Arboreal archeology:

the "married vine"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

(edited by Francesco Deplanu)

In the hilly area where the Etruscan tomb of Sagraia is located, between Preggio and Umbertide, there are still some examples of  " Married vine" . Cultivation that for a very long time characterized the method of cultivation of the vine and determined the appearance of the landscape of our areas.

Video :  last married vines in Contini, San Bartolomeo dei Fossi (Umbertide).

The married vine has a history of about 3000 years; the use of the vine with the field maple as a living tutor was functional to a subsistence economy, the only one possible in the pre-Roman world, but which in our areas continued to substantially dominate and merged, starting from the sixteenth century, with the system from  indirect management of the land, later structured in sharecropping. The maple with the vine "married" to it was often arranged in series within the cultivated fields to constitute the "tree-lined", characterizing our rural world until after the Second World War. Agricultural system functional to an agriculture that was aimed more at self-consumption than at the market, for this reason the mixed use of fields, vines and arable land, and polyculture.

 

Since the post-war period, the use of the hubby vine has disappeared and with it that characteristic ordered landscape of our rural landscape has vanished.  

 

The vine ( Vitis Vinifera L. ) Is a liana shrub which, to better cultivate it, was grown on a live support, has a very long history of use, therefore, which was interrupted only in the century. XX, in the face of a more profitable vision of economic exploitation of the land. In fact in Umbertide and in northern Umbria there were not even the arrival of the specific diseases of the vineyards of the '900, such as "phylloxera", or those of their supports, as for the elms of northern Italy, which managed to "eradicate" this type of cultivation. Most likely, in fact, the distance between the plants in the typical promiscuous culture also favored their protection from diseases or pests.

Prima vite maritata in località Contini

Fig. 1:  first married life identified in  Contini locality, San Bartolomeo dei Fossi (Umbertide). Photo by Francesco Deplanu

To lead to their removal or replacement with vineyards, or systems of other structures, were the needs, already visible at the beginning of the 1900s, for an improvement in production and use of agricultural land increasingly aimed at the market. 

The end of sharecropping, then, led to the definitive loss of this type of cultivation and almost of the very memory of the very long presence of the "married vine".

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Fig. 2: second  located married life in  Contini locality, San Bartolomeo dei Fossi (Umbertide). Photo by Francesco Deplanu

There  "married life" in history

 

This type of cultivation concerned the territories formerly inhabited by the Etruscans or, further north, by the Celts. For this reason this method of cultivation, and culture, is also called "Etruscan vine" or "Etruscan-Celtic vine". It was found mainly in Liguria (where it seems to have started), Tuscany, Umbria, part of Campania, Emilia, Veneto; examples of similar cultivation, moreover, due to trying to give a solution to the same problem of grape ripeness and to the better resistance of the vine, are found in some parts of Europe.

 

Over time, the association of the vine with a tree-lined support was named differently.  In the Etruscan language it was called "àitason", "arbustum" in Latin, which was then distinguished in "arbustum gallicum" term to designate a connected series of married plants, later defined as "planted", and  “Arbustum italicum” to indicate the isolated plant with the vine, an agricultural use subsequently defined by us as “tree-lined”.  

 

The terms "alberata" and "Piantata" came into vogue, however, in the mid-seventeenth century. with Vincenzo Tanara in the work " Economy of the citizen in the villa " of 1644. 

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Fig. 3: third  located married life in  Contini locality, San Bartolomeo dei Fossi (Umbertide). Photo by Francesco Deplanu

Starting from the 1st cent. Finally, also thanks to the poets Catullus and Ovid, the metaphor of love began using the image of the vine and its support, which led to the current definition of "married vine".

 

Persistence over time

 

Certainly in the Etruscan era the possibilities of agricultural techniques did not recommend a different method of cultivation in colder and humid climates compared to those further south, areas where the Greeks, on the other hand, had brought the method of cultivation of the vine to the ground.

Emilio Sereni, in "History of the Italian agricultural landscape" (1961), was the first to explain, thanks also to the etymology, how it was the Etruscans who introduced the married vine into the Po valley and how the "roosters" learned its cultivation. Consistently with his hypothesis, the persistence of lives married to tall trees up to the Etruscan domination, that is to say in Campania, is also explained.

