In Sicily, in a dark and dusty cellar, some years ago there was an ancient Sicilian barrow. In the past, it worked a lot carrying the olives and the pomace during the months after the 1st of November: according to tradition, harvest used to start in November and finish in January. Abandoned, during the years, the barrow lost all its magnificence and ended up covered with dust. Francesca had always seen it so: without its colours and its ability of telling stories. That, for her, was the black and dusty Sicilian barrow of her family. Michele, when he opened the new mill, thought it was time for the barrow to have a new life and to shine again. The restauration started and when it finished the barrow was beautiful, colourful and iconic again: it was ready to fascinate and to “cuntari” (to tell stories in Sicilian dialect) of events and stories of the past. The Sicilian traditional barrows, in fact, are very ancient: they appeared for the first time in the second half of the XVIII century and, already then, they impressed the eyes of all those who looked at them with their pictures and their colours. When Guy de Maupassant saw them for the first time almost a century later, in the spring of 1885, he defined them a “walking rebus” because of their decorative elements:
“Such barrows, little, square boxes, perched on the their high yellow wheels, are decorated with simple and curious paintings, representing hystorical events, adventures of each kind, meetings of kings, but above all the battles of Napoleone I and crusades; even the spokes of the wheels are decorated. The horse that carries them has a plumage on its head and another one in the middle of its back… Those painted, funny vehicles, different among them, walk the road and draw the eyes and the mind of the observer as rebus that you always want to solve.” [Source: ilSicilia.it]
Since their onset in Sicily, barrows have collected and told the most importan hystorical and religious events through their vividly painted illustrations. They were not only simple means of transportation, just a little “over the top”, but real deposit of history, art and culture, result of many months of artigianal work, skillful technique and numerous tools. As a further confirm, still nowadays, the two main cities of our island, Catania and Palermo, continue to decor their barrows with different details, because their traditions are different. In the first city, the background is red, as the lava of the volcano Etna, and on the barrows you can find elaborate decors and carvings. In the second one, instead, the main colour is yellow, as the lemons of Sicily, and the paints are more “spartan”, linked above all to knightly and religious events and characters.
Francesca’s black and worn barrow was a barrow with its soul in a cage waiting for being freed. In the same way, we have thought of our olive oil bottles: as little, dark barrows that were waiting for being reinterpreted to become the right container of the extra virgin olive oil. Since always we have been used to see these containers for the oil in a defined way, with certain colours and graphics, forgetting that they can be highly expressive, able to tell the colours, the traditons, the art and the culture of the land from where they come from, too.
Our innovation, since 2014 harvest campaign, has been to make their souls visible and free. All favola labels, as a Sicilian barrow, vibrate of bright colours and are rich in details that tell about our land of origin and of the values we believe in:
- the traditional crockery of Sicily are an invitation to our table, to share our specialties and to taste them with us;
- the flowers of bouganvillae and cactus are icons of Mediterranean traditional natural landscape;
- as well as, the wheel of an old barrow, the little flower of the olive oil trees, the sea waves that remind us of the sea and some typical majolicas.
Since then, further details have enriched our bottles, like the testa di Moro (head of Arabian) on our favola Cerasuola PGI Sicily.
They want to be the witnesses of our identity as firm, as family and as land: the working Sicily that is committed with ambition and respect of the territory to spread all over the world a product, which is symbol of the Mediterranean diet and of the good flavor, that is Olive Oil.
So, what do you think about our labels?