Melo Panaia from Norcia (local variety of apple)

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Melo Panaia from Norcia (local variety of apple)

Melo Panaia from Norcia (local variety of apple)

Malus x domestica Borkh


Medium-sized fruits (141 g) and obloid shape. Without ribs with a weak crowning at the top of the corolla. Peduncle long and thin. Smooth skin, moderately covered with bloom and wax, with russeting present only in the cavity of the peduncle. Ground color yellowish green, with very extensive dark purple overcolor area and uniform pattern with clearly delimited stripes. It is harvested between September and October.

This variety is well described by Giorgio Gallesio in his famous Pomona Italiana (1817-1839). The reference to the presence of this variety outside its production area is very significant: «The squares of Naples are full of these apples from November to February, and they are found on all the tables. It can be said that they are the most popular after Limoncelle […]. The Norcia apples also retain their reputation in Rome where they are very abundant and where they receive the name of Mele Gaetane. In this City they excel less, because there are a greater number of Apples that are superior to you in every respect». On the basis of this precious information, it can be deduced that the area of main diffusion was precisely that of Norcia.
However, the origin of the variety remains obscure, although it could be plausible to hypothesize also for this variety, as for several others, an initial origin from seed then multiplied and maintained due to the valuable organoleptic characteristics of the fruit.

Although historical references do not allow for a precise delimitation of the cultivation area that this variety could have had in the past, it is assumed that its diffusion concerned the Valnerina area with its center in Norcia. The Municipalities of the Valnerina District (Norcia, Cascia, Cerreto di Spoleto, Monteleone di Spoleto, Poggiodomo, Preci, Sant’Anatolia di Narco, Scheggino, Vallo di Nera) are admitted as local areas.

Variety for fresh consumption, characterized by high post-harvest shelf life both in fruit cellars and in the refrigerator. The fruits of the Mela Panaia di Norcia variety are characterized by an unbalanced profile towards an acid taste and a high astringency compared to Golden, taken as a reference.

Texts taken from “Regional Register of Autochthonous Genetic Resources of the Umbria Region”