5 main Italian artichokes varieties

A culinary trip through Puglia, Sicily, Sardinia, Tuscany and Lazio.

Spinoso sardo artichoke

In Sardinia, Spinoso sardo (thorny Sardinian) artichoke is the most important and the oldest variety cultivated in the island. The artichoke has a bitter but pleasant taste, due to cynarin that is a natural active ingredient. Its head has an elongated conical shape, its leaves are green with accentuated brown-violet nuances, its apex terminates with a yellow plug whose puncture is very painful.

Spinoso sardo Artichoke is produced in some Cagliari provinces, Carbonia-Iglesias, Middle Campidano, Oristano, Nuoro, Ogliastra, Sassari, Olbia-Tempio. Its inner leaves and pulp are tender, you can eat them in a raw state. In the second half of the eighteenth century in the Treaty written by Andrea Manca Dell'Arca, a noble from Sassari, there is evidence of the presence of artichoke in Sardinia.

In Sardinian culinary tradition, artichoke is cooked by stewing it with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, parsley and a little bit of thyme. Artichoke is eaten with:

  • many dishes of sheep and goat meat;
  • pasta and rice;
  • soup with all legumes;
  • yellow potatoes;
  • fresh cheeses.

Spinoso di Sardegna artichoke, for its high quality has obtained the Protected Designation of Origin (D.O.P.) reserved for artichokes that meet the conditions and requirements set out in the Production Specifications.


Terom artichoke

Terom artichoke has been selected in Tuscany and it has been introduced in Sardinia in the 90s. Terom artichoke is a late variety whose production starts in February and ends in late April. This kind of artichoke needs irrigation, generally they plant about 7,000 plants per hectare. This variety do not tolerate cold clime that may occur during the months of March and April.

Violetto di provenza artichoke

Violetto di Provenza artichoke, as its name remember, is a native of Provence (France). It was introduced in Sardinia in the 80s, where it replaced a native variety quite widespread, Masedu artichoke. The cultivation of this artichoke has a long cycle and it is very generous, especially in March-April, when a plant is able to produce even 10-12 heads.

In December the plant produces its first head that is most appreciated, especially in Italian Lazio region. Among the production of the first and second head it may generally elapse a period of time of up to 20 days, while in Sardinia the productions are much more concentrated. There is a tendency to implanting over 10,000 seedlings per hectare, in order to make the most of the marketing of the first head, that is the most valuable and sought after artichoke. The cultivation of Violetto di Provenza artichoke Provence requires irrigated land.

Tema artichoke

After Terom artichoke variety, in the 90s in Tuscany region they also established the new variety of artichoke called Tema (Tema 2000), isolating the best features of Terom and other Tuscan varieties. Due to its high performance in terms of production, Tema artichoke found in Sardinia very favorable climatic conditions. Tema artichoke is very productive and it is generally able to give two productions per year: the first early, from October to December, the second late, after the winter frosts, from February to April. Tema artichoke requires irrigation and it needs about 7,000 plants per hectare.

Romanesco artichoke

Roman artichoke cultivation is typical of the Latium coast, but in recent years we see it also in Sardinia. Roman artichoke needs about 7,000 plants per hectare. In middle of July they bury the plants eradicated from the mother plant during the summer break. The harvest time is from December to May. During this time, each plant produces 15 to 20 artichokes marketable. The plant with an intensive cultivation yields for 2 or 3 years, after agong it has no longer profitably. Romanesco artichoke is appreciated for its quality, it hasn't any thorn, it is very soft and it has little waste. Its head has spherical shape, compact, slightly crushed.

Romanesco artichokes are also called cimaroli, mammole, cardini, they reach diameters of more than ten centimeters with a very tender heart together with a delicate taste.

In the kitchen, the most famous recipes to enjoy this tasty vegetable are the ancient recipe of Artichoke Giudia of Jewish origin, and the variant artichoke alla Romana.


sardegnaincampo.com - Il Carciofo

amicomario.blogspot.it - Il carciofo: un potente antidoto contro il "logorio della vita moderna". Quello sardo è uno dei più ricercati sul mercato.

riza.it - Cibo per ripulire le arterie. Ecco i carciofi anti colesterolo

agraria.org - Cynara cardunculus L. scolymus (L.) Hegi

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