The plain between Florence, Prato and Pistoia is universally known as “The Garden of Europe” due to the huge number of nurseries which, since the mid 20th century, have characterised the landscape in this part of Italy. This alluvial plain is blessed with a particularly favourable microclimate and benefits from southerly exposure at the foot of the Apennines, which protect it from cold winds. The alluvial soil (particularly fertile and slightly sandy, ideal for healthy root systems in plants) plus the great abundance of groundwater and surface water, are the fruitful legacy of an ancient lake basin which once covered the plain, fed by the Arno, Bisanzio and Ombrone rivers and their tributaries. The area was renowned since ancient times for the exceptional quality and great abundance of its fruit and vegetables, which thanks to the unique local conditions were able to vegetate even three or four times a year. In 1859 the Faculty of Agriculture of Florence university launched a flower growing project for experimental purposes in this area, following the example of several local growers who had already opted to boost their income by producing ornamental plants for grand Florentine villas. Gradually, as demand grew, this business extended to occupy the entire plain, transforming it into a massive open-air nursery with thousands of species and varieties. Today a quarter of all the ornamental plants grown in Italy comes from the Pistoia area, home to more than 1400 companies spread over approximately 5000 hectares, with highly skilled and specialised staff working in what has become a traditional sector in this region. Businesses are often handed down from one family generation to the next, but they use avantgarde techniques and materials. It’s thanks to our local area dealer, FIL SERVICE of Montemurlo, that we got to know one such company, the “VIVAI SOLDI” nursery in Pistoia, managed by Mr Doriano Soldi. For over sixty years, the VIVAI SOLDI nursery has been producing and selling top quality ornamental plants and flowers, with a huge variety of trees and flowers that is constantly updated. Managing a nursery with such a large variety of species necessarily entails never-ending work: with the continuous cycle of all the various stages from germination and flowering to bedding out and then shipping of plants in bloom, there is never moment of rest… It is easy to imagine the many and varied handling requirements that are an integral part of the day-to-day work of a nursery of this kind: pots, bags of fertiliser, soil, shelves of seedlings, plants, bulbs, often manoeuvering in tight and fragile spaces such as sheds and greenhouses full of pots, and with the constant toing and froing of trucks loading and unloading… To solve these handling problems, VIVAI SOLDI nursery purchased a Mini Agri 25.6, the “mini telehandler” designed to cater to the needs of “small jobs”: excellent for agricultural work, it’s the ideal machine for working in tricky, tight spaces, such as nurseries.
The large windows of the cab (ROPS – FOPS approved) provide excellent visibility, for manoeuvering nimbly between the countless possible obstacles in a nursery, while the doors in DCS (an innovative and ultra-lightweight composite material, created by the Dieci Research and Development division) considerably reduce the overall machine weight, minimising pressure on the ground and increasing heat and sound insulation. In addition, the Mini Agri 25.6 can be fitted with the entire range of accessories offered by the company: winches, lifting hooks, grippers of various kinds, buckets for excavation and inert material, accessories that increase its already impressive characteristics of versatility and wide scope of use, even in the particular work environment of a nursery. “Give us bread, but roses too“ went the lyrics of an old song, words that seem tailor-made for the Mini Agri of the Vivai Soldi nursery!