An endangered breed of chickens: the Romagnola.
An old chicken coop designed by an architect.
A genetic safeguard project in favor of biodiversity.
A tribute to the ancestor Raffaele Ricci Curbastro.
Anyone who visits the Ricci Curbastro Agricultural and Wine Museum and the cellars of the Ricci Curbastro estate in Capriolo in Franciacorta cannot fail to be impressed by the particular structure of the hen house located in the middle of the garden.
It is actually a very curious construction, with an hexagonal plan that culminates in a turret that performs the functions of a dovecote tower and a tower for sparrows; a sort of small “turreted castle” with an important history.
In fact in the Ricci Curbastro archive are still preserved the original drawings of the project created in 1873 and 1874 by the architect Antonio Tagliaferri from Brescia and built before 1878 when it first appears on cadastral maps.
In 2001, with a patient restoration work, the structure, still used as a chicken coop, was restored to its original splendor, including the original “tricolor” painting, perhaps wanted to remember the very recent Risorgimento wars.
The breeding of the pigeons, to which the turret was intended, represented an important complement to the economy of the family to which women normally dedicated themselves. Sparrows instead represented a kind of gift from nature; usually present around the farms to take advantage of their protection and the presence of food (chicken coops, barns etc.), “reciprocated” the hospitality by providing nestlings for succulent skewers.
With the restoration of the chicken coop, the Ricci Curbastro farm also wanted to use it to participate in an important project to safeguard a core of Romagnola chicken breeders. Originating in the area that included Romagna with the provinces of Ravenna, Forlì, part of Emilia with Bologna, extending to Florence, Arezzo, Pesaro, Urbino and the Republic of S. Marino, that is, in what was the Roman Empire called Flaminia, a primitive breed of chicken was quite uniform in its characters, of a slightly below average size, defined by some as the perfect type of hen for farm and for extended fields (Trevisani G., 1936).
The Romagnola breed has a fine skeleton and bone structure, is very robust, living mostly accustomed to the opposition of the environment. It sheltered on tall trees preferring them to the enclosure of the chicken coop.