Romagnolo “Blackberries”

It would be an unforgivable mistake not to mention here a particular kind of boar from North and Central Italy which luckily was saved from extinction in the nick of time: the Mora Romagnola.

This pig has been called “Mora” (i.e. blackberry/brambleberry) since about the mid 1950s because of its dark brown fur that is almost black. Actually, the ones from the Rimini area have a reddish colour with a white star on their front.

Its extinction seemed almost complete when we look at the numbers: from about 400,000 animals in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century, about 20,000 remained by the 1950s and only a few dozen were left by the 1990s.

However, the WWF Italy and the University of Turin initiated a plan of action, and today we have about 1,000 animals in the Emilia-Romagna and in other parts of North Italy. Credit for having saved this animal also goes to some local breeders who, notwithstanding the limits posed by the low number of animals, continued to raise them and tried to avoid inbreeding by exchanging boars amongst them.

This pig is robust, primal, powerful, of medium height, weighing about 250-300 kg when grown, i.e. at about 18-20 months. They are mostly bred in the open country and take more time to fatten up than other types of pigs, especially those used for industrial meat production. This may be one of the reasons why it was almost eradicated: it simply could not compete with others when it came down to the farmers’ income!

The meat is of excellent quality, mainly used for the production of quality cured meats.

Currently, there are three breeders of “Mora Romagnola” in the province of Rimini:

- Azienda Agricola Zavoli Fausto di Saludecio,
Azienda Agricola I Fondi,
- Azienda Agricola Migani

However, there are also other places, although few and far between, which raise small numbers of pigs (from 3 to 10 each) for slaughter.