Like so many histories, ours too is closely linked to our native territory. In 1454 when the Venetian Republic settled definitively on Lake Garda, after the “Peace of Lodi”, they built what in more recent times was called the old port of Desenzano. It was created for the sole purpose of discharging barge cargoes from various points of the lake and storing them in large warehouses and granaries: charcoal from the chestnut woods of the upper lake and Val Sabbia, olive oil and agricultural produce. One of those former warehouses is Palazzo Todeschini, today a cultural and tourism promotion centre.
All the grain from the Po Valley area arrived here to be stored before being sent on to Venice. The entire countryside around the lake had been producing grain, oil and wine for centuries, and families lucky enough to have an occasional surplus could barter it for other things they needed, chiefly salt which was necessary for preserving foodstuffs.
A few centuries later another activity was successfully integrated with the traditional ones: silkworm breeding. The landscape of the lower lake area featured rows of mulberry trees together with vines and olive groves. And for some families silkworm breeding was a source of income and survival. The old Silk-Mill of Lonato (1 km from here) and the one in Piazza Garibaldi, Desenzano, unrolled thousands of cocoons and daily spun the incoming silk.
My family was enthusiastically dedicated to this activity for many years, but as time went by people realised that it wasn’t as remunerative as it might have seemed. Little by little the mulberry trees disappeared from the countryside and their place was taken once more by traditional plants. A lot of spinning-mills were demolished, especially just after the second world war. My grandfather Domenico, as a true Lake Garda man, then decided to concentrate on making good oil as well as good wine... but after many years his love for the vineyard faded. Only a few rows of vines were retained for family consumption. Whenever a row of trebbiano (lugana) or groppello dried up it was immediately replaced by olive trees.
That was probably the destiny of our estate. ...So 50 years ago Domenico decided to devote himself to olive growing and to build the estate oil-mill in the centre of our property. After just a few years he was joined by his son Egidio, fresh from studying agriculture in Brescia. Subsequently Egidio took over, sure that he was moving in the right direction.