Iris cultivation along the Sette Ponti road on the slopes of Mount Pratomagno dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and was a fundamental element of family sustenance for local farming families.
As early as the beginning of the 19th century, it was written: “…the gravel is cultivated in those places where it is not needed and will not do anything else…”.
The iris is planted in autumn and harvested after about three years in July and August.
The rhizome of the iris is used and is much sought after by the perfume industry as well as the food and herbalist industries. Cultivation is mainly artisanal.
After harvesting, the rhizome is cleaned of roots and skin by hand, then cut into slices and left to dry with no other help than the summer sun.
“…of the Ghiaggiuolo, decimating their roots, but in such a way that they do not damage or offend their own stump, tearing them off with the hand and with a sharp iron, and these, first thinly peeled from their skin, and cut into long thin slices, are dried by turning them upside down, on the tables often…”.
The iris blooms in May and is one of the most beautiful springtime spectacles in Valdarno, between Chianti and Pratomagno.