New discovery from study of finds from the protohistoric village of Canale Anfora in Terzo di Aquileia. The oldest case ever ascertained of this drink consumed in the region, one of the most ancient in Northern Italy

Udine University has identified evidence dating back more than 3000 years that proves the consumption of wine in Friuli Venezia Giulia. This is the oldest ascertained case in the region and one of the oldest in northern Italy. The information has emerged from study of material dug up by archaeologists from the university in Friuli on the site of the protohistoric “Canale Anfora” village from the Bronze Age (1700-1300 B.C.E.) in Ca’ Baredi, in Terzo di Aquileia.

The discovery: three thousand years ago they were already drinking wine in Friuli
Confirmation comes from analysis of several pottery samples that have found residues of the drink in an abandoned cup, together with various containers for eating, on the edges of a hearth dating back to between the fourteenth and thirteenth century B.C.E. (end of the Middle Bronze Age, start of the Late Bronze Age).
Chemical and chromatographic analyses carried out by Alessandra Pecci from Barcelona University have enabled identification of the various types of organic residues impregnating the sides of the vases used for manipulation, cooking and consumption of food and drinks.

“While we used to think,” explains Elisabetta Borgna, scientific director of the dig in Ca’ Baredi, “that wine arrived together with the practice of banqueting during the phase of contact between the Greeks and the Etruscans in the early centuries of the first millennium B.C.E., today we know that it was the Mycenaeans who most probably brought the cultivation of vines and olive trees to Italian communities in southern Italy during the Bronze Age, in the second half of the second millennium B.C.E., whence this knowhow spread northwards.”
The opinion shared by experts is, in fact, that wine was introduced to the Central Mediterranean and Italy by people from the Aegean.

“The discovery in Ca’ Baredi,” emphasises Borgna, “in itself is of great value, representing an important piece in the jigsaw that is the long-distance relationships between Mediterranean and Northern-Adriatic regions, long before the arrival of the Romans in the second century B.C.E..”
The archaeological mission at the protohistoric site of Canale Anfora is part of the “Aquileia prima di Aquileia” (Aquileia before Aquileia) project carried out by this university in Friuli in collaboration with the Superintendence of archaeology, fine arts and landscape for Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The project, promoted by the department of humanistic and cultural heritage studies at the university, sees scientific management by Elisabetta Borgna and coordination by Susi Corazza, head of the university’s Prehistory and Protohistory Laboratory.


Research at Canale Anfora
Archaeological studies by Udine University in Ca’ Baredi, carried out in 2013 and 2015, brought to light this ancient settlement at the edge of the lake, on a rise formed by the ancient bed of the River Torre. In the Bronze Age, this area must have already been intensely farmed, evidenced by conspicuous traces of large containers used for preserving food and findings of plant macrofossils, which had so far however only recorded cereals and fruit trees as the species cultivated. Of particular importance was the discovery of a large number of hearths and ovens that, concentrated in selected areas of the settlement, would seem to have been used for domestic cooking and preparation.
Activities carried out in a community context, most likely for celebratory events of interest to the whole community and the inhabitants of the surrounding area.


Ca’ Baredi a precursor of Aquileia?
Now, in the light of this new discovery, experts from this university in Friuli will continue their archaeological studies of the settlement in Canale Anfora.
In fact, future findings and analyses may clarify if contacts between people in the Mediterranean and those on the coasts of the upper Adriatic may have promoted an initial selection of vines to refine the local wild grapes that, as we know from finds at the Sammardenchia site(Pozzuolo del Friuli), were present in Friuli Venezia Giulia in Neolithic times. “The vocation of Roman Aquileia for production, trade and consumption of wine,” stresses Corazza, “handed down from ancient sources, could in this way see its origins traced precisely to Ca’ Baredi.”


Il messaggero Veneto – Edizione Udine (15 March 2017)

Il Messaggero Veneto


A “small compendium of the universe” was how writer and poet Ippolito Nievo described Friuli, “mountains, plains and lakes in sixty miles from north to south.”.

