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Around Italy in Vintage Citrus-Growing Technology

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Around Italy in Vintage Citrus-Growing Technology

Photo caption: Steep slopes made the pulley system at the Aceto farm a necessity. Courtesy of Sophia Massarella. Article by Karen Chernick.

A photography project is capturing the age-old ingenuity of fruit farmers.

A few years ago, photographer Sophia Massarella asked the librarian at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum to pull Hesperides from the stacks, on a whim. The 17th-century treatise on citrus sounded intriguing, since beyond knowing she loved eating acidic lemons and oranges, she didn’t know much else about the fruits.

When the hefty volume reached her table, she was blown away by Giovanni Battista Ferrari’s masterpiece. Massarella leafed through the Jesuit scholar-turned-botanist’s intricate illustrations of citrus varieties she’d never seen before, blueprints for citrus orchards, and even his drawings of farming tools. By the time she left the museum that day, she was hooked. […]

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