At The Frantoio
The Estate of Montelabatte nestles in the hills to the west of Gubbio near the village of Piccone. This co-operative now owned by the University of Padova is certified organic and has over 15,000 olive trees. Three years ago they received an European Community Grant and installed a modern oil mill or Frantoio, and they offer the facility to neighbours to press their olives. This was my choice for where to take the olives from Bellaugello to be milled and turned into wonderous olive oil. As I drove up the gently winding road what a lovely spot greeted my eyes, traditional farm buildings, well cared for land and to boot warm sunshine in which to bask whilst waiting turn for the pressing.
Antonio the Manager of Montelabatte Estate took us personally through the milling process, which as you see is carried out by the finest of modern machinery in a scrupulously clean environment. I love the blend of traditional and modern. Antonio also told me a bit about the Estate which of course once belonged to the church as evidenced by the monastery sitting proudly on the hill above the fattoria.
In the spring and summer on a Monday morning they offer small personal guided tours of the Benedictine Abbey explaining a bit of the history of the estate and locality, culminating in a light luncheon of home grown and local produce. The cost is €13.00 a head. We will definitely be participating in these when they re-commence next spring and offering a chance for guests at Bellaugello Gay Guest House to savour the delights of this beautiful, well managed estate…