Olive oil and honey from the Palatine Hill: now you can taste them!
Can ancient ruins and Roman monuments find a purpose beyond their unquestionable historic, artistic, documentary worth? The folks at Grabees think it’s very possible!
This Roman-based organization alludes in its name to the GRA – the Grande Raccordo Anulare, ie. the ring road junction that runs around outer Rome and more generally signifies that everything outside its edges is part of the countryside. The “-Bees” bit is really as straightforward as can be: the association deals with urban beekeeping, playing with the concept that what shouldn’t be possible in a big, polluted city is really easier than it seems.
Is urban beekeeping really possible?
Grabees’ manifesto explains: “Urban beekeeping, already a reality in many cities around the world for years, is also widespread in Italy and precisely in Turin, but also in Rome. Cities, in fact, compared to agricultural areas cultivated with single-crop or intensive farming, offer the bees many nectariferous and polliniferous areas rich in plants and flowers that are not treated with aggressive or harmful chemical agents: public and private gardens, flowerbeds, balconies and terraces.”
Paris has “urban bees” on the roof of the Grand Palais, in London you’re likely to find them at Lambeth Palace, and in Rome… apiaries have been installed on Palatine Hill, on the Appian Way Park and again in select locations by the Aurelian Walls.
It’s an inventive, and yet simple idea: many major landmarks in Rome are surrounded by parks that are there to preserve the monuments as much as they provide visitors with an overview of plants from the region, as well as a landscape that is as close as possible to the original one. In these situations, bees thrive and produce a great quality honey.
Olive oil and honey straight from the slopes of the Palatine Hill
And it’s not the only type of food made in the shadow of the ruins: olive oil from the trees in the Palatine Hill has also been produced!
Honey and olive oil from last year proved a great success: 120 liters (31 gallons) of oil and 14 kilograms (30 pounds) of honey have been made on the Palatine Hill, not a small feat considering the area is central and not as big as the Appian Way!
In the event you’re visiting and want to secure a souvenir really different than the usual, you might want to try emailing the organization to book your honey or oil (keeping in mind that they might be more readily available later in the year): firstname.lastname@example.org. Andjust to be on the safe side, make sure you use an automatic translator for your communications!).