The oldest known document making reference to cherry growing in Marostica, a town famous for its annual chess game, dates back to the early fifteenth century. Cherry farming has always played an important role in this area and in the local agricultural economy.
The Marostica cherry P.G.I., the only Italian kind to bear this precious geographical indication, is heart-shaped and is picked by hand without removing the stalk, a technique which represents a small, yet meaningful quality guarantee, helping the fruit maintain its short-term organoleptic properties. The Marostica cherry grows to a size of between 21 and 30 mm and its colour can be anywhere from pink to dark red according to the variety. It is juicy and has a full, sweet and very palatable taste.
The best-selling varieties are Sandra, Romana, Francese and the distinctly sweet Duroni rossi. Their characteristics include a short period between setting and ripening of only thirty days, and, at the same time, excellent fruit size. Such rapid growth and ripening reduce exposure to environmental agents and parasites (especially to the cherry fly) thereby reducing the need for measures to protect the plant and guaranteeing a better quality. Most of the varieties are easily preserved and boast good resistance to handling, making the fruit particularly suited for exporting. The growing area stretches across hills strewn with old towns, such as Marostica, with its Upper Castle, Lower Castle and city walls, all built in the fourteenth century.
Marostica is also known for the Sagra delle ciliegie, a local cherry festival celebrated on the last Sunday in May every year. This event celebrates the “red gold” of Marostica, the first spring fruit. Throughout the harvest season cherrybased delicacies are served in the most traditional restaurants of the area.