The flames of the island of fire

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At Marsala, it is all about family. Generations come and go and skills are passed on. Eternal Sicily, this is it.

ROBERTO CURATOLO has his phone glued to his ear. I can see him pacing up and down the courtyard, a file under his arm. He’s chatting away, chatting away, it never ends. He’s been retired for twenty years. At 86, he still hasn’t hung up. He walks back and forth across a huge, clean and uncluttered courtyard. In front of the offices are majestic green and exotic plants in huge pots. The sun beats down on the white walls of this Marsala baglio, which discreetly houses a reception area at the far right. Just behind, a battery of gleaming stainless steel vats and ageing cellars full of tuns and casks stacked four storeys high. Some are over a century and a half old. Surrounding this huge atrium are the newly renovated reception room, a laboratory in its original state and the offices, where I am greeted by Alexandra Curatolo, Roberto’s niece. On this last day of the harvest in 2022, it’s a hodgepodge of people of all ages, employees and owners, impossible to tell apart because this small world has always lived and worked together. “The jobs here are ad vitam aeternam,” laughs the young woman.

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