The persistence of cultivation, however, continued for a long time over the centuries in many areas. In fact, this type of production continued both in the Roman period, although other techniques for viticulture reached a considerable evolution, and in the long medieval period, as well as in the period of sharecropping production.  

 

Marrying the vine to a living support, however, at a certain point, after tens of centuries, became not convenient.  With a management of agriculture that was abandoning the sharecropping system, economically subsistence, to move to a market one, there was also the transition to methods of cultivation with fixed (or "dead") support, or to specialized crops, such as the vineyard, and no longer promiscuous.  

 

In addition to the production reason linked to the economic element, which led to the exit from subsistence agriculture, it should be pointed out that  the married vine in modern times certainly had some disadvantages: you had to work much more for pruning than what could be done on the row system; the foliage of the brace made the grapes ripen later;  finally, the inconvenience during harvesting was certainly greater, considering the height of the live brace. 

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Fig. 4: fourth  located married life in  Contini locality, San Bartolomeo dei Fossi (Umbertide). Photo by Francesco Deplanu

 

But why did this type of cultivation last so long?  

 

It should be remembered that although the crown of the stanchion tree slowed down ripening, at the same time it protected the fruits of the vine from bad weather. Its leaves served as fodder. On the branches of the maple, often pruned to "candlestick", to facilitate the subsequent harvest, it was also possible to preserve the material cut during pruning (see in this regard the photos of the "Museum of Wine" of the Lungarotti Foundation, cited in the sources ). In short, it was an example of a productive association. In addition to producing grapes, leaves were obtained to be used as fodder, firewood, material for tying vines and also for weaving baskets  and then… bottles and demijohns.

In fact, a survival crop, which characterized our areas for a very long time, preferred a mixed use of the land. Furthermore, it should be considered that once the “marriage” was built, for decades the aspect of caring for the vine and the guardian could be left in second order; this was precisely a characteristic favorable to the management of works in polyculture linked to sharecropping. 

With a suitable stake, such as our "field maple", this cultivation seemed the best, especially for hilly and low soil. The maple has a slow growth, and also has shallow roots and thus did not enter into competition with those of the vine. These elements allowed the success of this cultivation system. 

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Fig. 5: Maples in  Contini locality, San Bartolomeo dei Fossi (Umbertide). Photo by Francesco Deplanu

 

In 1885 in a text on "viticulture" Ottavi Ottavi, professor of agricultural sciences, analyzed from a technical point of view how the "married vine" was still cultivated, indicating, however, at the same time the reason for its future disappearance. 

Ottavi was careful to specify how he, compared to the agronomists of his time who pushed for an exclusively specialized production of the vine, had "granted" a space in his "technical-practical" manual to this type of cultivation. This is because he recognized the numerous advantages of this method for certain types of areas: “ unlike other authors of viticulture, we dedicate a chapter to the cultivation of vines married to trees.  We condemn the principle as they do; we admit, however, that in certain plains it can be tolerated, that in some cases the vines cannot be protected differently from freezing temperatures, and that there are some vines that do not tolerate the pruning of low-vine systems, [...] we finally admit that many for now they cannot or do not want to transform. Here are sufficient reasons why we have to deal with this theme, and to study ways of making the product of vines married to trees less intermittent, more abundant and more chosen. "

Thus we learn, among the various live supports used, of the advantages of our “field maple”: “ We therefore think that those trees whose root system is very little extended and which can hardly exploit the soil seem rather advisable. 

In this condition we find the wild cherry and  the maple which Gasparin called a living stake. The field maple (acer campestre) is much less developed in height than the others (acer pseudoplatanus and acer platanoides), has slow growth, is satisfied with arid soils and also comes up from the seed. With the exception of tuffaceous soils it thrives everywhere. The seedlings  they are suitable to be planted after 4 or 5 years. The maple has short and shallow roots and easily lends itself to being pruned into different shapes. ". 

