On the highest hill of Ruffano (https://www.cittameridiane.it/en/ruffano-a-good-surprise/), stretches the Spirdo organic farm that emerges in a silvery sea of centuries-old olive trees that give excellent bio-oil: about 13 hectares all cultivated with olive trees, with 540 plants of the last century “Ogliarola di Lecce” cultivar and all around Mediterranean scrub. Since its foundation, it has been conducted with the methods of organic farming and the quality of the oil it has produced, always cold, is guaranteed by the DOP certification of the Consorzio “Terra d’Otranto”.
In Ruffano between the green of the centuries-old olive trees
On arrival we gives us the welcome Maria Luisa Giorgetti who together with her husband Enrico Gussoni created the farm in 2004. Accompanying us to the great pajara that will be our shelter for the night, tells us with the voice broken by melancholy and emotion the story of the farmhouse, how it was born and how she and her husband Enrico fell in love with the Salento territory, so much so that they decided to leave the metropolis of Milan where they lived to move to these places and take care of the olive trees of the last century.
At first they thought of a cottage in Tuscany, to change their lives and realize their dream of living in the countryside. But, then, they were captured by the flavors, colors and warmth of Salento and moved here definitively. Unfortunately, though, Enrico lived his dream for a while as he became ill and missed leaving only Maria Luisa and their most beloved dogs.
It was not easy for her to make a decision: to return to Busto Arsizio, the birthplace of the only relatives, or to stay and continue to keep alive what they had built.
Maria Luisa has decided to stay. And with such grit and great courage, she continues to take care of Spirdo farm not only producing extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality, but also managing the agriturismo structure that has twelve beds in Mediterranean style rooms with a simple but refined taste, and a restaurant with a biological vocation offering delicacies and Salento specialties.
The story of Enri and Lolò, as affectionately call them friends, fascinated us, disturbed and intrigued at the same time and we wanted to know more. On the name, for example. Spirdo is a word that in dialect of Ruffano, spirdu, indicates the decline, loss of volume, weight, substance, caused by dehydration, evaporation, drying. Etymologically it could be a variant of spritu, waste, the part of material that is lost during the machining phase. But the interpretation of the name becomes more intriguing if it is associated with the word spirit: in fact, sperdare in Salento means also being spiritually, possessed. And so it could also be associated with the ghost, u moniceddru, a goblin who does disobey the humans and that in remote times it was thought to populate the Salentine countryside.
Among the most important attractions of the farm are the two pajare, rural houses typical of the Salento area similar to the famous trulli of Valle d’Itria, but in the form of a truncated cone, with a circular plant built with stones made from the surrounding terrains and mounted “a secco”, ie without the help of any mortar or support.
Our “Paiara”, imposing and thick walls, is surely one of the largest in the whole territory and has been for a night a secret cocoon wrapped in the greenery of olive trees. Inside, a few selected objects and corners: one where to rest, one to prepare a meal, one that encloses the bath with the fragrant and natural products of the Antica Saponeria del Salento.
And then, the roof, to contemplate the landscape, to tread and fly. Under the high cone the wooden mezzanine houses the bedroom gathered as a mother’s womb.
Certainly a special place, where you have the desire to think that everything else, outside, is not so important. All around, intimate, collected, poetic spaces like living under the pergola overlooking the green and the pool among the olive trees that justifies the laziness of not wanting to face the heat and move to the sea.
The next morning, after the rich breakfast, we looked around to gaze over the olive trees to the horizon and we were absolutely clear why Maria Luisa decided to continue her promotion of organic agriculture, proposing moments of in-depth knowledge of territory and organic extra virgin olive oil through lectures, presentations of books, workshops, events. And we fully understood the reasons that pushed her to stay in Ruffano: Spirdo remains in the heart and a stay here is truly unforgettable!
Azienda Agricola Spirdo
Strada Comunale Spirdo km1, Ruffano – Lecce
Info: +39 333 5938323 – +39 333 2555459