Sustainable Agriculture Meets Pharmaceutics
Fattoria la Vialla has long been, and remains to this day the undisputed leader in bio-dynamic farming, land husbandry, and innovation.
Owned and operated by the Lo Franco family, this is a vast and ever increasing in size Tuscan estate that represents a capsule in time and an example of practising the best principles of organics and soil preservation.
Above all, La Vialla is about celebrating and enjoying life at its simplest best and nature at its most unadulterated.
La Vialla’s story is by now well-documented and has a certain apocryphal quality about it. It began with Lo Franco senior and his wife acquiring their first country house in Tuscany, going on to buying a number of the surrounding farms, and developing a fascination for Rudolf Steiner’s principles of self-sufficiency in farming.
The family embraced biodynamic and organic farming, in fact, long before the concept built traction globally and worked with French biodynamic pioneer François Bouchet until his death in 2005.
La Vialla is a closed circuit operation in the sense that it produces no waste and is carbon neutral. It has its own phyto-purification plant and solar farm, and fertilises the land in a most idiosyncratic fashion: thousands of cow horns filled with manure from the farm’s livestock are buried in the soil each year and the resulting compost (“preparation 500”) spread around the fields.
The no waste policy has recently extended to producing a range of cosmetics from an extract obtained by filtering and concentrating the aqueous part of olives (known as vegetation water or olive mill waste water).
The New Range of Cosmetics
The OliPhenolia cosmetics range is the result of meticulous research and cooperation with scientists, as well as a prestigious German pharmaceutical lab.
The products are completely natural, made from an extract obtained by filtering and concentrating the aqueous part of olives, with the use of ceramic membrane technology and reverse osmosis, solely through mechanical cold filtration, without chemical solvents or heat.
It is the olive oil’s high polyphenols content that makes it the super healthy food that it is.
In fact the aqueous part of olives (the vegetation water) contains around 97% of polyphenols.
Polyphenols are natural antioxidants found in plants; they are useful in the prevention of lipoproteinoxidation and react with free radicals, eliminating them.
A phytocomplex is a combination of substances of plant origin, which cannot be reproduced by chemical synthesis, with proven biological activity (Active Principles) and others (Secondary Metabolites) that help the activity of the Active Principles modifying their absorption, metabolism and elimination.
After 3 years of research, the results of laboratory tests carried out by RSC Pharma demonstrated that OliPhenolia1, contained in La Vialla’s creams and serum, has the following properties:
- Regenerative (anti-age)
The creams and serum are all 100% natural. 90% of the serum and 70% of the creams are made with biodynamic, Demeter certified, raw materials from Fattoria La Vialla; the rest of the ingredients, not from agriculture, are permitted by Demeter standards.
They do not contain any preservatives, colouring agents, substances of animal origin or allergens. They have neutral skin pH.
All the products have obtained the highest quality certification from the Dermatest1 laboratories and the 5-star seal of excellence.
The Farm and Its Produce
La Vialla owns thousands of acres of its own vineyards and olive groves and produces the absolute best olive oil and award-winning wines, as well as cereals, pasta, biscuits, cakes and bread baked in wooden ovens, Pecorino cheese rubbed in the residues from the olive press, honey and a variety of delectable sauces and preserves that bear no resemblance whatsoever to your best supermarket product.
We are talking here food that the vast majority of people, reared on intensive farming produce, do not even know exists, let alone tastes.
Staying at one of the renovated farmhouses at La Vialla is a revelation in itself. In fact, so popular is their agro-tourism activity that 10 years after we first visited the estate, La Vialla offers day tours, accompanied by lunches under vine-clad tables.
La Vialla’s wine range includes many innovative sparkling wines and a number of superb unfiltered wines made with low sulphur levels that have won countless awards but most importantly, always taste totally amazing.
The Vin Santo dessert wines are consistently voted best in class, with IWSC awarding them an unprecedented 97/100.
One of the great idiosyncrasies of la Vialla is that it sells its produce directly, packaged in distinctive hampers with all the different items individually wrapped and packed in biodynamic straw.
Beyond being a working farm, La Vialla manages to offer a glimpse of a by-gone era – an Italy that now mostly exists in romantic literature. It does this exceptionally well and with honesty and integrity (nothing at la Vialla comes across as curated fantasy).
From the cypress tree-lined walk up to the common dining house to the jolly Italian ladies dishing out home-made food and chilled bottles of Spumante, to the Godfather movie-like tables spread around the gardens, and the swimming lake at the end of a drive, everything conjures up feelings of utter serenity, pure joy and a slightly surreal “leave the rest of the world out” sense.
Which makes the Fattoria not only the best-in-class biodynamic produce farm, but the best-in-class, must-experience perfect little world in our vast world of imperfections…