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Piedmont: Gavi Cortese

Between the mountains and the sea

Italia Slow Tour in Piedmont, on the road to Gavi, on the Francigena Way. There’s everything here, it is a strategic location between Milan, Turin and Genoa.

There is a particular wind coming from the Tyrrhenian Sea and Liguria, that creates a micro climate just right for the fermentation and the wine. A cortese wine that here is only a Gavi, an indigenous and really ancient vine.

Discover the legends of this land and go for a stroll…


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Video full text: Gavi Cortese, between the mountains and the sea

Italia Slow Tour, I’m in Piedmont.
I took the A7 motorway and came off at the exit for Serravalle Scrivia.
I’m here at this roundabout… But where am I?
That way leads to Italy’s oldest outlet and the golf club.
That way to the archaeological site of Libarna
But I was looking for Gavi! A roundabout with a vineyard in it. Perfect!
Another 3km and I’m there.

I’m not a vandal, they used to do the same in medieval times too
We’re in Gavi and this is the Francigena Way.
And when the pilgrims arrived they had to recreate this bas-relief.
It was a Templar cross, a symbol that reminded them of Palestine as they made their way towards Santiago de Compostela.
Luigi tells us of a legend associated with the name of Gavi.
It’s the story of Gavia, a French princess, who was fleeing because her father was forcing her to marry a man she didn’t love.
Gavia sought refuge in these valleys in the Apennines and saw the fortress above here.
The fortress was an imposting castle built in the 10th century.
First used as the residence for medieval lords it then became a defence structure for the Republic of Genoa.
Today, as it did then, the stronghold in Gavi still dominates the area and is a destination both for tourists and history buffs.
Princess Gavia took refuge in the fort and began visiting the village.
Suddenly her father’s soldiers arrived to take her back to France.
But Amalasuntha, the only daughter of King Theoderic, fearful of her father said to her:
“You are now the princess of this place”
The villagers, seeing what was happening, named the village after the princess.
Gavi, in honour of Gavia.
And because she was was so very gracious (‘cortese’ in Italian) they named the indigenous vine cortese
There’s everything here, its strategic location, between Milan, Turin and Genoa.
Then there’s a particular wind that comes from the Tyrrhenian Sea and Liguria.
It creates a micro climate that is just right for the fermentation and the wine.
A cortese wine that here is only a Gavi, an indigenous and really ancient vine.
It’s so old in fact that the history of these lands and these products has become a value, a wealth, a symbol.
The symbol of the consortium that protects the wine of Gavi.
The is the new label for the DOCG (registered and certified designation of origin) Gavi wine. What does this depict?
Here’s Ambrosia, who was loved by the King of Spain and who Bacchus transformed into nectar to save her.
It’s not such a hair-brained idea, in here there really is the territory!
This is a mosaic of the site of Libarna,
an ancient city, 3km from Gavi, that dates back to the 1st century BC, Etruscan, Ligurian and then Roman.
The history, the territory, the wine: Gavi is all of this.
The geography, the mythology, it all comes together.
I am here as a pilgrim, that is to say as a follower of Pellegrino Artusi.
In other words, I travel around to eat!
So what is there to eat in Gavi?

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