The Grapes

The grapes of the Piacenza area

The centuries-old history of the Colli Piacentini vineyards.
During the Iron Age, the pile-dwellers of the Po River, after they moved to the Veleja hills, planted the first vineyards. Many centuries later (4th – 2nd century B.C.), the Gauls brought their wine-making knowledge to the Pianura Padana. They introduced the wooden barrel (instead of terracotta), mainly used to transport wine. In 1877, a bronze item of the same era was found in Settima di Gossolengo and is known as Fegato Etrusco (Italian for “Etruscan liver”). It represents a bovine liver with vinous inscriptions on it. The Etruscans farmed the land and produced wine from the nearby vineyards. Sasema, the most famous farmer at that time, described how he used to drink Kilkevetra, a wine produced in the Appennino Piacentino.

The Etruscans were not the only ones to live and farm the Piacenza grounds. The Paleoliguri, an ancient population from Liguria, and the Romans grew vineyards there. The Roman soldiers, the Gauls and the Celts did the same. So many different cultures but the Greeks were the ones that really developed the wine production: the local producers always trained their vines using low structures supported by carasse, wooden posts supporting the plant.

When the Roman Empire was at its peak, the Romans clearly showed their appreciation for the Piacenza wines. Cicero and Licinio Sestulo described them. Cicero to criticize a political adversary from Piacenza (he was Piso, father of Julius Caesar’s wife, Calpurnia) who drank too much wine from his land; Licinio Sestulo said the Piacenza wines brightened up the mood. The Gutturnium forging found at the end of the 19th Century was probably made during the Roman Empire.

Pliny, describing the best 80 wines of his time, talked about a Piacenza wine drunk in Veleja. There, in 1747, the Tabula Alimentaria Traianea was found. It is an important Roman bronze inscription recalling a wine from Placentia, the Latin name of Piacenza. Veleja was the same place where, in 1760, a small bronze statue dating back to the 1st Century A.D. and representing a drunken Hercules was found. It was a common representation of brotherhood among wine enthusiasts. From the 7th Century, the Irish Monk St. Columban and its followers vastly influenced the winegrowing for the following seven centuries. In 833, they reached Vicobarone, where the present day church is consecrated to St. Columban.

The Soil

Malvasia

History of the Malvasia

Ortrugo

History of the Ortrugo

Gutturnio

History of the Gutturnio