For those who are interested, we report an appendix at the bottom of the text which is more extensive than Ottavi's reflections and explanations relating to his chapter XXIV: “ The married lives and the pergolas ”.

The " married vine " in Umbertide before his disappearance

 

As mentioned, the last great examples of "Etruscan vine", or "married" remain visible in the hill above the tomb of Sagraia, but if you look carefully at the images that have come down to us from the 1900s of our city, you can see the Umbertide countryside with the dominant "tree-lined" structure right up to the houses. 

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Image 4: Detail of an image from the Municipal Archive of Umbertide. Panorama of Umbertide in the 1930s from the former Convent. In the foreground there are plants arranged in an "alberata" manner, most likely field maples alternating with arable land.

This cultivation is also visible in the images of the  darkest period of our history, the bombing of 1944, where in the photos, which show the cloud of explosions in the center of the city, you can see both the trees and some festoons of connections between guardian trees as happened in the more structured "plantation", often present with trees but along the edges of the road so as not to hinder agricultural work in the fields.

umbertide 1944 da mario tosti 1.png

Image 5: Detail of an image taken immediately after the bombing of 25 April 1944, from “Mario Tosti:“ Our ordeal ”- Ed. Petruzzi - Città di Castello, 2005, p. 213.

As you can see in the following shot, while the cloud moves carried by the wind, the dominant type of cultivation was still the vine married to the maple, but times had already changed and you can also see the coexistence of vines in linked rows to fixed and non-live supports.

umbertide 1944 da mario tosti 2.png

Image 6: Detail of an image taken immediately after the bombing of 25 April 1944, from “Mario Tosti:“ Our ordeal ”- Ed. Petruzzi - Città di Castello, 2005, p. 213.

The photo was taken in the area of the current via Fratta at the intersection with via Martiri dei Lager. In the map of the Military Geographical Institute (IGM), made on the 1941 relief, Tablet of "Umbertide" (here linked to that of "Niccone", because the city was divided into two different "tablets", scale 1: 25,000) we have marked with an "X" the probable place of the shots, with the red arrow we have indicated the area of the San Giovanni district, which can still be seen in its entirety before the destruction due to the bombing; with the red circle, finally, we have highlighted the symbol of the cultivation of the vine, which when presented alternating with the symbol of the "circles" indicates the "promiscuous culture of the vine".

x rossa foto umbertide tavolette unite.p

Image 7: Extract of "Tablets" 1: 25.000 joined to present the city that was "cut" in two. 1) "Niccone", Sheet 122 I, NE 2) "Umbertide": Sheet 122 I, NE of the Italian Map (relief of 1941). The overlap was discarded, preferring to leave both representations in the margin area of the two "tablets".

Also from the book by Mario Tosti, "Our ordeal" p. 260, you can see some details by enlarging the photos like this one in Coldipozzo where you can see the maple and the tied vine  before the apparatus of the branches made to grow with the "candlestick" pruning. In the following photo shown in the book you can see the landscape of the trees in the background of a souvenir photo. In the same period of the photograph the promiscuous culture of the vine alternating with fields cultivated, is clearly visible  in the locality of "Col di Pozzo": it is in fact reported in Tablet 1: 25.000 Sheet 122 I, NE of the Map of Italy, and is visible in the excerpt shown below (see image n. 10) in the upper right corner, even if in the excerpt shown the toponym “col di Poz…” is partially cut.

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Image 8: Detail in the background of a photo taken in Coldipozzo in 1944, from “Mario Tosti:“ Our ordeal ”- Ed. Petruzzi - Città di Castello, 2005, p. 260.

The symbols of the mixed cultivation of the vine completely “embraced” the city, like all the plains of Umbria. Still in the 60s in the area north of Umbertide, under the current cemetery of the city, one could very well see an expanse of field maples, arranged in an "tree-lined" manner, characterizing the landscape. 

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Image 9: Photo from the Guardabassi archive. March 1960.

