The legendary Bosco Eliceo (Elix Forest)

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Duna della Puia
Duna della Puia

 

The Adriatic coastline running along the Romea Road (Strada Romea), north from the Po river mouth in Goro to the Reno river delta in the Province of Ravenna, it is the only area of the Province of Ferrara to boast a very special wine-making tradition that has remained unchanged over the centuries.

For centuries Ferrara's viticulture has been identified with the Fortana grape, also known as Golden Grape (Uva d'Oro); its origins date back to the 4th century BC, when the Spina civilization was thriving in the territory of Comacchio. Vine cultivation has greatly developed during the 10th and 11th century, when the land reclamation works made by the Benedictine monks of Pomposa Abbey encouraged an intensive agro-pastoral activity in these strips of land torn from the swamp.

Another tradition date back its origins to 1528 when Duke Ercole II of Este married Renée of France, daughter of Louis XII, who would have brought a dowry of golden grape from the Côte d'Or of Burgundy. This grape variety found a very suitable environment to grow on the Po river delta sandy dunes, particularly around the Pomposa Abbey and in Eliceo forest in Comacchio and surroundings.

In the following centuries, the local cuisine would feature culinary masterpieces and fine wines, but after the decline of the House of Este, even the table of the court lost its opulence.

Ferrara area returns to be a land of swamps and malaria, but the rural cuisine that had never known the glory of the court, continued to pass down a tradition of plain and peasant dishes, to whom sandy wines gave the right support.

For centuries, both House of Este haute cuisine and peasant cuisine of the valley have been preserved untouched and always accompanied by the wines of Eliceo forest. Growing on sandy bumps and among holm-oak forests, the vineyards of the coast are low and production per plant varies from 2 to 4 kg. They have endured to the present day and escaped unharmed from the scourge of phylloxera, a microscopic louse that nearly destroyed Italian viticulture at the beginning of the century.

The dump climate, the salty air and soil and the seasons mitigated by the sea are other elements that give these wines a unique character.

A historic and great universe of labourers, fishermen and pole spear hunters, especially of eels and swamp game.

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