The day of March, 21st – the date marking the beginning of Spring – is dedicated to Saint Benedict (Norcia, 2 March 480 – Montecassino, 21 March 547) from whom comes the Italian saying ‘San Benedetto, una rondine sotto il tetto’ (freely translated into ‘On Saint Benedict’s day, swallows are on their way’). This is to say that in this period the very first swallows are migrating into our lands, but ‘one swallow does not make a summer’ indeed. In Piedmont, the swallows are coming in large groups only in a later period, according to the weather trend, generally by the end of April, after a long journey from the Central Southern Africa where they usually winter.
Large groups of swallows often nest at Tenuta Colombara – mainly those from the hirundo rustica species – because many premises on the first plan are kept for them, and left with open windows, as it’s done on the attics. Swallows reciprocate the hospitality they received giving their contribution to keep the eco-system in balance, preventing mosquitos to grow. In fact every day a swallow feeds on a number of mosquitos as equal as its own weight.
The Rondolinos’ affection toward swallows is not completely fortuitous, because it’s from the swallow, pictured also on the family coat of arms, that their surname takes origin, formerly Rondolinus.