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Allegrini 2018
WINE & ARCHEOLOGY

The “wine of Palatino” is born, the project in the Archaeological Park of Colosseum

After the production of oil and honey, as in Roman times, the “laying” of the first rows of Vigna Barberini on one of the seventh hills of Rome

Honey, which comes from the beehives located at the foot of the Romulan huts, where the archaic history of Rome began, in the ideal place according to the “guidelines” suggested by Varro, Columella and Virgil, wide and isolated, rich in forage plants and water; the oil, fruit of 189 olive trees, from the centenarian ones near the arch of Titus to those recently planted, perfectly inserted in a landscape in which they have been part since ancient times; and now the vine, just as the ancient sources hand down, including the “Naturalis historia” by Pliny the Elder, which tell of the presence, in the square of the Roman Forum, of three plants, symbol of Roman culture: “Ficus, Olea et Vitis”. Born from here, with the “laying” of the first rows of vines of the “Vigna Barberini” on the Palatine Hill, the new project of the “wine of the Palatine”, the latest case history of wine and archaeology in the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum. To announce it on Instagram, the director Alfonsina Russo: “in addition to the production of oil from the beautiful olive trees of the Park and our sweet honey will follow the production of the drink par excellence so praised over the centuries, the “nectar of the gods”, the Palatine wine”.
Historical and archaeological researches about wines of excellence in ancient Rome led to the knowledge of a very ancient autochthonous vine that Pliny called “pantastica grape”, from which derives Bellone wine, cultivated in the province of Rome and in the province of Latina. The cultivation of vine has always been of relevant importance for all the civilizations which followed one each other during the course of history and it also had a very important role in the Roman civilization. Romans were excellent vinegrowers: in fact have been found archeological traces of trenches of the cultivation of vine, mainly with rows, often also with alberello-trained vine for the so called “married” vine. The Archeological Park of Colosseum still has in its toponymy some areas called “vineyard”, in the broadest sense of the term, that is gardens, and in archaeological surveys and historical maps the presence of vineyards is well documented. Hence the idea of planting a small vineyard, in an area of the Palatine Hill called “Vigna Barberini”, from the Roman family which owned the property in the seventeenth century. Currently, a small area of the terrace already hosts some fruit trees, the sacred fig tree of the origins and other of the oldest species, the Park explains.
The important heritage of olive trees had already prompted the Park to promote the “virtuous” recovery of olives, otherwise wasted, thanks to the production of “Palatinum”, an extra virgin olive oil without the use of chemicals. And always on the Palatine Hill, with the project “GRABees - The Honey of Rome”, beehives have been positioned from which the honey “Ambrosia del Palatino” is produced.
Waiting for the right season for the planting of the vineyard, the production of the “wine of the Colosseum” had been announced by Russo herself in January and is part of the project “Parco Green”, inspired by the “Green Economy”, and launched to reduce the environmental impact, preserve the ecosystem and biodiversity, with initiatives ranging from waste recycling to the realization of pilot projects of eco-sustainable restoration, from the collection of plants and wild fruits of the Park to the planting of ancient and Renaissance essences related to its history, through collaboration with the Servizio Educazione Didattica e Formazione for educational projects on Green Economy for visitors of all ages. The Park, in fact, is not only an archaeological site including in addition to the Colosseum and the Palatine, the Roman Forum, the Arch of Constantine and the Domus Area, to name just some of the wonders of Rome and the history of mankind, but also a large green area that extends for more than 40 hectares (considering only the territory of the Roman Forum and the Palatine) in the heart of Rome. A “natural park” in which the spontaneous vegetation, typical of the Mediterranean area, coexists with large trees planted in recent centuries, in order to revive the spirit of the imperial gardens and the Renaissance Horti Farnesiani that, in successive phases, have embellished the top of the ancient hill, and that has been chosen as a habitat by a large fauna of small mammals, reptiles, insects and birds.

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