Its like a journey back in time… travelling along old roads buried deep in Molise’s green hills with their rarefied air and ancient ambiance; here in this gently undulating countryside where the golden light plays on patches of silver-green olive trees and fields of yellow wheat. The olive tree plays the leading role on this stage, both in the scenery and in the history of the land.
It is here on the farm inherited in 1996 from her father, don Francesco Colonna, that Marina Colonna’s extra virgin olive oil came to life.
The origins of the relationship between an ancient Roman family and this farmland on the border between Molise and Puglia dates back to the beginning of the 1800s. The Duchess Cattaneo di Sannicandro married Prospero Colonna and with the bride came the land as part of her dowry. The fields of tobacco and cowsheds of last century have given way to other crops. There are now vast stretches of olive groves, wheat and sunflowers. Herons, hawks and migratory birds pause to feed at the estate’s three artificial lakes, the first innovative project in Southern Italy carried out by don Francesco in the early 1960s.
Masseria Bosco Pontoni is near San Martino in Pensilis, 120 metres above sea level. There are 180 hectares of olive groves, cereals and vegetable crops. The land is hilly, medium textured soil, partially south facing.
The olive groves cover 55 hectares and there are many different cultivars. More than half of the estate’s groves is certified organic. There are historic, local varieties and other experimental types of olive, altogether over 15 cultivars: Leccino, Frantoio, Peranzana, Gentile di Larino, Coratina, Ascolana Tenera, FS17, Cima di Melfi, Rosciola, Maiatica, Nocellara del Belice, Nociara, Itrana, Kalamata, Termite di Bitetto, Leccio del Corno.
Quality is a product of care and attention: in the case of olive groves the choice of fertilizer is crucial, this is a very delicate moment in the nurture of all plants. The Colonna olive groves are treated using natural fertilizers together with compost produced on the estate. The main pruning season is the winter, this revitalizes the plants, while light summer pruning is carried out selectively. In the hot summer months the trees are watered with a droplet system, decisive for the survival of the plants and for the optimum development of the fruit, thus avoiding stress through lack of water, which can compromise the growth and productivity of the plants.