Storic presence at the Festa del Cactus,Paolo Drovandi’s farm is nestled in the hills of Pistoia in the small hamlet of Forrottoli di Quarrata where, as early as the late 1970s, his father was producing ornamental plants destined for Pistoia’s very powerful floriculture sector.

Paolo Drovandi portrayed in his greenhouse.

Succulent plants came to the company in the 1980s, on the occasion of an exhibition held at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Pisa in which the company presented itself with a small sampling of these particular plants, which were not widespread at the time.

The success achieved spurred the company to specialize in succulents, thanks in part to the friendship that developed between the young Paolo and Prof. Leonardo Gavazzi, a teacher of literature and Latin in Pistoia as well as a great collector and expert on succulent plants with whom he often visited the most important European nurseries.

The search for commercial novelties in the field of succulents led Paul to continual visits to Liguria, a historic garrison of Italian nurseries specializing in these plants.

The relationship between the Drovandi Nursery and the world of collecting became more concrete with his participation in the exhibitions organized by the Italian Association of Succulent Plant Lovers(AIAS) that were held in various locations in Italy, whereby Paul began to engage in offering special plants intended for amateurs.

He was joined in this quest by his dear wife Federica, who was particularly interested in succulent plants with the most beautiful and showy blooms and who introduced the production of referenced cultivars of Epiphyllum hybrids and, later, of Adenium obesum hybrids with multicolored blooms, plants that at the time were still little or not at all known to Italian collectors and that they managed to reproduce from seed imported laboriously from the East.

The farm currently consists of several greenhouses, each intended for specialty crops including commercial production of succulent plants, maintenance of a valuable collection of mother plants of Astrophytum hybrids and other rare plants of great collecting interest, and the sales department, where plants are kept that will be offered during the many markets Paul attends throughout Italy, including the islands.

At the end of this brief presentation of my friend Paolo and his company, I could not refrain from talking about his excellent Extra Virgin Olive Oil, of which he maintains a small production destined for a close circle of loyal customers, obtained from his two-hectare olive grove of Moraiolo, Leccino and Frantoio olives.

Now you know.