Ancient Breeds: The Garfagnina sheep

Bertagni Dairy is among the few precious guardians of an ancient breed: the Garfagnina Sheep.

The Garfagnina Sheep is a tough and wild Italian sheep breed from the Apennine mountains. Once thriving with tens of thousands roaming the pastures, it sadly dwindled to endangered status by the 1980s, with only about a hundred remaining today. Fortunately, some of them find a sanctuary in Verano Bertagni's dairy, where he takes on the roles of both shepherd and cheesemaker in the unique setting of Garfagnana.

Garfagnana, known as the "big forest," is the green gem of Tuscany. Despite its proximity to historic cities like Lucca, Pisa, Florence, and the glamorous Versilia coast, Garfagnana has kept to itself, preserving its distinct identity and history. The journey to this area on winding mountain roads reveals lush forests, towering cliffs, and charming little towns scattered throughout the valley.

In this fertile and picturesque land, the Garfagnina sheep roams freely, feasting on fresh grass daily. Thanks to its genetic makeup, its milk boasts a delightful sweetness. This results in sheep's milk cheeses like the fresh Taula or the aged Tuada, both capturing the essence of Garfagnana's scents and flavors, carrying the profound value of an ancient tradition saved from oblivion.

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