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Over a million hives, where 35 thousand apiarists make 23 thousand tonnes of produce. Pride of this “heroic” bee-keeping are the ”uniflorals” and the Ligustica honey bee, unique in the world.

If they didn’t exist, over three quarters of agricultural production would be lost. And yet an undisguised sense of productivity and globalization threatens them. If people didn’t help them in their struggle, nobody would care: they are the Italian honey bees, the world’s best, producing the world’s best honey. The Ligustica species, indigenous to our country, with its only close relative in Sicily, are the best bees at selecting good flowers: they resist the cold and the heat, eat a lot, but produce the best. By exploiting this species (exporting them around the world) and the vast biodiversity of Italy, the bee-keepers have opened a new route for honey: unifloral honey. Italy is the only country that can produce selected honeys, now established ingredients in haute cuisine, from plants not cultivated by others, and there are three reasons behind this. Firstly, the Italian topography, with plenty of hills and valleys, allows the hives to be put out to pasture at a great variety of altitudes and for very different periods; then the Italian bee-keepers, a real army and mostly hobbyists, still follow nomadic practice with the hives and move the bees frequently during the blossoming season; and thirdly, Italian creativity has also been applied to apiarist products: from beeswax to propolis, from royal jelly to the Ligustica bee’s honey, products are obtained with totally natural and completely varied characteristics. In other words this means: pure quality. If today in Italy they are starting to talk about “honeys” rather than “honey”, it is all down to these heroic, revolutionary producers.