Oltrepò Pavese area is also known as “Old Piedmont”: a very varying territory, where you can find both hills and mountains, characterizes Oltrepò Pavese.
It is located between Emilia and Piedmont regions, being between Alessandria and Piacenza Province.
The river Po divides this area from the other part of the Pavia Province.
Oltrepò Pavese extends for 1110 square kilometers, two thirds of which are divided between hills and mountains, with a nice variety of landscapes.
There are sixty-eight municipalities in Oltrepò Pavese, charachterized by a rich cultural, historical and artistic heritage (source: “Viaggio in Oltrepò Pavese”, A. Disperati, 2013).
The agricultural activities are very important in this area. Furthermore, there are some very important agro-food products, like, first of all, wines.
During the last twenty years, in this area, a particular way to produce food and wine, based on the quality philosophy. Moreover, agriculture is really integrated with the environmental system. Especially in viticulture sector, the historical and traditional elements join the continuous process of innovation and development of production techniques. Hence, wine has a strong cultural value related to the territory.
(source: “Storia di un territorio rurale”, Luciano Maffi, 2010).
From the viticulture point of view, Oltrepò Pavese is particularly important in the Italian context for the features of its productions. The hills of this territory are the third production area of certified wines in Italy (after Chianti and Asti areas), in terms of hectares with vineyards, registered to the official Register, and of hectoliters produced (source: Consorzio Tutela Vini Oltrepò). Besides, Oltrepò Pavese is the first viticulture area in Lombardy (with the 63% of area with vineyards, it produces the 55% of wine of the whole region). The most cultivated vine variety are Croatina (4.000 hectares), Barbera (3.000), Pinot Noir (about 3.000), Riesling (1.500), Moscato (500).
All these vine varieties cover 84% of the whole cultivated area in Oltrepò. Here the production of Pinot Noir represents about 75% of the entire national production of this vine variety, as well as Croatina represents about 70% of the whole national production. Pavia Province, with about 3.000 hectares of Pinot Noir is the first area, in terms of extension, in Italy and one of the most important areas in the world for the production of Spumante, with 12 millions bottles per year (1.5 million of which is Spumante Classic Method).
In the Italian context, Riesling (Italic and Rhenish) has the same first place, since it has found the ideal land in a micro-zone made up by valleys in the central part of Oltrepò Pavese.
San Damiano al Colle
San Damiano al Colle is the classic old village, which has preserved all the appeal of the agricultural tradition. It is located on a hilly slight slope and it is characterized by narrow streets and houses, which communicate history and culture of the Heart (source: “Guidando con Gusto”, SAGEP, 2016). Here it is possible to see the ruins of the ancient Castle, those ones of the Rocchetta, also defined as Corte dei Gatti or Torrone (which means “big tower”), for the presence of huge tower. Today it is visible in the center of the village, near the main Church. The latter is very beautiful and it is dedicated to Saints Cosma and Damiano: a wonderful example of XVIII century art.