The Story of a Naturally PDO Product

It is known that the cultivation (and “culture”) of Genovese Basil originates with its historical nucleus in the peri-urban agricultural areas of the western city and precisely in Genova Prà.

In this circumscribed area, historical sources describe a particular peculiarity: the intertwining of fine agricultural crops and manufacturing. In 1798, the Land Registry of the Democratic Ligurian Republic shows in this area a large presence of mills for paper, wheat, oil and other production entities.

This “industrial” condition will prove indispensable to the agricultural development of Prà when, starting from the end of the 19th century, the construction of increasingly numerous greenhouses will give rise to the traditional cultivation of Basil and a significant transformation of the territory and the urban landscape.

At the basis of the primacy of Basil in the Prà area there is therefore an innovation, impossible elsewhere, in the historical conditions of marketing: because in the past – not too distant – pesto sauce made of basil was replaced by a product of other vegetables (herbs pesto sauce), until the proximity to the city and the peculiar condition of Prà made it possible to “invent” the winter availability of basil.

On the territory overlooking the coast of Genova Prà, and more precisely on its terraced hills close to the sea, basil has learned to live with the urbanization aspects of the city and its port vocation. Here basil is grown in the open ground, especially in the greenhouses located on the terraces between Rio San Michele, Rio San Pietro, Rio Fagaglia and the Branega stream, thanks to the perfect combination of soil, availability of spring water and a particular microclimate.

In this peri-urban area, in fact, the environmental conditions allow for a balance of aromas and flavours that make the Basil of Genova Prà unique.

Ultimately, Genovese Basil and Prà represent an inseparable pair, condition sine qua non one of the other. Genovese Basil grows at its best in Prà. And Prà finds in the cultivation of Genovese Basil the distinctive trait of an ancient and rural economy, still handed down today by small local producers.

Fresh PDO Genovese Basil, a naturally PDO product (link to PDO website)