Farro, or spelt, is a truly ancient grain. It was a favourite dish of the Romans who used it to feed their legions. It isn’t widely cultivated today except in Garfagnana where it is still it is used to prepare fantastic soups and unmistakable spicy cakes. The boom of natural, vegetarian and macrobiotic diets mean that spelt is growing in popularity again in other parts of the country.
In Garfagnana, spelt has been grown for thousands of years and has therefore retained its original characteristics, making it unique and distinguishable from spelt produced in other areas. In 1996, the Garfagnana spelt received the European designation of quality label PGI Protected Geographical Indication (IGP in Italian).The basic requirements for its production are linked to the territory: it must be sown in soil lacking in nutrients, between 300 and 1000 meters above sea level during the autumn. It thrives without the aid of chemical substances.