Emanuele Albano, the man who looked for mussels and found the "Muscoli"
Mussels of La Spezia are a mainstay of local cooking: excellence of the territory, are a real pride for locals. Along the Gulf of Poets nobody calls them “cozze”, – the name for mussels in Italy – but who knows how Emanuele Albano from Taranto called them, the man who started the first mussel cultivation in La Spezia.
La Spezia and surroundings do not mess around on the mussles. Mussels dishes are part of the local gastronomic tradition and are among the must-try specialties if you are looking for a taste of the local traditions.
The mussel breeding is one of the excellent activities of the territory, drawing its borders with the farming awns and the stakes that emerge from the water near the dam and in Portovenere channel.
In local enginery, taste and economy, mussels and “muscolai” – the farms – are the most local La Spezia feature ever. Yet all was set off with Emmanuel Albano, an oyster farmer from Taranto.
From Taranto to La Spezia: How Emanuele Albano started chasing for the perfect “cozza” (and found the “muscolo”)
In the late nineteenth century, Emanuele Albano was an oyster farmer in the Apulia town of Taranto (another city where the mussel farming is traditional).
Following the directions of two biologists and naturalists (Professor Arturo Issel and Professor D. Carazzi), Albano tried to expand his business in the Gulf of La Spezia : the observations pointed him the ideal and unique place for shellfish farming.
In 1887 , Mr. Albano set off the first breeding of mussels in the Gulf of La Spezia . Given the good results obtained, in 1890 he founded his new company S.a.S. Albano & C.
The company went on, with up and downs, for 15 years, but the production turned out to be better than the one of Taranto (especially for the specimen’s size and solidity of the shell, according to the chronicles).
The muscoli are a success: the Tarantinos follow the Albanos and then … there came La Spezia’s farmers
In the wake of what has been obtained from Albano, other oyster farmers from Taranto moved into the Gulf, creating a flourishing craft industry and a substantial local business.
The success encountered by the mussels led to the creation of new nurseries , inside and outside La Spezia’s breakwater and also in the Portovenere channel.
In the field too soon entered the La Spezia fishers with the Carozzos, the Borios, the Guidis, Di Francescos, Godanis, Majolis.
The mussels, the gold in the Gulf of La Spezia
Today, mussels farms are among the most established companies in the local economy.
Mussels farms (recently joined alongside by oysters) stretch over 90 thousand square meters in the Gulf’s waters.
The cooperative of mussel farmers , heir of a centuries-old tradition, is formed by 86 members that hand down the secrets (and efforts) of a precious tradition.