Rattle apple

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Rattle apple

Mela a sonagli

Rattle apple

Malus domestica Borkh


DESCRIPTION The denomination of this landrace is unequivocally connected to the particular characteristic of the ripe fruit, whose seeds, detaching themselves from the carpellar lodges, produce a typical rattle noise when shaking. Even the synonym of batocchia has to do with the peculiarity of emitting sounds attributed to variety. The batocchio is in fact an obsolete term used to designate the clapper of the bell.
The fruit is medium, mostly ellipsoidal in shape. The peel is green with a very extensive purple red blush. Ripens around the middle of September.

BACKGROUND References to the Sona Apple in pomology are quite rare. An isolated quotation such as Mela Sonaglia can be found in the unpublished manuscripts of Pietro Antonio Micheli (1679-1737), commissioned by the Grand Duke Cosimo III to describe and catalog the fruit heritage of the time. However, there is no corresponding fruit in the paintings of the well-known painter Bartolomeo Bimbi, who was also involved in the Medicean enterprise on the iconographic side. Almost two centuries later, Girolamo Molon makes a quick reference to Rattle apples , counting them among varieties of apple trees descending from the P. prunifolia species and recalling how they are otherwise known as Bottocchie apples [ Molon G., Pomology, Hoepli, Milan, 1901: p. 8]. Ethnographic sources document how the Sona Apple was particularly suitable for preservation by drying. Until the 1950s, the Sona Apple was in fact used in the preparation of paccucce, spartecche or quatrains : apple quarters left to dry in the sun on trays or racks of willow, cane or whiteweed and subsequently baked for avoid deterioration. Often, in times of shortage, spartecche were the main dish of the peasant dinner. In the demoiatric field, apple paccucce found therapeutic use in the treatment of colds in the form of herbal teas, as evidenced by the information gathered around the end of the nineteenth century by the Perugian doctor and demologist Zeno Zanetti in the territory of Città di Castello [Zanetti Z., The medicine of our women, S. Lapi Printer-Publisher, Città di Castello, 1892: 221]. Among the gastronomic uses, it seems that the Sona Apple is the ideal ingredient for the preparation of the Rocciata Folignate (otherwise known as attorta), a sort of strudel based on apples, raisins and dried fruit, rather appreciated and known throughout the territory regional.

TYPICAL PRODUCTION AREA The distribution area of the variety is mostly confined to the Umbrian Valley, with reports both in the Foligno area and in the Spoleto area. Other specimens have been found in the Municipalities of Massa Martana, Gualdo Cattaneo and Cascia, in the Province of Perugia; in Acquasparta, in the Province of Terni.

GASTRONOMIC USE Variety for fresh consumption, characterized by good post-harvest shelf life both in the loft and in the refrigerator. Sometimes it was dried after cutting it into slices or strips.

Texts taken from “Regional Register of indigenous genetic resources of the Umbria Region”

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