Even if it is not possible to see, due to the quality of the photo, the presence of the vine connected to the field maples, this can always be seen from the "tablets" of the IGM shown below, again relief 1941, which indicate the entire area below the cemetery ("Petrella above", "Petrella below", "Lame", "Fornace", "Molinello" and "CS Croce") cultivated with "mixed cultivation" of the vine.

Finally, even admitting the possibility that at that moment, 20 years after the IGM survey, the cultivation of vines was no longer carried out, the field maples, arranged in a row, continued to completely characterize the agricultural landscape.

 

In 1964 the “economic” end of sharecropping was sanctioned (here we can learn more) , the trees quickly disappeared even in the Umbertidese area, increasingly relegated to marginal, hilly and sloping areas. 

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Image 10: Extract of "Tablets" 1: 25.000 joined to present the city that was "cut" in two. 1) "Niccone", Sheet 122 I, NE 2) "Umbertide": Sheet 122 I, NE of the Italian Map (relief of 1941). The overlap was discarded, preferring to leave both representations in the margin area of the two "tablets".

Searching for news on the "married life" in the modern and contemporary age.

Following the spread of the cultivation of the vine married to live supports in pre-Roman cultures, during the Roman period a specialization of the cultivation of the greater vine was added, in accordance with the mass use of the use of the drink. In the period following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the cultivation of the vine certainly retreated in quantity of cultivated land but remained very present, because it was the cornerstone of the Christian religious ritual. In the centuries following the fourteenth-century plague, with the increase of the population and the resumption of trade, a slow recovery of the production of the vine began which, above all for the mixed cultivation, "married" with the indirect management of the land, what became our "sharecropping".

We know for the long period up to the modern age of its existence from archaeological remains of the arboreal type (seeds etc….) And above all from the literary and iconographic sources of Italian art that the “married vine” cultivation was recurrent in our peninsula. For example, already in the modern age, the vine is clearly visible in Jacopo Clementi's "Drunk Moses" made in the early 1600s. Here we can see the presence of the vine "clinging" to the living tutor in the background of the central theme. iconographic representations that can serve as historical sources, but if the information is sought more accurately, both for the quantity and for the place of use of this type of cultivation, various problems arise.

 

Drunkness_of_Noah_by_Jacopo_Chimenti.jpg

Image 11: “Drunk Moses" by Jacopo Clementi. Image from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Drunkness_of_Noah_by_Jacopo_Chimenti.jpg

In fact, how extensive was the cultivation of vines in promiscuous form in our areas?  

 

As for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the written, archival sources known for our territory seem truly non-existent.

Perhaps the problem, however, is only to return to the archives in search of specific indications, or to re-read the sources available for the Umbertide area in search of terms relating to the cultivation of the vine, paying attention to the 16th and 17th centuries, for example, rather than looking for the term "vinea", which indicates a vineyard, to those of "pergulae" or "pergola". These last terms certainly indicate the arable alternating with the cultivation of the vine. In fact, reading Anna Boldrini's thesis " Rural architecture in the Upper Tiber Valley: Umbertide XVI century " of 1991, it is found in an inventory of 1572 of the "Book where all the stable assets of the Abbey of San Salvatore are described and of the churches close to them "(note. 13, page 51) the reference to the mixed cultivation (" pergola ") of the vine appears in reference to two dovecote towers of particular shape, round, one of which in the locality of Colle San Savino, characterized as “a piece of land… working pergola with fruit trees serque and elms with a round diver… voc. the diving camp ". We also underline that the "vulgata" on the typology of dovecote towers in Umbria, relegated only the round-shaped dovecote towers to the Spoleto area. This reinforces our belief that studies on our territory in this vast area of the rural world are insufficient.  

At the end of the eighteenth century the terms to search for in search of the "married vine" are different. They can be found in what are the documents of the agricultural "companies" of the time, often of noble possessions, such as the "country brogliacci".  

Here it is " arativo pergola ", for example, which indicates a land with mixed cultivation of the vine alternating with arable land, which must be sought.

