Nonino Risit d’Aur Prize – Gold Vine Shoot 2017

Isabella Dalla Ragione



Arboreal archeologist, as she loves to define herself, among archives, chronicles and traditions, Isabella Dalla Ragione embraces the traditional knowledge bound to the territory. Coming into action with plantings and grafts, for years with devotion she has been preserving ancient colors, fragrances and tastes, saving them from their oblivion, the same love that for over forty years the Prize has been devoting to the rural civilization and its knowledge. Let the prize be a spur and support to those who today do their utmost to save the Ancient Apples of Friuli, a treasure to be preserved for the future generations.



Isabella Dalla Ragione, was born in Sansepolcro (AR) in 1957, and lives in Perugia. She is an agronomist and for many years she has been taking care of the study and safeguard of vegetable biodiversity, in particular of old and ancient local fruit varieties.
She has just completed a PhD at the Department of Vegetal Biology of the University of Perugia with a thesis of historical and genetic research on ancient local varieties of pears.
In 1985, together with her father Livio, she established Arboreal Archeology, a collection orchard in Città di Castello (PG), for activities of research and preservation of local fruit trees and traditional knowledge. She is the founder and President of the Arboreal Archeology Foundation, born in 2014 with the aim of giving a future to the extraordinary heritage of local varieties saved from extinction and to carry on the activity and safeguard of biodiversity. In the scientific Committee there are the University of Perugia, Bioversity International, and FAO.
On this theme she had developed projects for several Regions (Abruzzo, Marche, Emilia Romagna, Umbria, and Lazio), Mountain Communities and Provinces. She has long cooperated with the University of Perugia. She has taken part in the pilot EU project for the management of genetic resources in Vietnam.
Since 2011 she has been cooperating with Pastilla Museum in Kolomna (Russia) with the Tolstoy Foundation in Ysanaya Polyana, Tula, about the research and safeguard of the ancient Russian varieties of the apple tree.

She has written many articles on magazines and many publications, among which the books: Archeologia Arborea, Diario di due cercatori di piante (Arboreal Archeology, the Diary of two plant hunters), now at the fourth edition; Tenendo innanzi frutta Petruzzi publisher; Frutti ritrovati Mondadori publisher; L’occhio ammira e resta incantato published by Provincia di Terni, I pregiati perzichi di Papigno, published by Provincia di Terni. Articles on magazines and newspapers all over the world: The New Yorker, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Geo in the editions: German, Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian, Latvian, Russian, etc, the Herald Tribune, La Repubblica, Il Corriere della Sera, The New York Times.
Several documentaries on Rai, BBC and the Canadian and Russian Televisions. She is in the film The fruit hunters, by the Canadian director Yung Chang.

Awards and Honors
She has received several awards, among which in 2009, in Rome at the Capitol the Prize “I custodi della diversità del Mediterraneo”, by Bioversity International and the Municipality of Rome. In 2011 -”Mimosa per L’ambiente 2011” 21st edition, by the Association of the Environmental Women of Parma. In 2012 she was awarded the title of “Cavaliere dell’ambiente” established by the Municipality of Cascia and the Province of Perugia. In 2014 in Sorrento The International Prize for Ecology (IV edition) by the Foundation Verde Ambiente – Medal of the President of the Republic. In 2016 in Rome, at the Capitol, she has received the special Prize “Bandiera Verde Agricoltura” by Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (Italian Federation of Farmers).