Sweet citrus fruits from Reggio: the oranges of San Giuseppe

Not only famous for the bergamot


It is known that in Reggio the bergamot plays the undisputed role of the king of citrus fruits; however, besides this delicacy with multiple uses, there are also other golden fruits typical of the area: the oranges of San Giuseppe.

The oranges of San Giuseppe

An exclusive product of this territory

Coming from the area between the valleys of the Gallico and Catona rivers, and especially in the hamlet of Villa San Giuseppe from which they take their names, these are the oranges of the Belladonna and Biondo tardive di San Giuseppe varieties. A fruit that has a sweet and sugary taste, without seeds, oval shaped and with a thin skin of intense orange colour, it has remarkable organoleptic properties. The cultivation of these oranges is defined as late because the first fruits are born between February and March, growing on the trees until June. Due to their sweetness, San Giuseppe oranges are widely used to produce juices, jams, and various confectionery products, such as candied peel.

A cultivation that is entirely Reggio Calabrian

From 2011, this variety of oranges has had the name De.c.o (Denomination of Community of Origin), which provides for its cultivation only in its area of origin, reaching up to some buffer areas in the small neighbouring municipalities, for about 6 km from the coast, and tendentially up to 350 m asl. In 2019, the first “Feast of the Oranges of San Giuseppe” was held, which, given its enormous success with the public, could become a regular event.


Until the October Revolution period, San Giuseppe oranges were exported in large quantities to the Tsar’s court in Russia and to the families of nobles. Loved for their sweet and pleasant taste, they were called “tsar oranges.”


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