At the end of this month the cherries start to appear at many markets in Northern Italy. the area in and around the town of Marostica is particularly famed for its 'ciliegia'.
The story begins in 1454, when the governor's daughter, Leonora had two suitors for her hand in marriage. The governor Parisio promised his daughter to the winner of a living chess game. This game was played in Marostica city centre, where people took the parts of the chess pieces and the first cherry trees were planted that year in commemoration of the event. The chess game is re-enacted every other year in September.
The cherry obviously took a liking to the potassium rich Marostica soil as the area became well known for many of its own varieties, including the Sandra of Marostica- named after the Roman farmer that first produced it, Durona, Milanese, Morettina, Red Durone, and Biggareau. There are over 15 varieties and 100 producers in total in the region. The Marostica cherries were also the first in Italy to have been awarded their own IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) status.