Examples of how it is possible to find similar information on the culture of the vine can be found "looking" along the territory of one of the tributaries of the Tiber, on the left this time, just above Umbertide, or in the narrow valleys of the Carpina catchment area (Carpina and Carpinella). Precisely in the documents of the County of the Della Porta, a County that extended from the foot of Montone to Pietralunga. Here in the " Brogliardo di Campagna della Contea delle Carpine ", of 1782, it is often found, despite the increasing average altitude and the " gengato " soil ("genga" kept washed away from the ground where the underlying "marl and sandstone" emerge) the wording of the “ arativo pergola ” is not favorable to agriculture. Term that we can identify with the presence of married vine with live support. Note in the image the land (n.14 and following) near the famous "Tre ponti", under Montone, precisely in the Molinaccio area and nearby owned by Mr. Natal Migliorati: " arativo pergola " ... "a rative with pergolas "," Plowed part pergola ".

 

 

immagine Brogliardo delle carpini 1882 p

Image 13: Details from “.SG, Fondo Della Porta, Title II, G 27/15. "Il Brogliardo di Campagna della Contea delle Carpine", 1782, in an unpublished degree thesis by F. Deplanu, "Evolution of a high hilly landscape of northern Umbria: the importance of the Della Porta company in the territory of the Carpini County since '700 to date ”, ay 2002/2003.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the sources began to become more structured and fortunately for us, too, more usable. In the Gregorian Cadastre of Fratta, present online, this time you can search for the term " arable land ", which differs from " arable land ", but also from the real vineyard which, most likely, is indicated with " vineyard " or " bushy vineyard "... with the addition of a characteristic of the cultivated variety:" sweet ". The Land Registry, built between 1815 and 1835, was equipped with a " Brogliardo " with indications of the owner, the place, the main characteristic and the extent and value of the land or property.

 

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Image 14: “Brogliardo di Fratta” of the “Gregorian Cadastre”: Fratta, 1915-35. Imago project: 

http://www.cflr.beniculturali.it/Gregoriano/mappe.php?fbclid=IwAR3SPsbhE0yDSOzPk5MrT3LVf77oKvYwwqFhUhZzDbdA4DHi4DWrz-9JHdA

Here, for example, in parcels no. 700 and 701, 704, 705, 706, 708, 709, almost all owned by Domenico Bruni in “Pian di Bottine”, we have the news and, thanks to the Cadastre map, the "geometric-particle" representation of the real crops. The largest parcels were cultivated with "mixed cultivation", that is, with " arable land " and those closest to the banks of the Tiber, more productive but small and narrow, cultivated in a more specialized way with " sweet bushy vineyard ".

 

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Image 15: excerpt from the “Gregorian Cadastre”: Fratta, 1915-35. Imago project:

  http://www.cflr.beniculturali.it/Gregoriano/mappe.php?fbclid=IwAR3SPsbhE0yDSOzPk5MrT3LVf77oKvYwwqFhUhZzDbdA4DHi4DWrz-9JHdA

Certainly the cultivation of "married vine" in the rest of our Umbria was already considerable. In various and precise studies of the agricultural world in the nearby Marche, a term often recurs to indicate a '"alberata" with the trees arranged in a checkerboard pattern in the field between the arable areas, or " alberata Folignata " to attest to the typical existence of this type of use of agricultural land in southern Umbria.  

 

We hope that this initial attempt at reconstruction that we have presented,  may be useful to focus attention on the need for more in-depth research for all aspects of arboreal archeology or history of the productive structures of our territory. Aspects that have profoundly characterized ways of life and still the landscape that surrounds us. For this reason we add below, after the "Sources", a "chosen study" from the text by Ottavi Ottavio, "THEORETICAL-PRACTICAL VITICULTURE",  CASALE, TIPOGRAFIA DI CARLO CASSONE, 1885 (pp. 750-760) on the specific mixed cultivation of the vine with that “living pole” which was the field maple, also typical of the Umbertidese area.

Sources:  

 

Texts:  

 

- Carlo Vernelli, " The cultivation of vines in a sharecropping area" , in the magazine “Proposte e Ricerche”, nr. 60, 2008, pp. 153-174.

 

- Unpublished degree thesis " Evolution of a high hilly landscape of northern Umbria: the importance of the Della Porta company in the territory of the Carpini County from the 1700s to today ",  by Francesco Deplanu, Academic Year 2002/2003, University of Perugia.  

