…the place-name apparently has a Roman origin. One of the most beautiful and picturesque farms around Parma, located at the foot of rolling hills, "Ciato" is surrounded by fields of tomatoes, onions, alfalfa and by a vast area where medicinal herbs are grown. A century-old walnut tree (just like in every old farmhouse of this area) gives shade to the stunning porch where the humble, simple but distinct life of the yard took place. The wide barnyard, with its fairytale-like backdrop of Torrechiara Castle dominating the first hills, offers a breathtaking view over the infinite fields which surround the rural buildings, detaching it from the rest of the world. The cellar, fit for a medieval manor, gives shelter to hams, salamis, fiocchetti and other such “pearls” of Parma’s renown agrifood sector, which laze in blissful solitude without having to worry about being troubled by a ray of light or by some artificial temperature, generated by something other than Mother Earth. The stable’s colonnade and arches, a sort of temple where the farmer’s “four-legged capital” was jealously guarded by the image of "S.ant'Antoni dal gosen" shrouded in the ever-present spider web. And, again, the traditional “porta morta” (a passageway separating the house from the cowshed or barn), the "dardè cà" hen-house looked after by the sprightly Anselmina, the perfume of grass, hay and earth and the scents of the countryside, the fragrance of fruit and tomatoes that the expert housewives skilfully transformed into delicious jams and tasty tomato purees on the ancient “fogon”, the fireplace. These scrumptious products were then used to add flavour to winter dishes, almost magically bringing back to life the special aromas of the summer months. The slow chiming of the bells of the small nearby country church which, to rephrase Pascoli and his tribute to Barga, mark the “hours of Ciato”… all this represent the most evocative and meaningful things that this strip of “disappeared countryside” can offer to the visitors of the 21st century, accustomed to futuristic buildings, stressed way of life, IT technology, limited spaces and unnatural food.
Ciato is a relic of country life of past times, a showpiece of Parma’s rural tradition, a museum of the traditions, customs, and habits that must be safeguarded, a captivating image, as fresh as the water drawn from the yard’s well or springing from the "sambot" (water pump).