La Lomellina: The country estate of the Lomellini family
Towards the end of XVI century, six wealthy and powerful Genoese families launched a huge program of urban and architectural renovation of the city. The enterprise was both a real-estate investment and a way to meet the new needs of modern aristocracy. The Lomellini family also participated in this wide modernization program.
The wealth and power of Genoese aristocracy extended outside the city walls, and some families began establishing estates not far from Genoa, where they erected country mansions. In particular, the lands around the town of Gavi attracted many families. After the Lomellini’s urban mansions were completed, a family member called Giacomo visited the beautiful countryside around Gavi, in southern Piemonte. Giacomo decided to establish there his own estate, and simply called it La Lomellina.
Alessiano, an unusual architectural style
La Lomellina is different from other aristocratic villas in the area. While generally these have one or more turrets, the shape of Giacomo’s mansion is rather compact. Also the villa is characterized by two entrances opposite each other on the building’s parallel longest sides. These architectural solutions are typical of a style called Alessiano from its originator, Galeazzo Alessi. Alessi was an architect from Perugia who started working in Genoa in the middle of XVI century.
The mansion was mainly used as a holiday villa, but the estate was also exploited as a source of revenue. Actually, it included several acres of land, farms and annexed farmhouses. One of these original buildings was later converted into a small church, still existing today.
Marco Lomellini: an enlightened owner
One of the most enlightened proprietors of the estate was Marco Lomellini, who succeeded his father Bartolomeo in the early XIX century. Marco expanded the estate, and added a neoclassical garden on two levels connected by a monumental staircase. He also positioned on the villa’s driveway a series of statues representing figures of classical mythology. The garden, the staircase and the statues are still extant in all their magnificence.
On 18 May 1815, Marco received Pope Pius VII at La Lomellina. On this special occasion, the renown writer, jurist, Latin scholar and excellent improviser of poems Faustino Gagliuffi composed an epigram in Latin. It was later reported in a commemorative plaque still visible today inside the villa.
The first vineyard, 1816
In 1816, the far-sighted Marco Lomellini planted the first vineyards at La Lomellina di Gavi, thereby starting our long winemaking tradition. We know the exact year thanks to an epigraph reporting the following words (translated):
“… after restoring the uncultivated and abandoned soil with vineyards, crops, and plants, he [Marco Lomellini] opened, leveled, and fortified a road, and, lest the new farm lacked anything, [re]built this estate. AD 1816.”. Count Edilio Raggio, 1890
In April 1844, the Lomellini sold the estate to Raffaele De Ferrari, Duke of Galliera. In the 1890s, the estate changed ownership again. It was purchased by Count-Marchese Edilio Raggio, (mentioned above), a wealthy and energetic entrepreneur from Genoa. The Count-Marchese expanded the vineyards and fostered the introduction of the Cortese grape variety.
Those same years marked important advancements in winemaking technology and the beginning of the history of Gavi DOCG from the Comune di Gavi, one of the finest wines from Piemonte.
La strage della Fillossera e il primo Dopoguerra
In 1879, Italy was hit by the phylloxera epidemic. Phylloxera is a parasite which attacks violently the roots of the European grapevine. It reached Europe from America, probably brought unintentionally in cargo ships.
The epidemics was devastating: almost all vines around Europe fell ill and died. But soon it was found that grafting European vines on rootstocks of American vines made the plants resistant to phylloxera.
Slowly but resiliently, viticulture in the Gaviese started anew. The Raggios put up a plaque in proud memory of those challenging times. It can still be seen in the estate’s stables.
After the First World War, viticulture at La Lomellina began more and more important. The Raggio family invested in new vineyards and in a modern winery and won several wine awards.
The glorious history of our winery is an important ingredient of the excellent reputation that we have earned as a producer of Gavi.
The Gavi tradition today
In 2006, the estate enters a second youth thanks to Emanuela Croce Raggio. The villa, the church and the garden are restored to their former glory, and the winery is updated to cutting-edge technologies. The vineyards, which in the meantime had been strongly reduced, are expanded again to cover a total of 16 hectares.
We take great pride in making our Gavi, one of the best wines in Piemonte.
A video story of La Lomellina
Follow us in this journey and discover our history
The staff: Our professionals
The people working at La Lomellina form a heterogeneous group. Our staff includes agronomists, vineyard technicians, controllers of the grape quality, winery technicians, oenologists, and seasonal harvesters.
Each of them is a qualified professional playing an essential role. In recent years, our wines have met with big success thanks to the combined effort of these persons and of the estate proprietors.
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