 

- Unpublished degree thesis " Rural architecture in the upper Tiber Valley: Umbertide in the XVI century " by Anna Maria Boldrini, Academic year 1990-91, University of Perugia.  

 

- Ottavi Ottavio, " THEORETICAL-PRACTICAL VITICULTURE ",  CASALE, TYPOGRAPHY BY CARLO CASSONE, 1885.

 

 

 

Cadastre and Brogliardi:  

 

- Gregorian Cadastre: "Fratta", in "Perugia" visible online: http://www.cflr.beniculturali.it/Gregoriano/mappe.php?fbclid=IwAR3SPsbhE0yDSOzPk5MrT3LVf77oKvYwwqFhUhZzDbdA4DHi4DWrz-9

 

- "Fratta", in "Perugia" visible online: http://www.cflr.beniculturali.it/Gregoriano/mappe.php?fbclid=IwAR3SPsbhE0yDSOzPk5MrT3LVf77oKvYwwqFhUhZzDbdA4DHi4DWrz-9JHdA

 

 

- “ The Country Brogliardo of the County of the Carpine ”, 1782, ASG, Fondo Della Porta, Title II, G 27/15.

 

 

 

Web Resources:

 

- Maria Antonietta Aceto, “The representation of the married vine. Some recent identification ", in" Terra di Lavoro magazine ", year XI, n ° 1, April 2016 (also visible in: https://www.ascaserta.beniculturali.it/rivista-di-terra-di-lavoro/numeri -published / year-xi / year-xi-n1-April-2016 )

 

- https://www.beni-culturali.eu/opere_d_arte/scheda/-ebbrezza-di-noe-chimenti-jacopo-detto-empoli-1551-1640-09-00021770/400252

 

- http://www.biologiavegetale.unina.it/delpinoa_files/48_71-92.pdf

 

- http://www.biologiavegetale.unina.it/delpinoa_files/44_53-63.pdf

 

- https://www.guadoalmelo.it/il-vino-e-gli-etruschi-ii-la-vite-marita-tremila-e-piu-anni-di-viticoltura-ed-arte/

 

- http://www.rmoa.unina.it/2697/1/Gambari.pdf

 

- https://ilvinoracconta.net/2017/01/08/la-vitivinicoltura-umbra-una-storia-appena-iniziata/

 

 

 

Images : - Details of images taken by Mario Tosti: “ Our ordeal ” - Ed. Petruzzi - Città di Castello, 2005 (pp. 213 and 260).

 

- "Tablet" 1: 25.000 IGM, relief 1941, "Niccone", Sheet 122 I, NE of the Italian Charter

 

- "Tavoletta" 1: 25.000, IGM, relief 1941, "Umbertide": Sheet 122 I, NE of the Charter of Italy

 

 

- Historical photo images of Umbertide from a former convent:  Historical Photographic Archive of the Municipality of Umbertide

 

- Image "Drunk Moses":  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Drunkness_of_Noah_by_Jacopo_Chimenti.jpg

 

 

 

- Video, photos not indicated otherwise and editing : Francesco Deplanu.  

 

 

 

Recommended insights of museum pages of the "rural" world in Umbria :

 

- https://archeologiaarborea.com/

 

- https://www.muvit.it/viticoltura/

 

DEEPENING

 

In-depth study taken from Ottavi Ottavio, " THEORETICAL-PRACTICAL VITICULTURE ",  CASALE, TYPOGRAPHY BY CARLO CASSONE, 1885 (pp. 750-760).

 

[…] “ VINES MARITED TO TREES AND PERGOLATES  

 

There are therefore many inflexible supporters of specialization, who at any cost would like to separate the vine from every crop: on the contrary, there are others, which Marconi (2) calls opportunists, who 

they fight to the bitter end so that the union or consociation is maintained and extended. Among these we, although we feel that our sympathies are for specialists, we want to be conciliatory. For this purpose, unlike other authors of viticulture, we dedicate a chapter to the cultivation of the vine married to trees. 

