Conero “Paccassassi”

The Paccasassi (sea fennel) is a spontaneous plant that grows flourishing in the rocks overlooking the sea.

In the Riviera del Conero area they call it Paccasassi, which literally means “breaking rocks” due to its ability to grow up through sea stones fissures. As a long-lasting food tradition, the local people prepare them in extra virgin olive oil.

They have an absolutely special flavor and match well with fresh bread, mortadella, and anchovies. The Paccasassi can be used as the main ingredient or to flavor food in many recipes.


Also known as sea fennel or St Peter’s Grass, this aromatic plant grows spontaneously along the coasts of the Mediterranean sea and northern Europe.

Its trade was very flourishing in Europe until the end of the nineteenth century. Its use has ancient evidence. Shakespeare also mentions it in his King Lear.

The consumption of sea fennel was particularly widespread among seafarers. Thanks to its richness in vitamin C, they used it to prevent scurvy.

The Paccasassi began to disappear due to indiscriminate harvesting. Today, in Parco del Conero and in some areas of Italy and Europe, the sea fennel is listed among the protected plant species.


The Paccasassi del Conero will amaze you for sapidity and taste tenacity. Preserved in extra virgin olive oil, they are a versatile and healthy product. You can use the preserving oil to season your salads or your dishes.

Paccasassi have very special benefits. They are rich in Vitamin C, which regulates and improves liver function. In addition, they help the assimilation of food nutrients.

You can use the Paccasassi both raw and cooked. Let’s see together some easy and tasty pairing that will make you discover the unique flavor of this spontaneous herb.


The first combination we propose is classic mortadella and Paccasassi. Try it on a slice of crispy bread, on a slow-rising pizza, or inside a crescia marchigiana d.o.c.

An excellent aperitif or appetizer is crispy or toasted bread, anchovies, and Paccasassi. The taste will be absolutely savory: a sip of the sea!

Try them with sausage, or in a salad with tuna, Pachino, and capers.

We also recommend them with moscioli (the wild mussels of Portonovo, Slow Food Presidium), a combination of two excellences of the Riviera del Conero.

Those who love the most delicate tastes can try them with boiled potatoes.

We suggest the recipe of Chef Massimo Bomprezzi: fusilloni with squid, mantis shrimps, tomatoes, bianchetti and Paccasassi.

Crostino con salmone affumicato paccasassi e noce di burro
Piadina sfogliata con mortadella e paccasassi
Spaghetti al pesto di paccassassi