These miles also include that range of hills that reaches from the border with the province of Gorizia to Tarcento, a town in the province of Udine. The area is all to the east of the main city in Friuli and while there are woods to the north, to the south lie a series of tidy vineyards on gently sloping hills, none of which reach two hundred metres in altitude, alternated with hollows or plains. We are in the Colli Orientali or Eastern Hills of Friuli, where the soil, called “flysch di Cormons”, is either marl or sandstone. Marl, which the locals call ponca, may contain different percentages of limestone and clay and alters depending on the atmospheric phenomena, crumbling into fragments that change from their original grey-blue colour, gradually turning varying shades of ochre yellow. In the Eastern hills, marl normally prevails over sandstone and the impermeable rock forces rainwater to run over the surface, eroding it. In time, this has formed small steep valleys where water courses flow.

The fragility of this soil would soon loosen the roots of the vines. To avoid this, the hills have been terraced from the hilltops to the plain below, and these are called ronc in Friulano, a word that does not exist in Italian that emphasises not only the characteristic of this landscape but has also come to mean a hill where quality wines are produced.

The Eastern Hills cover a fairly large area so the climate varies from one zone to another in terms of rain, wind, altitude and exposure and also distance from the sea, which has a warming effect on the vineyards, especially those between the roncs of Manzano, Buttrio, Rosazzo and Ipplis and up to Rocca Bernarda, Gramogliano hill and the Romagno woods. In this part of the hills, flowering, ripening and harvest generally take place earlier than elsewhere.

Eastern Hills

The north-easterly bora and tramontana winds blow on the high plains to the east of Cividale del Friuli, where the warming effect of the sea is weaker.

The coldest, wettest zone comes after Cividale, towards Tarcento, and in this strip of land, only Ramandolo and Savorgnano del Torre enjoy a milder climate.

The Eastern Hills of Friuli have a great vine-growing and wine-producing vocation and some of its districts have managed to give such signature characterisation to wines that they have known worldwide as the pride of the Friuli wine business.

The coldest, wettest zone is linked to autochthonous varieties that live in symbiosis with its climate and terrain: Verduzzo, Picolìt, Refosco dal peduncolo rosso and, especially, Refosco nostrano, also known as Refosco di Faedis or di Torreano. This latter varietal has survived thanks to the local vine growers who, after the plague of parasitic diseases in the nineteenth century, insisted on replanting it, ignoring the fashionable pandering of oenologists and nursery gardeners who were making way for French cultivars. Verduzzo is golden in colour and sweet, at times buttery and tannic, excellent from Ramandolo Nimis and Savorgnano del Torre, which is also the top zone for Picolits obtained from aroma-rich grapes that are often favourably affected by a mould called botritys cinerea commonly known as “noble rot”.

The slightly milder zone to the east of Cividale encompasses Spessa di Cividale, S. Anna, Ronchi di Gagliano, Prepotto, Novacuzzo, Croaretto, Albana, Cialla, and Fornalis. While the white wines such as friulano, pinots bianco and grigio, and chardonnay are fresh with delicate overtones, requiring time to bring out all their graceful smoothness, the feather in the cap of red wines is schioppettino, with the best examples coming from Prepotto Albana and Cialla. Another great red is refosco dal peduncolo rosso.

In the area closest to the sea, where its effects are felt the most, top wines are ribolla gialla and friulano together with sauvignon, pinot bianco and müller thurgau. Picolit expresses all its excellence once again in the hills of Buttrio Rocca Bernarda and Rosazzo and for a while now the latter has also been famous for its rosso pignolo. Only here and on the hills of Buttrio will you find a wine with the evocative name of Tazzelenghe, in other words “taglia lingua” or tongue-cutter, due to the acidity of the grape juice and not because the wine irritates the taster’s tongue. Even when its base acids are high, this wine caresses the palate, gently tickling it. A great red for drinking after a few years’ ageing so that its magnificent dryness and riot of lively flavours and aromas can be enjoyed to the max. This too is the Eastern Hills of Friuli, a treasure chest of fine wines, scenery, the men and women who have shaped the landscape, and wines safeguarded over time, skilfully warding off certain extinction! The hills in this portion of Friuli are a must-visit for all wine aficionados, a chance to follow and taste the local wines, enraptured by an aroma or a colour!


Maria Cristina Pugnetti

In Bordeaux, the mecca of French wine, they have adopted the Simonit&Sirch method. This system uses prevention to avoid the deterioration that kills off 10% of the plants.

Pruning made in Friuli saves noble French vines In the photo above:

Left, Marco Simonit and Massimo Giudici with the Chateau d’Yqueme in the background. Right, the centenary vines of Chapelle di Château Ausone (Photo: Venanzi)

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