The L’Aquila Saffron DOP


Historians agree that saffron has been grown in the province of L’Aquila since the 13th and 14th Centuries and that this precious spice took a paramount role in the local economy from the beginning. For centuries the ups and downs of L’Aquila’s economy were related directly to the success of this crop. Saffron provided a means of survival at many critical times in the town’s history, and the residents nicknamed it the “Vermillion gold.”

International trade in saffron became so crucial that foreign traders moved to L’Aquila to live, to better profit from that business. It led to a thriving economy and also to social, cultural, and political relations between the local population and those of Central and Northern Europe.

Because L’Aquila saffron can be propagated only by cloning, its characteristics have remained unaltered through time. In other words, L’Aquila saffron is like a living fossil, whose botanical characteristics and cultivation methods have remained the same over the past 600 years.

Map of L’Aquila saffron

Saffron plants that are grown in L’Aquila rank as cultivars or biotypes based on invisible biological attributes that differentiate them from others. They and which are caused by the micro-climatic and environmental conditions found only in the territory of L’Aquila.