In the Chianti hills, just south of Florence, the village of Poggio alla Croce is experiencing a subtle, yet real phenomenon.
The women of the town seem to be looking younger. Yesterday when I visited my friend Elettra, I noticed her glowing complexion and more youthful appearance.
“What have you done?” I asked, knowing she is certainly not one to indulge in anti-aging procedures.
‘Maybe it’s the Pilates classes I’ve been attending?” she responded.
Though certainly good for overall health, I don’t think Pilates could account for her current transformation. And though the drinking water on her olive farm is crystal clear but she has been drinking it for years, without any noticeable changes.
Clearly Elettra didn’t want to talk about her appearance. Her skin became even rosier as she tried to change the subject.
But I persisted, and when I saw a poster in the local farmacia advertising a new skin cream made by Malo, a local artisan, I became even more curious.
I discovered that Malo had recently developed a line of cosmetics made from the iris root she cultivates at Poggio Pratelli, her farm and agriturismo. Malo invited me to a small gathering in Florence to introduce her skin and hand creams to some of her friends.
Irene, a pastry chef from Poggio Alla Croce was on hand with an array of treats she prepared for the event. It was hard to choose which ones to sample because they were all so tempting.
Malo is a natural beauty, with blue eyes and an olive complexion and yes, I have to say, a youthful appearance, looking much younger than her 50 something years.
I tried a hand cream that was lightly scented with essential oil of rose and another made from olive oil, the same oil she cultivates at Poggio Pratelli.
But her signature cream is for the face, made from the iris root she grows on her farm. When I tried it, it was immediately absorbed and felt very light on my face.
Perhaps I had finally discovered the secret the women of Poggio Alla Croce were keeping to themselves. Malo only has a small amount of these creams and some have sold out already. It would be another year before she would have the raw materials to produce more of her creams.
On Monday and Wednesday evenings, the women of Poggio alla Croce gather above Zia Emilia, the only pizzeria and shop in town, to attend Pilates class. They are of different ages, but they are all beautiful women. Maybe the class helps, and for sure the drinking water is pure, but it could be that Malo’s cream is working wonders.
I ran into Elettra’s husband, Andreas, the other day, and commented on how healthy he looked. He claimed to have been in Switzerland where the sun reflects off the snow and gave his skin more color. But I suspect he is dipping into his wives’ supply of iris face cream. And I wouldn’t blame him a bit.
*if you want to order some cream, please contact Malo directly at Poggio Pratelli
please consider coming to poggio alla croce with me, Pronto Marcell, in April 2015! (read the next post down for more information)