

“Gradually we got to know every inch of the land little guessing its true extent, and from there we have enjoyed striking views which we could never have imagined before.


We found out that there were a lot of olive trees, some of them had become wild over time, others were special (like the Rossellino). Many needed years of pruning before starting to be in shape; yes, because olive trees need pruning little by little. Like many other farmers we lost some trees after the ice frost of 1985 and have seen them grow again from scratch. We cut the beds of reeds and brambles and we see them growing again up to a meter over ten days. Season after season we have learnt to handle this soil, that has taught us how to do it. Some experts have congratulated us for the quality of the oil obtained, and have shown us how to taste oil. This has also pushed us to endure.”

Natural olive growing

We grow olive trees in a non-intensive way. This is a technical term, and it is opposite to superintensive, which today is seen as a competitive solution from the large Italian and foreign producers, achieved on flat land and with non-native cultivars of olives which are supposed to produce the maximum quantity.
The cultivars of the area (frantoio, moraiolo, pendolino, leccino), instead, produce four times less olives than superintensive olive growing. The yield is often just 11%.
The number of trees per hectare on terraces like ours is ridiculous, but all the rest is vegetation and biodiversity.

“We firmly believe that this co-existence naturally protects the same olive trees and the ripening of the olives. For this reason we don’t use any pesticide or weed-killer, and refuse to use any substance that can help us keep the soil clean.” 

The particular character of this small production lies in this type of soil, in this place and in this approach.
The farming estate Il Ronco does not own an oil mill, but looks for the best technological solutions in the area, and today its olives are milled at less than 25°C, in a continuous cycle, without exposing the paste to oxygen. The oil filtered soon after extraction keeps its high rate of polyphenols (biophenols) for a long time, thus slowing down oxidation and keeping the healthy characteristics, among which the antioxidant property for the users.


The oil is analysed after milling, and labelled in a transparent way: the label shows the origin of the olives, the year and month of production, and therefore the correct shelf like of the bottled product. The bottles comply with the standards for restaurants.