We condemn the principle as they do; we admit, however, that in certain plains it can be tolerated, that in some cases the vines cannot be protected differently from freezing temperatures, and that there are some vines that do not tolerate the pruning of low-vine systems, as we have already warned on page. 616; finally, we admit that for now many cannot or do not want to transform. Here are sufficient reasons why we have to deal with this theme, and to study ways of making the product of vines married to trees less intermittent, more abundant and more chosen.  

 

 

CHAPTER XXIV  

 

The vines married to trees and pergolas,  

 

§ 1. Choice of tree. - The trees that are used as living support for the vines are maple, walnut, cherry, ash, mulberry, poplar, olive and many others, fruit-bearing or not. Among these the least convenient are: walnut, because it casts too much shade, and in fact in the Veneto it is gradually being abandoned, whereas before it was very common; the elm which in compact, clayey lands replaces the poplar: but it has a root system that is too developed; ash and oak for the same reason. The olive tree has a wide branching, numerous and persistent leaves, and then requires care and nourishment, so while it would damage the vine it would suffer a lot on its part. In marshy soils some marry the vine to the poplar, the willow, the 

which plants can withstand moist soil; however, the vine cannot do this, and it soon saddens you. Fruit trees do not seem convenient to us, although recommended by the great Ridolfi 

in his Oral Lectures, because "they will produce little, he said, but it will be something, while the infertile supports do nothing but exhaust the earth uselessly. »Except that, with the exception of respect for the great master, we observe that our common fruit trees, pear, apple, plum and almond trees exhaust the soil too much, and being too leafy they would need strong and dangerous pruning.  

 

pp. 750-752 [...]

 

Therefore, those trees whose root system is very little extended and which can hardly exploit the soil seem to us to be quite advisable. In this condition we find the wild cherry and  the maple that was 

called by Gasparin a living stake. The field maple (acer campestre) is much less developed in height than the others (acer pseudoplatanus and acer platanoides), has slow growth, is satisfied with arid soils and also comes up from the seed. With the exception of tuffaceous soils it thrives everywhere. The seedlings are suitable to be planted after 4 or 5 years. The maple has short and shallow roots and easily lends itself to being pruned into different shapes.  

 

The field maple receives different names, according to the provinces in which it is grown as a live support for the vines: loppo, chioppo, fìstucchio, testucchio, stucchio and even poplar. The poplar of the Tuscan peasants is therefore not the common Populus, on the contrary it is known that in various parts of Tuscany the peasants usually give the name of poplar or chioppo to any living support of the vines.  

 

 

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pp. 755 [...]

 

§ 4. Care in the early years. - We replace the trees and vines that the drought had already caused to succumb, we put some poles or branches around the vines themselves so that the new shoots can climb. If the planting was done with cuttings they, as soon as planted, are cut to 2 buds above the ground to have beautiful 

jets, and you must immediately begin to hoe the earth around them at least 2 times during the state. The trees are cleaned from the suckers that sprout on the trunk. This has been done since the 1st year. On the third the vines are pruned to two buds and the inter-row is spade and hoe, thus making the war against weeds. This inter-row, which in the Veneto region is called bina, wants to be absolutely clear so as not to bring a serious blow to the vitality of the vine from the early years. Leaving clear those two or three meters that form the inter-row you can have al 

fourth year the vines are already so robust that they can be propagated and pruned with a bud at least above ground, at a distance of half a meter from the tree.  

 

And so to the fifth one can come to possess branches of a decent length which are secured to the trunk of the tree (figure 280).  

 

In the meantime, the tree also needs care, as would be pruning, the peeling of the thin twigs, shortening even the gluttons, it is finally necessary to try to give all the branches the shape of a regular vase. The shape of a vase or glass, or basket as it is called in Tuscany, very open in the middle, is reached towards the sixth or seventh year. The trees must be cleaned annually from small useless jets, and since this rigorous cleaning causes the branches to acquire a lumpy shape, this is remedied "by leaving at the apex of each branch a couple of shoots, which attracting the activity of life towards them of the plant, in a certain way avoid the release of a greater number of buds on the branches, and maintain in milder proportions those lumpy forms on the branches themselves (1). "  

 

The vines are always pruned to two or three buds until they show that they have acquired a certain vigor, and give shoots at least one meter long. Don't be too quick to cut off all the side suckers that sprout on the vine over the course of the year. It is necessary that the juice of the vine does not go all to lengthen the shaft, but also reinforces it so that these suckers either respect each other or only sprout at four or five leaves.  

