To learn about a grape variety, it is necessary to know the history of its territory and its origins. Imagine the thing as the beginning of a new relationship, let’s find out everything we can about our new partner, what he’s done, how much ex, and all the information we need to increase the interest; for wine is the same thing.
So, I will try to tell you in brief, thanks to which people on the Gargano there are churches, castles, religious cults, sheep tracks and farms; which over time have determined the traditions of today. Very often we hear about the Gargano more for its natural beauty than for its history. In this land, as in others, the transition from one civilization to another was not easy. Often, I compare the story to the harvest, that is, a case in itself, is always mother nature who dictates the last word, despite the efforts. For history is the same thing, in fact, very often are the geographical distances to make the difference, and Gargano thanks to its great exposure to the sea, it was highly contested.
The Gargano was a land inhabited since the Paleolithic and many are the archaeological sites that highlight the presence of man. In the Neolithic period the commercial relations intensified, in particular those of the flint. While the dauni (IX to IV century B.C.) enriched this land with a flourishing artistic culture and numerous religious cults. But for wine, we must wait for the Greeks, who colonized the dauni by modifying their customs, and were the first to experiment with new techniques for making wine. These techniques, as well as many uses and costumes were handed down to the Ancient Roman Empire. In the second half of the 4th cent. A.C., the daune cities supported Rome, also because its greatness was not so easy to contrast, so thanks to the Romans were born many cities and also a strong maritime trade, that thanks to its proximity to the Balkan countries, this land was used as a bridge between West and East, and one of the most famous centers was Merinum. But like I said before, the story is like the harvest, a hail can ruin all fruits.
The Greek-Gothic war (535 – 557) will destroy numerous Dauni centers, and the loss of authority of the Roman Empire, will allow the affirmation of Christianity that in this territory, will sink even more the roots thanks to the advent of the Archangel Michael, that with the construction of its Sanctuary and the development of the micaelic pilgrimage, the Gargano comes in the history of the medieval Western civilization. In fact this event in the seventh century A.D., determined the conversion of the Lombards to Christianity, so that the Archangel Michael, became their Patron Saint and will be portrayed both on their armor and on their coins. The great Micaelic cult as well as a flourishing religious and economic development, will determine the birth of the Via Sacra Longobardorum. At the end of the 10th century, in addition to the continuous attacks by the Saracens and the Swabians, the Byzantine Empire gave birth to a real rock civilization, namely the construction of scattered villages, which favored a considerable economic development. With the arrival of the Normans (1017) especially in the coastal centers, numerous churches and castles will be built, all delineated by a Romanesque artistic language. With the arrival of the Swabians, Federico II and his son Manfredi change course, and from the civilization of the construction of churches one passes to that of the castles. Later with the Angevins and the Aragonese, space will be given to Gothic art d’oltrape, there will also be a progressive feuding that began earlier with the Swabians, giving rise to a massive reorganization of cereal farms and livestock farms, leaving room for sheep farming., which determined the birth of large number of sheep tracks used for transhumance with Molise and Abruzzo. With the arrival of the Bourbons, feudal abuses were slowed down and many lands were taken away from grazing and woods, dedicating them to cultivation. Even today the Gargano preserves in its dialects the presence of these peoples, accents that tell of our origin, but above all our history.