Gentile di Puglia
At Fattoria Valle Magica we believe in conserving breeds that have qualities that are becoming rare due to mass farming. The Gentile di Puglia is a fine wooled breed from southern Italy. However it is also the traditional sheep from the region where Fattoria Valle Magica is based and used for the internationally famous artisan cheeses such as Foggiano di Castel del Monte.
It is also known by the names Apulian Merino, Merino DI Puglia, Improved Apulian, Italian Merino, Merino d'Italia, Merina Gentile. Development of this breed dates back to the 15th century. The collapse of the wool trade in the later twentieth century caused a sharp fall in number of the breed. In the last half century the number of heads has dramatically decreased and at the present time there're about 15,000 sheep mainly in the Basilicata, Molise and Puglia regions.
In 1983 total numbers for the breed were estimated at 500,000, of which 31,700 were registered in the herd book, in 2013 the number recorded in the herdbook was 3532.
The milk yield of the Gentile di Puglia is approximately 80-100 litres per lactation. Most of it goes to their lambs but it is also used in the production of quality pecorino cheeses due to the excellent fat versus protein properties in the milk. The Gentile di Puglia is however a multi purpose breed. The milk has great quality and the breed is well know for its fabulous quality of wool. The wool itself is known (often by the term Merino wool in stead of Gentile di Puglia wool) to be the finest grade wool on the commercial market in terms of strength and soft appearance.
At Fattoria Valle Magica we are currently growing our flock of this wonderful and traditional breed for all to come and see.