 

Once the vine has reached the height of the tree, it is arranged and arranged in the 1 'Emilia, 1' Umbria, the Terra di lavoro and the others that adopt this  system of educating the vines. "

 

Pp. 760 [...]

 

§ 7. Economy in the supports. - We must now mention 

to some economies that could be made in the various systems of educating the tall vine. It is well known that many also have willow, acacia and poplar poles as a subsidiary to living trees, to which the braids or garlands of the fruiting shoots are placed. In some systems (Mantovano, Bolognese) the rational  distribution of these braids requires five, six often more than ten poles for each tree. Couldn't we now replace the very expensive poles with iron wire? Mr. YOU. freedmen in the Giornale d'Agricoltura, Industria e Commercio, declares from his own experience and following easy economic calculations that he is very much in favor of this modification. In addition to being cheaper, this gives rise to a perfect distribution of shoots, being able to tie along the wire all the isolated shoots and not wrapped in braids as is done in the case of the pole production. Finally, a more abundant vegetation would be obtained, because it is freer, more airy, more exposed to light and heat.  

 

Another modification is proposed by Prof. Viglietto, who hardly admits the vine married to trees and even in the conditions in which it is necessary to keep the vine very high he would like the number of living trees to be as small as possible. «A luxuriant fruit-bearing tree - he says - every 8 or 10 meters, and in between 

low-cost poles, linked by three or more iron wires longitudinally to the row, can generally replace the exorbitant number of living people with whom we afforest our vineyards. »And he concludes:« We therefore understand: exclusive vineyard and dry farming, or at least preponderance of this means of support. "  

 

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Sources:

 

Images from the original work (p. 755 and 757):

  https://archive.org/details/viticolturateori00unse/page/n3/mode/2up  

 

Full text, available online from the following address

https://archive.org/stream/viticolturateori00unse/viticolturateori00unse_djvu.txt

Aggiornamento agosto 2022

La vite maritata a Sagraia: nuove indicazioni di presenza nel tempo

Come avviene nella ricerca storica, un approfondimento di diverso tipo può mettere in luce indicazioni per  altri argomenti. E' il caso della presenza nel tempo della vite maritata a sostegno vivo nella zona della tomba di Sagraia. Sistemando il materiale edito per l'articolo "Amerigo Contini: l’aviazione nelle guerre mondiali e la scoperta della Tomba di Sagraia", ci si è presentata una fonte iconografica significativa realizzata dallo stesso scopritore della tomba, un anno dopo, ovvero nel 1920, che ci indica la presenza della vite in loco (dove persiste tutt'ora anche se con esemplari abbandonati come si può vedere nel video iniziale): lo schizzo estratto da “Atti delle Reale Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Anno 1922, Serie V, Notizie degli scavi di antichità, Vol XIX, Roma, 1922. ". L'allora aviatore ed architetto (poi generale) Amerigo Contini disegna sopra la tomba una parte di terreno rappresentata con la coltura promiscua della vite, precisamente si vede bene l'inizio di quattro "filari" di vite maritata a supporto vivo.

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Immagine estratta da “Atti delle Reale Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Anno 1922, Serie V, Notizie degli scavi di antichità, Vol XIX, Roma, 1922. Pagina 110-116/532.

particolare vite maritata schizzo amerigo contini sagraia.jpg

La precisione e la cura di Amerigo Contini, proprietario dei terreni, mette in evidenza la presenza di questo tipo di coltivazione

Fonti: 

  • “Atti delle Reale Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. Anno 1922, Serie V, Notizie degli scavi di antichità, Vol XIX, Roma, 1922. Pagina 110-116/532