A large number of caper plants have been growing spontaneously in the cracks of the Fortress walls in Lugo for centuries. By the end of May and for the whole summer, when these plants blossom – for a short time but with a characteristically intense fragrance –, the flower buds are picked and preserved in vinegar by expert hands, following the ancient recipe of Pellegrino Artusi.
In the past, the capers were sold by the Town Governor and since 1900 an item related to the capers was found among the revenues in the town financial statements.
Over the last few years, the Town Council has introduced the habit of directly taking care of caper harvesting and preservation in order to donate them to distinguished personalities visiting the city. Once the Administration has finished collecting the capers it needs, the people of the town are given the “diritto di capperaggio”, i.e. they are allowed to directly collect the capers up to a man’s head height.
The capers of Lugo are already famous throughout the world, to such an extent that even fake ones are made. Many years ago the Harrods department store in London was selling little jars of Italian capers called “Capperi della Rocca di Lugo”, charming but absolutely fake!