Monday, June 27, 2016

Rosemary All Over Italy

Castiglion Fiorentino

Rosemary is everywhere in Italy. From meals to soap, rosemary is important in Italian culture. I have seen rosemary in nearly every city I have visited in Italy. Rosemary is also very important in my family; I even grow a rosemary plant in my apartment and use it frequently for cooking. One of the first days we were in Italy, Professor Lombardini showed us a beautiful (and huge) rosemary bush right outside the Santa Chiara Center in Castiglion Fiorentino. The aroma is so unique and plant is very useful. This encouraged me to research the plant more.

Rosemary comes from the species Rosemarinus Officinalis. It is an evergreen perennial herb native to the Mediterranean area. It grows very well in warmer climates; however, rosemary can do just as well in cooler climates. The plant is unique because it has flowers that can be different colors, such as blue, purple, white, and pink, which can be eaten as well. The plant is a shrub and produces very thin short leaves that resemble a needle. These shrubs can either grow upright (like displayed in the picture) or trailing (across a building or wall). Rosemary is mainly used for cooking, such as in breads, cheeses, poultry, and dessert; a popular Italian dessert I discovered is olive oil and rosemary cake. Many people use rosemary as an ornamental plant in bouquets and flower arrangements. Oil extracted from rosemary is often used as medicine. This medicine can help relieve coughs, headaches, heartburn, digestive issues, gallbladder and liver complications, high blood pressure, and even memory loss.

I was not expecting to see so much rosemary in Italy. I knew rosemary was a very important herb for my family, but I did not realize that rosemary is actually universal. After researching rosemary, it appears that the herb is used everywhere for multiple things.

Cassandra Stewart

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