Solenti Clivi. The farm outside Rome that raises chickens and produces special eggs

Mar 21 2022, 08:28 | by Michela Becchi
In the Tiber Valley, a naval engineer has set up a unique farm, showing that an innovative and technological approach to farming is possible. Starting with eggs.

Solenti Clivi: former engineer embraces farming

Eggs, chickens, koi fishes, even olive trees and Maremma sheepdogs... but, above all, a structured project behind it with a single goal: the creation of Italy’s best egg. The reason? Showing future generations that it is possible to engage in farming in a less traditional way, with cutting-edge techniques and a different attitude. That of the engineer, for instance: after all, this is the field of the Solenti Clivi’s owner in Filacciano, in the province of Rome. Former naval engineer Gianluca Mosca was born and raised in Naples. He supported many projects, started his own consulting firm in the United Arab Emirates, and was as far away as possible from the world of agriculture. No farming family or generational factors behind him, but just a great desire to accomplish and enhance the Italian industry’s largest sector. Brexit, however, led him to this new path: "At the time, I was working in London for a mineral trading company. I was dealing with the establishment of an iron mine in Mauritania... Brexit changed my perspective, by spurring me on to return to Italy".

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The birth of the Solenti Clivi company

Gianluca bought lands, but the idea of returning to his homeland was still far-fetched. At least until 2019, when he came across an article by Gambero Rosso about Italy’s best eggs. He had a eureka moment: he wants to be the next one to make the best egg in Italy. He took advantage of his engineering knowledge, of course, "I started off with the basics I had: I conceived the egg, just as I would have done in my field." In this land of abandoned olive groves and woods, Gianluca invested time and money to create a small, yet solid company. A boutique farm, as he himself likes to call it, "different from the usual farms, more evolved, with attention to aesthetics, with chicken coops perfectly integrated into the nature reserve that hosts them". It all started with 20 different chicken breeds, "fine layers in any case", bred for reproduction purposes, thereby growing the chicken population. They were part of the ‘pilot group’, necessary to determine the product’s organoleptic properties, "we finally achieved the desired result".

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The eggs of Solenti Clivi

The egg is now as Gianluca wished it to be, but many attempts have been made: "We have fed 6 groups of chickens with 6 different types of feeds, based on natural ingredients, and then we have analyzed the eggs". In addition to assessing the cholesterol level, the company focused mainly on the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, "which we noticed depended on the percentage of hemp in the feed". Essential is then the taste, "distinctive, very rich", all linked to the healthy nutrition of the chickens, "free to roam inside the plants, safe from predator attacks that are very common in the area". And they even listen to Mozart! Soon there will be a new space, the company is recovering a 7-acre abandoned land, where the chickens will be able to live in the wild, "in the meantime, we have incubated more than 1000 eggs". Solenti Clivi has achieved the desired result over the past year, and all the eggs are now destined for the restaurant industry, "we also sell a very small percentage to private buyers". The ideal recipes? "All those where the egg takes center stage, like carbonara".

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Breeding and olive trees

Animal lover, Gianluca also breeds Maremma sheepdogs and koi fishes, "activity that we've suspended for the moment, in order to focus on poultry, as well as on Irish Suffolk and Scottish Blackface sheep breeding". No meat, "they are show sheep", whose main mission is clearing out the brush, "thus managing to reclaim the forests, where we will keep other chickens". There is also room for the extra virgin olive oil production: the company is located in a land of olive trees, mostly of the Frantoio, Leccino and Pendolino varieties, currently switching to organic farming. In the meantime, we are working to keep the business going and to grow it further. "My desire is to show the younger generation that the profession of farmer does not have to be a family inheritance. Anyone can work the land with perseverance and commitment. There is another way of approaching agribusiness, which can give rise to first-rate products". The watchword is innovation, "and also believing in it!" 

Solenti Clivi – Filacciano (RM) – via San Valentino, 36 - solenticlivi.com/

by Michela Becchi

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