The Garden of Simples between Galen and the Sibyls
Flowers, honey, spices and dressings
the author's journeys
It is impossible to say when man began to use herbs to cure himself or to give flavour to food. Archaeological evidence dates back sixty thousand years. However, there are certain periods in history in which magical rituals linked to nature were developed in science. It was Hippocrates and then Galen who officially began to use herbs for medicinal purposes. However, the great advancement that took place in Italy in the late Middle Ages, originating in the school of Salerno with Matteo Silvatico’s book "Liber cibalis et medicinalis", heavily relied on the science of herbs widely practiced and mastered by monks: firstly, the Benedictines drew on culture and past practices to build new ones. During the Renaissance, in the alchemical melting pot that was Florentine knowledge, in the spheres of philosophy, magic and new science, the garden of simples (what Salerno medics called the herbarium for pharmacopoeia, from medicamentum simplex) became a monument to the wisdom of the Medici rule. The Botanical Garden of Florence, which was established third after that of Pisa and Padua, became a site of health and wonders, secularising herbal wisdom and the practice of the cultivation of medicinal herbs, first under Luca Ghini, its founder, then under Antonio Micheli in the eighteenth century. However, this phenomenon continues to exist in rural practices, folk magic and Druidic customs. Today, the industry of specific vegetation drives multifunctional agriculture. The processing of medicinal and aromatic herbs is a pillar of the industry that has contributed to the production of edible foods through constant research. Due to its extraordinary biodiversity – although it only constitutes one thirtieth of European landmass, it contains 50% of the continent’s plant species – Italy is the ‘garden of simples’ where herbs still constitute the link between gastronomy and pharmacopoeia and where they are grown, studied and combine science and rural practice with technology and magic.
I casi aziendali che hanno ispirato i viaggi d’autore
AMARELLI FABBRICA DI LIQUIRIZIA DI FORTUNATO AMARELLI & C. S.A.S.
BONOMELLI - S.R.L.
DISTILLERIA VARNELLI S.P.A.
RZERO GROUP SRL DI ORSINI L. & C. - SOCIETA' AGRICOLA