Our family history
Our family has been involved in agriculture for generations. Since the beginning of the 19th century, my ancestors have ordered the numerous lands. On January 19, 1818, my great-great-grandfather Leonardo Castelluccia was listed on the municipal lists of eligible voters with an income tax of 12 ducats. It is important to note that only those who had a larger taxable wealth were included in the list of persons entitled to vote.2 With the beginning of the Renaissance, the entire South suffered greatly. As if that were not enough, the South was hit by cholera at the beginning of the 20th century. Within a short period of time, many people were swept away by this disease. My ancestors were therefore forced to sell large parts of their land in order to be able to buy drugs from the money. Others were forced to emigrate to America, partly because agriculture no longer guaranteed sufficient income.
My grandfather Nicola Castelluccia stayed because he believed in agriculture. He took part in the First World War, which also killed many agricultural workers from the south. Miraculously, he returned alive from this war and took care of his country and his six children, five of them daughters. I don't know much about my grandfather, except that he dedicated his life to agriculture and died of lung disease when I was a little girl. At the beginning of the 1960s, there was great poverty in the South. The few land that remained in the family's possessions was not enough to get our family through, so that my father Rocco Castelluccia, like many others from our small village community, was forced to emigrate abroad to provide his family with the necessary livelihood. So my father came to Schönbrunn near Karlsruhe in 1961 with two cousins. I stayed alone with my mother in our village of Ischitella when I was three years old. Driven by the great homesickness and love for his family, however, he soon returned to his homeland after six months to order his land.
His further life was very deprived and sacrificial, but he always repeated that managing a piece of land provides the greatest satisfaction in life. I kept asking him how you could be happy if you always come home exhausted and polluted with soil. We were so poor that we couldn't afford anything, while our neighbours, who had gone to northern Italy or abroad, were well dressed and sometimes even returned to holiday by car. My father always answered that the satisfaction comes from the fact that after a hard day of work, one can look at the fruits of the work that one has sown and nurtured with one's own hands and follow its growth and bring you closer to the Creator. This made him happy. His great passion besides agriculture belonged to the music, to which he devoted himself after a hard day in the field with great devotion and which made him known and popular far beyond the borders of our village community.
In the beginning, like my younger brother Nicola Castelluccia, who was traditionally named after his grandfather, I hated the land and agriculture. We couldn't wait to come of age and seek our supposed happiness, as well as the many other young people my age, in northern Italy or abroad. Although my father tried to understand that young people could not necessarily emulate his deprived life, he never tires of pointing out that the young generation also has to dedicate themselves to the preservation of nature and the care of the unique old olive trees, in order to protect, maintain and save these ancient natural monuments from disappearance. "For we are connected to the earth. If we do not protect you and do not care for and preserve what God has given us, we will disappear with the olive tree."
Nevertheless, I went to Germany in 1978 out of love for my current husband, lawyer Giovanni Manicone. A short time later my brother Nicola followed me to Frankfurt am Main. After a few years in Frankfurt, where he was employed as a worker in various companies, he remembers my father's words about his stay in Germany in the early 1960s and decided to return to Italy, also driven by great homesickness and the longing for his family, the sea and the country, to manage his father's land. After his return, he and his wife Lucia and son Rocco took care not only of the paternal land, but also of my father until his death. I am very grateful to my brother for making this decision at the time. It was only late, after more than 30 years, that I began to understand what my father was trying to make clear to me at the time. I am very grateful to him and my mother for bringing their children closer to their children very early on in their love of nature and thus of God.
About 12 years ago, at a Sunday family dinner and a glass of red wine, my husband Giovanni came up with the idea of offering our own olive oil in my boutique, a crazy and bizarre idea that we actually implemented in the aftermath. Since then, more and more of my customers have been convinced of the unique quality of our olive oil and have been regular customers ever since. I am regularly assured by my customers that this is the best olive oil they have ever tasted. This conviction is based on the fact that I not only explain to my customers every detail of the care of our olive trees, but also explain the entire process from harvesting to the extraction of our olive oil. In this way, the customer can not only taste the oil, but also inform himself about all questions of interest about the geographical location of our olive groves, the unique micro-climate of our Gargano National Park and the origin of the finished product. This way, my customers learn that by purchasing our olive oil, they not only acquire a unique product, but also help to preserve our ancient olive trees, some of which are thousand years old, so that the mostly small-scale olive oil producers also receive a motivation for the future preservation of our cultural landscape.
Did you know, for example, that olive trees learn to walk during their centuries of life? When an olive tree has become several hundred years old, the main trunk is divided into several parts, each of which produces its own mighty olive trees that go their own way. Scientists have recently found this out. However, it is not only olive oil that is essential for a healthy lifestyle, according to current nutritional knowledge, but the olive leaves, which contain the same health-promoting active ingredients, can be used to extract delicious teas and extracts that can alleviate and even cure numerous diseases. For this reason, the olive tree was already called a tree of life in antiquity. If you want to know more about olive leaves and their active ingredients, then you can find out more about our section Olive Leaves & Active Ingredients or Olive Tree Scandals.
At this point I would like to thank my long-standing clients, my husband, my brother Nicola and his family and my sons Dario and Fabio Manicone, who have provided valuable help in creating this homepage.
History: Rosa Castelluccia Manicone
Sources: 2Famiglie Ischitellane é Garganiche di Guiseppe Laganella