This is the first volume of the series which explores the natural history of the Potentino Valley. There are sixty-five poplar and birch tables, drawn in pencil, then burned using the pyrographic technique by the Tuscan naturalist and designer, Mario Morellini. They refer to a whole illustrative tradition which, starting in Renaissance times, with the works of Ulisse Aldrovandi, continues in the zoological and botanical manuals and treatises of the twentieth century.
MARIO MORELLINI is a naturalist and designer from Siena. He works in environmental education and as a naturalistic guide, collaborates with schools and museums in the creation of workshops with a technical and scientific content and organizes exhibitions and displays. Among his many publications - the children's book - Un millipede, the philosophical book Bestiarum Genus, the book of calligraphy - Lettere, the etymological dictionary - Birds of Italy of and the historical book - Siena 1838.
The Text is in Italian with an introduction and a list of Illustrations in English.
The Golden Bowl
Potentino’s Unique Microclimate And Geography
Castello di Potentino’s first written mention dates to 1042. It lies in a sheltered valley farmed since Etruscan times. Home to centuries-old olive trees, the Olivastra Seggianese, and early examples of the Sangiovese grape, it also has an extraordinary micro-life and biodiversity. Industrial farming has not impacted the environment and the landscape remains similar to when the castle was built.
The Castle is located below Monte Amiata, an extinct volcano that last erupted about 300,000 years ago, creating an exceptional terroir with a concentration of volcanic soils. During the day, the valley is well ventilated by hot dry air drawn off the coast; at night, it is cooled by fresh air coming down from the mountain. The well-protected, bowl-like shape acts like a crucible ensuring that the rich volcanic matter is collected and blended in the earth. With an abundant supply of water - it is known locally as ‘La Conca D’Oro’ -The Golden Bowl because of its fertility.
There is no monoculture or large-scale use of chemicals in the valley, which results in an abundance of flora and fauna, including some rare species of bird, insect and plant life. A wide range of native varieties, including apple, pear, cherry, and quince grow alongside olive groves and vines. Wild flowers, herbs and orchids fill the fields in early summer. These are all elements that create a healthy and vigorous ecosystem with no soil degradation which is an extremely rare situation in this day and age.
My special thanks to Mario Morellini for his friendship and his observations of the remarkable beauty in the nature surrounding us all.
This book is a homage to the valuable and bountiful nature of the golden valley. May the gods protect it.
Naturalista e disegnatore senese, nella vita si occupa prevalentemente di educazione ambientale lavorando anche come guida naturalistica. Collabora con scuole di vario grado nella realizzazione di laboratori didattici dal contenuto tecnico e scientifico. Organizza e allestisce mostre ed esposizioni di carattere naturalistico, collaborando inoltre con alcuni musei costruendo modellini e diorami. Tra le sue molte pubblicazioni ricordiamo il libro per bambini Un millepiedi per amico del 2005, il libro filosofico Bestiarum genus del 2006, il divertissement calligrafico Lettere in libera uscita del 2007, il dizionario etimologico Uccelli d’Italia del 2017 e il libro storico Siena 1838 del 2019.