A “vineyard-garden” not only capable of providing a sophisticated product – Ramandolo, a wine that everyone recognises, has a finesse that results in it being equally or similarly acknowledged like the most famous sweet wines on the international market – but also an opportunity to combine wine production with other activities related to the wine sector. For example, in the municipality of Nimis, the number of “agriturismi” (farmhouse hospitality facilities) saw an increase that was impossible to predict until a few years ago.
What benefits are there for those who stay in this corner of the Colli Orientali of Friuli and in the “Vine and Wine Park”? First of all, we must not forget that Nimis is harmoniously nestled in a region that Ippolito Nievo rightly called the “small compendium of the Universe”, as if to say that this land offers everything: in an area covering a few dozen kilometres we can find the sea, the mountains, the plain and the hills. This environment was also known to the great Italian writer who lived in the castle in Colloredo di Monte Albano. For his popular novel, he was inspired by the rural village of Torlano di Sopra, the setting for the adventures of his Conte Pecoraio. And tourists who come to Nimis cannot help but see this beautiful view overlooking the “clear, fresh and gentle” waters of the river Cornappo, “inhabited” by trout, chub and crayfish. The two banks of the river, which has its source in the Gran Monte, are connected by the Ponte degli Angeli (bridge of angels), one of the most impressive constructions in Friuli. And what is now known as the “borgo nievano” (Nievo’s village) was appropriately rebuilt on the left bank, after the earthquake in 1976, which practically destroyed it.
Going up to the village, visitors can easily arrive at the old church of Santi Gervasio e Protasio: with its ancient tower, it overlooks Nimis from the top of a small hill, just beyond the bridge over the aforementioned river.
The parish church of Nimis, which once attracted worshippers from as far away as Resia and now draws its congregation from the areas of Povoletto and Taipana, dates back to the 12th and 13th century. But its origins date back to six or seven centuries earlier, as it was built on the foundations of a small pagan temple. It houses fine ancient cycles of frescoes, dating back to the early decades of the 20th century, by Tita Gori, the painter born in the beautiful stone house, home to one of the most well-known taverns in the village – right opposite the church.
And finally, how can you find the perfect end to your lunch? By trying the freshly baked rustic “uessuz” of San Gervasio, made according to a medieval recipe that was used by the monks who lived in a small convent next to the historic parish church. But don’t eat them dry as they are: instead, you can pair them with, and even better, dunk them in some “Ramandolo” wine. It is a perfect pairing and their flavour will accompany you for your entire stay in the Nimis Valley, leaving you with the desire, when you return, to taste this simple yet agreeable combination once more. And how can you end on a high note? With an aromatic grappa made from “Ramandolo”, of course, distilled from the pomace of those grape clusters picked right in the “vineyard-garden”.
(from Benvenuti nella “vigna-giardino” – Giuseppe Longo)
Origins of the brand
The parish church of Santi Gervasio e Protasio is situated in Nimis, one of the oldest places of worship in Friuli. It was built at the Castrum Nemas around the 8th century and was extended to its present three naves around the 14th century.
At the end of the 1960s, an archaeological dig was carried out, which provided further knowledge of the buildings preceding the present one, dating back to Late Antiquity and uncovering some fragments of reliefs.
These include an interesting fragment in sandstone and limestone with relief carvings, including two different circular shapes, perhaps worn away by treading feet: one has six concentric circles and the other depicts a wheel shape with six spokes.
The former resembles the shape of megalithic petroglyphs in spirals or concentric circles, whereas the latter recalls the six-spoke wheel of the rupestrian graffiti of the Austrian Alps. They may both represent the sun wheel.
The wheel is a very common symbol in Celtic representations. In Gallo-Roman sculptures, it was often depicted with Jupiter, which makes us think of the solar symbol, whose name was female in Celtic, as in all the ancient Indo-European languages (mother sun?).
The Celts considered the sun to be one of the fundamental elements of the universe, characterising everything that is beautiful, lovable and wonderful.
But the wheel also represents the world, of change and return, of the succession of the seasons, of the day that follows the night, and of fertility and abundance.
To us, this archaic symbolic shape instantly seemed to be the most appropriate and effective one to represent the communicative appeal of Ramandolo, to graphically restore the expansive force of its ancient and strong character.
So, we designed a symbol with concentric circles, giving it the precious colour of the sun, the yellow of knowledge, of illumination and of the perfect metal, gold. It is the deep yellow colour of ripened wheat, the same colour that adorned the heads of heroes and the Celts, the colour that Ramandolo acquires after a late harvest, drying in the air of Mount Bernadia, being refined in wood barrels and aged in the bottle.
The symbol has the perimeter shape of a regular rhomboidal quadrilateral, an archetype that evokes the stable and solid female characteristics of the land (square) combined with the dynamic and penetrating expression of the fertilising virile force (rhombus)…
(Ragioni e origini del marchio Ramandolo – Sirio Tommasoli)