Bella Baia is a farm with typical terraced lemon gardens that characterised the Amalfi Coast landscape. We grow both lemons and vines in our terraced gardens, thanks to chestnut wood pergolas.
The apartments, tents and camping area are located in this authentic landscape cultivated and preserved in compliance with the traditional and age-old agricultural techniques of the area.We are producers of the "Amalfi Coast Lemon I.G.P. - Protected Geographical Indication" and our vineyards are registered as "Amalfi Coast D.O.C.".
Bella Baia is the name of the area where our farm is located, deriving from the bay below, which has always been known as “Bellavaje” - the dialectal form of Bella Baia -, today also called “Baia del Cavallo Morto”. The farm is located at the foot of Mount Falerzio, the highest mountain of the Lattari Monts, in the very heart of Monti Lattari Regional Park and close to the Marine Protected Area of Capo d’Orso. Until the end of the XV century the area where, this area was mainly cultivated with olive trees, while the remaining part was used for grazing.
Ancient documents of that period revelas that the whole territory was owned by the Abbey of Santa Maria de’ Olearia (about 1.5Km from Bella Baia), whose foundation dating back to the 9th-10th century. During the late 1400s, the abbot decided to grant the land and surrounding mountains to private people by paying a rent: the first agricultural farms derive from the division of the entire promontory. Our farm is located on the side facing the sea, near small mountain connecting roads and waterways. The areas granted at that time and identified with the name of Pandone Cave or Sant’Angelo and Acquarulo correspond in part to Bella Baia.
Over the centuries, lemon cultivation techniques were refined. For this reason improvement works were also necessary for Bella Baia. Bella Baia farm is the result of the restructuring and rebuilding that took place during the first half of the nineteenth century - 1830/1845. In that period, the terraces were redesigned, the water cisterns and channels necessary for irrigation were built, as well as stairs, buildings and fence walls. Our farm has experienced a period of high productivity and increasing since the mid-nineteenth century. and until the late 50s of the twentieth century.
Since the 60s of the twentieth century it has been gradually abandoned. In 1996 a new life for our farm stars by replanting lemon groves as well as vineyard. During the replanting of lemons, native plants were used, for preserving the Amalfi “sfusato” ecotype. The beauty of the structure and the uniqueness of the products are the elements on which we aimed for a rebirth in a productive sense. Bella Baia thus became a farmhouse in 2009. Today we produce lemons and grapes. The lemon groves and the vineyard are the scenario in which a new form of hospitality is located and where man lives in harmony with a lush and untouched nature.
Sfusato Amalfitano Lemon
Bella Baia Farm produce the typical "Sfusato Amalfitano Lemon", so called for its characteristic elongated shape. The Amalfi Coast is an oasis of biodiversity and the survival of the Amalfi “sfusato” lemon is a tangible proof of this. The first document attesting to the presence of lemon is dated to 986. The Arabs already knew the properties, gastronomic and medical uses of lemon at the time of their dominion in the Mediterranean area. The Salerno Medical School deepened the Arab studies on the therapeutic use of lemon.
Lemon cultivation intensifies during the period of the great intercontinental journeys (15th-18th centuries), when it was discovery that scurvy, the scourge of the crews, could be cured by lemon juice. It is precisely during these centuries that the construction of terraced gardens began on the Amalfi Coast and the terms “limuncello” and “jardeno” of Arab origin, already used in local public documets, replace the Latin derivatives words of “citrus” and “cetrarius”. The use in medicine and in the kitchen increases the demand for this product and starting from the century XV the specialized cultivations intensify. The need to increase the areas to be cultivated involves the construction of terraces. This is how, with the intensification of lemon production, the agricultural landscape gradually changes over the centuries. It can be said that lemon has always been part of the life of the Amalfi Coast.
In Pompeii in the house of the orchard a lemon tree is portrayed in a fresco of the 1st century AD. The deep connection between the coast and its most precious fruit is evidenced in pictorial representations of the Baroque age. In this way we can give an identity to the "sfusato amalfitano". In 1646 the botanist Giovan Battista Ferrari studied it, represented it graphically and cataloged it as an "Amalfi lemon" in his treatise on citrus fruits. The same lemon is still cultivated and produced today. Ferrari anticipated by three centuries the definitive consecration of this lemon, reached in April 2001 with the achievement of the I.G.P. Geographical Indication Protected by the European Union.
In the 19th century, lemon had assumed great economic and social value for the Amalfi Coast. The centuries-old work of transformation of the agricultural landscape was completed: terraces cultivated with lemons, bordered by maceration and chestnut tree poles for plants, systems of water channels for irrigation connected to large fish tanks, paths and stairs designed the slopes of the mountains.
Healty property of the Amalfi Coast lemon
The Amalfi Coast lemon is unique both for its elongated shape and its aroma and organoleptic qualities. Scientific researches confirm that the Amalfi Coast lemon has a particular genetic basis that makes the fruit qualitatively interesting, not only for direct consumption, but also for the transformation and in particular for the preparation of the famous liqueur lemon. The presence of numerous oil glands and the thickness of the flavedo are some of the peculiar characteristics of the Amalfi Coast lemon that make it unique and with an accentuating flavoring power compared to other lemons.
The flavoring characteristics of a lemon extract are mainly due to the fraction of the oxygenating compounds contained in the flavedo - the yellow part of the lemon zest - rich in oil glands. The research results indicate that the content of oxygenating compounds in the Amalfi Coast lemons is more than double the content of the extract of the other lemons: it can be said that the extract from Amalfi lemons has a greater flavoring power. Even the bouquet of essential oil extracted from the Amalfi Coast lemon is particular for the harmony of its olfactory notes.
The researchers found important compositional differences compared to the essential oils of lemons reported in the scientific literature: "... the lemons of the Amalfi Coast and those of the Sorrento Peninsula give alcoholic extracts of typical quality which, while distinguishing themselves from each other, have a compositional note which qualifies and types them compared to other productions ... ". For us, it is the best lemon in the world.