Historical notes on Tenuta Colombarola
From Napoleon to the present day
The gently sloping and fertile hills of the Val Tidone are the heart of a territory that has always been indissolubly linked to the winemaking tradition, where the four tributaries of the Po River shape the surrounding valleys: Val Trebbia, Val Nure and Val d’Arda. In fact, this territory was not only a suitable centre for gathering the legions of Julius Caesar, but it represented also a source of supply for the cellars of the emperor, who certainly had the opportunity to taste the wine of these flourishing lands, since his wife Calpurnia came from Piacenza. However, the Romans were not the first to plant their vines here: looking back to the past, we find evidence attributable to ancient civilisations, such as the folks of the so called Paleoliguria, the Etruscans and the Celts.
In the historic centre of Nibbiano, there is a building with a simple facade hiding its original stones. Such stones tell a story that dates back to the 18th century.
The structure was part of an old castle belonging to Marie Louise of Austria, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte (who had already passed through these lands when he was a young army general in 1796) and Duchess of Parma and Piacenza, who visited these areas in 1831. In 1773, also the castles of Trevozzo and Sala Mandelli had hosted the Duchess Maria Amalia, daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.
In 1765, during the reign of Ferdinand of Bourbon, the castle still retained its original appearance. After the signoria of the Malvicini-Fontana family, Jose Nicolas Azzara (1730 – 1804), member of a noble Spanish family and diplomat to the Holy See, who intervened in the relations between Rome and France at the time of the revolution, became marquis. In fact, he managed to sign the treaty of Bologna with Napoleon Bonaparte (1796) and, for this reason, he was awarded a medal. He became the first Marquis of Nibbiano and passed on the title to his heirs for four generations.
Until the time of the Duchess Marie Louise, the residence was used for the summer receptions of nobles and courtiers. Plenty of them regularly visited these places, including the wonderful Tenuta Colombarola and, in addition to the natural beauties, they appreciated the typical products of this area, where wines have always played a very important role.
Therefore, not only at official dinners, but often also during courtesy visits to the local estates, the characteristic taste and aroma of these wines enhanced the flavours of the food specialties of the territory, encouraging conviviality and building interpersonal relationships.
A family tradition
The Travini family’s passion for viticulture has distant origins. At the end of the 19th century, the great-grandfather and namesake of the current owner of Tenuta Colombarola, Vittorio Travini, already devoted himself to the vineyards near the Gandini Tower, owned by the family for several years. The tower, dating back to the Middle Ages –formerly belonging to the Malvicini-Fontana family and then, in the 18th century, to the Azzaras – is a typical example of an impregnable fortress. Due to the very few renovations it has undergone, the structure clearly shows its military function to defend the “treasures” of the surrounding hills.
In that same spirit of their ancestors, the members of the Travini family manage with enthusiasm the lands and activities of the estate. Today, indeed, the dedication and care put into every step of the production process, along with the use of the most advanced technology, make it possible to obtain high quality wines, strictly following the most ancient traditions.