Passions & Places

Visciole di Cantiano

Le Visciole di Cantiano 

Scientific classification of Prunus cerasus denotes a tree with straight branches and big leaves that, at the beginning of every summer, fruits with red pulpy visciole (sour cherries).

Original from the Balkans, this fruit adapted well to the mild climate of the Marches, especially on the hills of Cantiano where, at the slopes of Mt Catria, dense sour cherry trees grow spontaneously.

This fruit, rarely found elsewhere and very much requested, is therefore often associated to Cantiano. With their particular flavour, sweet and acid at the same time (very often confused with bitter cherries), visciole are ideal basis for jams, wines, liqueurs and treacle still today prepared according to old customs and strictly connected to different family traditions.

At Renaissance banquets, cooked flesh of visciole accompanied sumptuous dishes due to its power to moderate the particular flavour of game and to facilitate the digestion. Today those brilliant wild cherries are used for preparation of exquisite and inimitable jam called visciolata or to help the flavour of some red wines.


Pellegrino Artusi, 19th century refined and famous cook recommends preserving them in guazzo: to leave them soften with sugar and cinnamon in glass jars. As Artusi says, they do not need spirit, they make it themselves. After a month is passed, visciole are completely immersed in their sweet treacly liqueur.

Today, very few farms in the area of Cantiano work visciole. They follow somewhat changed procedures, in order to guarantee high quality treacly products, jams and other tasteful specialities thanks to which those precious purple fruits can be preserved and can prove their value in distant angles of the world.

At small distance from Cantiano (still on the territory of Pesaro), other trees of visciole count their seasons. Their fruits are not to be transformed in sweet mixtures nor are left to patiently wait hermetically closed in their jars: with a rare touch of magic they will become Visner. But, that's another story...

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