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Italy: Lombardy

First inhabited by Gallic tribes, what is today Lombardy was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C. and become part of the Cisalpine Gaul, which in Latin means "Gaul on this side of the Alps". As with much of modern Italy, the region was theater to many invasions and occupations by Nordic and Eastern tribes generically referred to as barbarians.

Today, Lombardy is considered the industrial and commercial capital of Italy and the gateway to Europe. However, valuing the region's unique past, committed local communities of independent craftsmen and women have kept alive traditional artisan skills and trades that might have otherwise disappeared in today’s mass marketed machine made world.

The beginning of wine production in Lombardy is still unknown. However, the discovery of a fossil vine shoot from the pre-Roman period seems to confirm what the ancient writers Pliny and Virgil wrote about wine growing along the Pianura Padana. Certainly the start of winemaking in this area is attributed to the Romans.

Although most agricultural areas in Lombardy focus on food production rather than grape growing, and its grapes and wines have a difficult time when compared to the surrounding regions of Piedmont, Veneto, and Trentino, Lombardy is a respectable wine producing area. Several DOC zones produce excellent wines which may be hard to find, but will provide a treat to those adventurers who can locate them! Only recently have these wines acquired a well-deserved recognition that goes beyond the national borders.

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