Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, il cuore più verde dell'Umbria
The Greenest Heart of Umbria
According to an ancient legend, the gods Athena and Poseidon once argued over who would rule the city of Attica in Greece. Zeus, the father of the gods, declared that the new ruler would be the one who could present him with a discovery that would most benefit mankind. Athena commanded Mother Earth to grow a new tree whose fruit would have almost magical powers. Upon beholding the albero d’olivo (olive tree), Zeus pronounced Athena the winner.
The spirit of Athena lives on in Umbria’s Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio, the greenest part of the verdant region known as the green heart of Italy. Over the last three years Monte Vibiano, renowned for its olive oil and wines, has become the first agribusiness (la prima azienda agraria) in the world to cut its carbon emissions (emissioni di CO2) to zero.
Monte Vibiano’s “360-degree Green Revolution” includes a solar park that generates enough electricity to power the entire estate, sustainable bio-fuels and a fleet of electric powered vehicles. In the summer, lo staff del Castello (the Castello employees) trim vines by hand to ensure that the grapes get enough sunshine. In the fall olives from its 12,000 trees are also picked by hand.
A free eco-tour (tour ecologico), available in English as well as Italian, provides a first-hand view of the environmental-friendly technologies -- plus a fun bonus. Visitors board electric jeeps (jeep elettriche) for an exhilarating ride through the Castello’s vineyards (vigneti) and olive groves (oliveti), set on a hill (su una collina) overlooking hundreds of acres of fields and forests, with the town of Perugia in the distance.
After the tour you can visit the winery (cantina) and the oak barrel cellar (barricaia) and learn the processes involved in the production (fasi di produzione) of wine and olive oil. The Green Wine Bar, an elegant terrace (terrazzo) decorated with unique furnishings made with recycled wine barrels and corks, offers a free tasting (degustazione) for visitors. In addition to award-winning wines, you can sample Monte Vibiano's signature quick-frozen olive oil, served on freshly toasted bruschetta.
Monte Vibiano's olives and grapes grow in such a pure envionment (un ambiente puro) and breathe the best air (l’aria migliore), so its oil and wine taste unlike any others, explains Lorenzo Fasola Bologna (above), whose family has lived in the Castello for centuries. Because of "la nostra tradizione" (our tradition) and la nostra passione (our passion), he says, il vino diventa poesia (wine becomes poetry) and olio diventa arte (oil becomes art).
If you come to Umbria, don’t miss this unforgettable experience. Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio is open year round, but you must make a reservation (prenotazione) for the eco-tours. You can also buy its exceptional olive oil and wine online.
Words and Expressions
la salvaguardia della natura -- the safeguard of nature
l'inquinamento -- pollution
la conservazione -- preservation, maintenance
essere al verde -- to run out of money, the equivalent of the English "going into the red" (This expression dates back to the time when the base of a candle was painted green. When the flame burned down to the green, people without money ran out of light as well.)
Dianne Hales is the author of LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language.
If you can't make it to Umbria, click below for a virtual tour: