10 February 2015
Iris of Lamole
If you are one of the people who rightly identifies the iris as the symbol of Florence (and not the lily) you definitely can't miss out on a visit to Lamole, one of the last locations in Italy where this beautiful flower, whose health and medicinal properties have been renowned since Ancient Egyptian times, is still cultivated.
The parts used of the iris of Florence (one of the two hundred varieties of this deeply symbolic plant cultivated all over the world) are the rootstock by the cosmetic and perfume industries and the roots for its officinal properties.
The iris flower essence, still produced by Domenican monks today, was introduced to the French court by Catherine de’ Medici who imposed the tastes and etiquette of Florence to the tumultuous and not particularly hygienic aristocracy of Paris.
As well as great care in cultivating the plants, extracting the iris flower essence requires a lot of manual work, something that has become a precious rarity nowadays. The result is that only a small number of flower cultivators still grow the iris, although Lamole – that has always been an ideal location together with all the other small hillocks of Greve in Chianti – is still a happy exception. Here, in May, the iris flowers liven up the vineyards and their fragrance enhances the sweetness of the air of this exceptional “balcony” overlooking the Chianti Classico vines.