Apr 19, 2020
Dafne Viaggi

An icon of our Riviera

One of the trees that best represents our Mediterranean environment is Citrus limon.
Lemon was probably born as a hybrid of cedar, a citrus well known in the ancient world, just think of the famous cedars of Lebanon. Its origins, however, seem to be Asian, more precisely Himalayan.

The golden fruit tree was introduced to Sicily by the Arabs around the tenth century. It then landed in Liguria in the fifteenth century, thanks to the flourishing of trade in the powerful Maritime Republic of Genova.

The lemon became an ornamental tree coveted in the magnificent gardens of the rich Genoese families, and luckily, given that a few centuries later it proved to be a very precious antidote to scurvy, a disease that systematically reaped a large number of victims among the crews of the ships. So in the eighteenth century, the juicy lemons arrived by sea in the hold of the galleys and now grown throughout Liguria, returned to plow the waves on board modern sailing ships, to give an important nutritional contribution to sailors, thanks to their rich content of that precious substance which was then called ascorbic acid, today known as vitamin C.

Today lemons have become an icon of our splendid coasts and rivers. Loved for their perfume, for the intense yellow of the fruits that stand out between the green of the terraces and the blue disputed between the sky and the sea and for the goodness of some typical dishes of which they are a fundamental ingredient, just think of the anchovies with lemon.

It will not be a coincidence that Goethe wrote with a breath of nostalgia “Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühen …”

Where can you see the beautiful lemon trees in our Riviera? Lemons bloom throughout Liguria, on the terraces overlooking the sea. There is no coastal path along which the scent and freshness of this citrus cannot be appreciated.

The lemon fruit is rich in essential oils, vitamins and other active ingredients that give it various medicinal properties. Daily use of lemon stimulates the body to produce potassium carbonate which allows alkalizing the connective tissue to prevent metabolic, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

An excellent infusion: dip the cut zest of 2 small lemons or one large one in half a liter of boiling water, let stand 10 minutes and then add a few drops of fresh juice. A good remedy for rust stains: put a round slice of lemon on the rust stain, put the stained fabric with lemon between two layers of clean fabric and place a hot iron on it. Repeat if necessary.

written by VMirjam Knoop and Rosa Bianca Paneri (Dafne Viaggi)

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