Historical notes

Morellino has a long history

Etruscans and Romans

Numerous archeological finds dating back to the Etruscan period brought to light in the areas of the Scansano and Albegna valleys: Earthenware jars containing Vitis Vinifera seeds dating back to the fifth century BC. Bronze statuettes of offerers holding sickles, the standard tools of vintners until almost the present day, are just some of the artifacts found in the rural area of the Usi, which includes the towns of Scansano and Semproniano, and at the site of Ghiaccioforte, an area between Scansano and Saturnia. It is precisely with the conquest of the fortress of Ghiaccioforte, circa 280 BC, that the Romans took possession of the territories of Scansano and furthered its agricultural development through the creation of numerous colonies. Here, wine destined for the western provinces of the empire was produced, as evidenced by the discovery of the wreckage of a ship in the sea off the coast of Marseille. In fact, the wreck contained a large number of wine amphorae marked with the letters SES, the initials of the powerful Roman Sestii family, traders and landowners in the area of Cosa, present-day Ansedonia.

The Middle-Ages

With the decline of the Roman Empire, Scansano, as well as the rest of the Maremma region, inevitably experienced a period of crisis and deterioration due to the abandonment by the population, which led to the hydrogeological instability and swamping of the coastal areas. Although wine production survived around the inhabited centers of earlier Etruscan settlements, the extensive production of the Roman settlements failed. Viticulture remained a residual practice of smallholders and farmers who kept vineyards, often on terraced ground, for wine production destined for family consumption and the local market. In this regard, Scansano, thanks to the long-standing practice of summer migration, or “estatatura”, enjoyed a clear market advantage.

XIX Century

With the decline of the Roman Empire, Scansano, as well as the rest of the Maremma region, inevitably experienced a period of crisis and deterioration due to the abandonment by the population, which led to the hydrogeological instability and swamping of the coastal areas. Although wine production survived around the inhabited centers of earlier Etruscan settlements, the extensive production of the Roman settlements failed. Viticulture remained a residual practice of smallholders and farmers who kept vineyards, often on terraced ground, for wine production destined for family consumption and the local market. In this regard, Scansano, thanks to the long-standing practice of summer migration, or “estatatura”, enjoyed a clear market advantage.According to tradition, the Morellino wine gets its name from the bay horses called “morelli”, used to pull the carriages of the public officials and their families moving to Scansano for the summer, as it recalls the horses’ strength and the intense colour of their coats. During this period Scansano became the summer capital of the Maremma region, and was transformed into a lively and prosperous town where viticulture was compounded by the town’s mining and trading activities.

Etruscans and Romans

Numerous archeological finds dating back to the Etruscan period brought to light in the areas of the Scansano and Albegna valleys: Earthenware jars containing Vitis Vinifera seeds dating back to the fifth century BC. Bronze statuettes of offerers holding sickles, the standard tools of vintners until almost the present day, are just some of the artifacts found in the rural area of the Usi, which includes the towns of Scansano and Semproniano, and at the site of Ghiaccioforte, an area between Scansano and Saturnia. It is precisely with the conquest of the fortress of Ghiaccioforte, circa 280 BC, that the Romans took possession of the territories of Scansano and furthered its agricultural development through the creation of numerous colonies. Here, wine destined for the western provinces of the empire was produced, as evidenced by the discovery of the wreckage of a ship in the sea off the coast of Marseille. In fact, the wreck contained a large number of wine amphorae marked with the letters SES, the initials of the powerful Roman Sestii family, traders and landowners in the area of Cosa, present-day Ansedonia.

The Middle-Ages

With the decline of the Roman Empire, Scansano, as well as the rest of the Maremma region, inevitably experienced a period of crisis and deterioration due to the abandonment by the population, which led to the hydrogeological instability and swamping of the coastal areas. Although wine production survived around the inhabited centers of earlier Etruscan settlements, the extensive production of the Roman settlements failed. Viticulture remained a residual practice of smallholders and farmers who kept vineyards, often on terraced ground, for wine production destined for family consumption and the local market. In this regard, Scansano, thanks to the long-standing practice of summer migration, or “estatatura”, enjoyed a clear market advantage.

XIX Century

With the decline of the Roman Empire, Scansano, as well as the rest of the Maremma region, inevitably experienced a period of crisis and deterioration due to the abandonment by the population, which led to the hydrogeological instability and swamping of the coastal areas. Although wine production survived around the inhabited centers of earlier Etruscan settlements, the extensive production of the Roman settlements failed. Viticulture remained a residual practice of smallholders and farmers who kept vineyards, often on terraced ground, for wine production destined for family consumption and the local market. In this regard, Scansano, thanks to the long-standing practice of summer migration, or “estatatura”, enjoyed a clear market advantage.According to tradition, the Morellino wine gets its name from the bay horses called “morelli”, used to pull the carriages of the public officials and their families moving to Scansano for the summer, as it recalls the horses’ strength and the intense colour of their coats. During this period Scansano became the summer capital of the Maremma region, and was transformed into a lively and prosperous town where viticulture was compounded by the town’s mining and trading activities.

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