In central Italy there is fossil evidence of grapevines dating back two million years, but the first traces of agricultural activities oriented to
grape cultivation itself date back to the end of the Bronze Age. In Abruzzo, the first evidence of wine production stretches back in pre-Roman times, with funerary pottery unearthed in the monumental cemeteries around L’Aquila. There are then the numerous Roman remains which attest to
the spread – and the popularity – of wine, cited in the works of historians and in the verses of poets as well. “Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion”, wrote Ovid, the famous elegiac poet from Sulmona in Abruzzo. Wine from this region is praised in On Agriculture by Marcus Porcius Cato, and even Hannibal, lingering in the Vibrata Valley (Teramo), was seduced by the local wine according to the Greek historian Polybius.
In the contrade (i.e. districts) of Tollo, a town in the province of Chieti, dolia (terracotta containers used for transporting wine) have been found, both intact and in fragments, now preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Chieti. These wine stores were located at the residence (rural villa), but also buried among the vines in order to retain the characteristics of the location during the transformation of must into wine. Even today it isn’t unusual to find dolia fragments in the hills around Tollo during the earthworks for planting new vineyards.