At Fattoria Valle Magica we have two sheep breeds that give us excellent quality wool. The Valais Black nose sheep and the Gentile di Puglia. The Gentile di Puglia is a fine wooled breed from southern Italy. 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. 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. The development of the Valais Black Nose sheep also dates back to the 15th century, counting around 17.000 heads in the world.
Especially the amazing breed of sheep, Gentile di Puglia, is well known for its fabulous quality wool. Properties of this fine wool include a fiber diameter of 18-22 microns fleece weight 6 kg in the rams and 3.5 kg in the ewes.
When we buy clothes made of wool, our tendency is to look for its softness to the touch. So our hands will immediately go to the cashmere sweaters. However, the finer the sweater, the faster it is going to wear on you. Wool from the Gentile di Puglia will last four times as long and costs half the price in comparison to cashmere. It really is the finest grade wool that is on the commercial market in terms if strength (resistance to pilling) and soft appearance.