Bronte

Bronte is one of the largest town in the province of Catania, its territory is one of the widest and most fertile, thanks to the volcanic and argillaceous nature of its soil.

The population is about 20.000 inhabitants. The town, located on the north-western slope of the Etna volcano, overlooks the Simeto river valley.

The economy is based on the growing of olives, citrus fruits, almonds, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pears, grapes and, above all, the best quality of pistachios in the world.

Bronte

History

According to an ancient myth, the cyclop Bronte, one of the sons of Neptune, was the founder and first king of this town. Even Virgil in its "Eneid" mentions this cyclop, thus witnessing a deep bond between the town and Mount Etna, home of those ancient gods.

According to history, though, the first inhabitants of Bronte were the Siculians, settling in this place around the VIII century B.C., as witnessed by coeval furnace tombs found in the town's territory.

Pistacchi di Bronte

Archaelogical foundings also reveal the presence of Greek, Phoenician and Roman settlements.

After the Dark Ages, this area, like the rest of Sicily, was occupied by Arabs who introduced several innovations in the agricultural production of the island, among which the growing of pistachios.

This plant grows very strong on volcanic soil and the pistachios from Bronte are the best all over the world. Pistachios are picked up by hand, one by one, and this also contributes to keep their taste.

The famous Pistachios Festival

Sagra del Pistacchio di Bronte

It's a very popular festival in the Etna volcano area, and it takes place in September in the town's centre, where typical settings from the ancient peasant tradition are purposedly put up, with actors using the old tools of local craftsmen.ch as sausages, pasta, sweet or salted paste, different kinds of cakes, ice-cream and even liqueurs. Pistachios can be considered a kind of green gold creating profits for 18 million euros every year, and an output of 1% of world production.

Processing of pistachios

After picking up, the fruits are first deprived Pistacchio di Bronteof their husk and then dried in the sun for 5-6 days. Then they (the so-called "Tignoselle") have to be shelled and peeled. The peeling is obtained with the help of a hi-tech method, exposing the fruits to high-pressure steam. Then they are mechanically desiccated and selected. The end of the process is the packaging of the completely dry product (humidity 5/6%).

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