Santerno Valley is a charming area of Italy situated between the Tuscan and Romagnol Hills, characterized by a rare, if not unique, geological formation that makes it historically the land of choice for a flourishing agricultural tradition. To this land the Santerno brand wants to pay homage, elevating and promoting its extraordinary singularity.
The first and most notable distinctive feature of this territory is the ability to identify two distinct belts of altitude and climate: the mountainous area, characterized by a cooler and progressively less humid climate, and the hilly area, in which, thanks to the so-called phenomenon of thermal inversion, you can enjoy even milder climatic conditions than in the plains below.
But the Santerno Valley hides a second, and perhaps more important secret: a real, true treasure nestled in the heart of the earth from which radiates all the magic of the perfumes and flavours of the fruits of this land.
Almost 25 km long with an average width of 1½ km, the Vena di Gesso Romagnola (Gypsum Vein of Romagna) is certainly the most distinctive geological feature of the valley, so much so that it aroused the interest of scholars as far back as the 16th century. It is the only geological formation in Europe that is composed entirely of gypsum, and whose formation dates back to a good 6 million years ago, during the era known as the Messinian Age. During this period there was a cyclic lowering of the level of the Mediterranean Sea, which was followed by a phenomenon of hypersalinity and the tendency to dry out, so as to form brackish pools in which are concentrated large quantities of salts, mainly gypsum and chlorides. This phenomenon occurred more than 15 times, from which derive the same number of strata of gypsum that make up the Vena - separated from each other by thin layers of clay and still easily recognizable. The peculiarity of the Vena, however, does not end with its mineral composition.
Walking along the outcrops of gypsum, we encounter both large and small closed depressions: they are the Blind Valleys (or sinkholes) which represent the most characteristic elements of the karstic landscape of the Vena del Gesso.
Thanks to their presence, the surface water is drained and conveyed deep down, where it feeds numerous underground streams that flow along tunnels, shafts and other underground environments before it re-emerges as a karst valley spring. This then is an outline of an important subterranean aquatic complex. Its boundaries have not yet been defined with certainty but it is presumed to extend for several kilometres.
But that’s not all. Among the geological features of the Valle del Santerno the so-called "terreni lacunosi" (ie subject to landslides) or "scaly clay" should certainly be remembered. These are the oldest of the gypsum-sulphurous formations of the Vena, formed from what remains, after a long journey in space and time, of the ancient ocean bed that stretched out over the area where Liguria and Piemonte are now situated. Some of these large clay tongues can be spotted interspersed within the marl-sandstone formation, the oldest native geological formation that emerges in the Valley.
Following the Mediterranean ecological crisis caused by the detachment of the entire sea and from which the Vena del Gesso emerged, in later geologic times, a second phase of clay sedimentation followed. It is the time of the formation of the so-called Blue Clay (tufo) that covers over a third of the current surface of the Italian Peninsular and the subsoil of the whole Po Valley Plain.
Thanks to this extraordinary geological history, the lands of the Santerno Valley have always offered not only an excellent general fertility, but also a wonderful variety of combinations of its different characteristics. Altitude, exposure, formation and irrigation of the soil vary in different degrees within a very short distance, composing innumerable chords that, although in harmony, stand out for their individuality.
On the extraordinary manuscript offered by this land, agriculture has developed over the centuries as a sensational symphony that reaches its most brilliant trebles in the specific sector of viniculture.
Undisputed star of the rural tradition of the Santerno Valley, wine is in fact the product that perhaps best represents the complex nature of this land, making it fully available to the senses of those who contemplate it.
In a perfect balance between tradition and the future, the Santerno Valley offers an extraordinary varietal choice, embellished by the co-presence of native vines - including the king Sangiovese and the queen Albana - and international grapes - such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay – which find here their most brilliant declination in a traditional key.
And this misguided people of Romagna,Led against former friends in bloody fray,Bedew they with their blood the very groundwhere Po, Santerno and Zenniolo stay(Ariosto, canto III, Orlando Furioso, LIII)
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