An ancient variety of grape: “pantastica grapes” in the Barberini Vineyard

Historic and archaeological research into high-quality wines in Ancient Rome has led to the re-discovery of an ancient, autochthonous variety of grape that Pliny called the “pantastica grape”. Bellone wine, made from grapes cultivated in the provinces of Rome and Latina, is made from this ancient cultivar.

 

Grape cultivation has always been of prime importance to the various civilizations that have followed one another over the course of history and Roman civilization was certainly no exception. The Romans were excellent winegrowers: much archaeological evidence has been found of trenches dug for grape cultivation, generally in rows, and often using the alberate system for so-called “married vines”, i.e. vines that cling to trees for support.

 

The toponomastics of the Parco archeologico del Colosseo still include several areas called “vineyard” in the broadest sense of the word, i.e. gardens, and both archaeological studies and historic maps give ample documentation for the historic presence of proper vineyards.

 

Thus was born the idea to establish a small vineyard in an area of the Palatine Hill already known as the “Barberini Vineyard”, from the Roman family who owned the property in the 17th century. The small area of the terrace is currently home to a number of fruit-bearing plants, including the sacred Ficus Ruminalis linked to the origins of Rome as well as other ancient cultivars.

 

Given the favorable conditions of our climate zone, work on the vineyard will soon be underway.