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Virgil, the poet, born of Mantua
The great poet Publius Vergilius Maro ("Virgil") was born to a middle class family in October of 70 BC in the town of Mantua during the reign of Julius Caesar. Mantua was a Roman city in the province of Cisapline Gaul (now Lombardy). The province extended to the Alps and covered the most fertile part of the Po valley. Mantua traces its founding to the Etruscan civilization that ruled most of Italy but quietly disappeared leaving little known of it. In the time of Virgil, Mantua was a quiet agrarian community dominated by farming and shepherding. The beauty of the area so transfixed Virgil that he once wrote, 'dove il Po discende per aver pace con sequcai sui': 'where the Po runs down among its followers to find peace'. Not far to the east of Mantua lies the town of Verona, home to Romeo and Juliet.


"Our visits to Raffaldini Vineyard have been pure pleasure. The beautiful countryside is reminiscent of the rolling hills of Tuscany, and the warm hospitality and welcoming ambience that greet us each time make us feel so much at home. Did we mention the wines? We have enjoyed every one we've tried -- the crisp whites, the luscious reds, and the refreshing roses. They are the closest to European style and quality of all the "home-grown" wines we've sampled. We intend to make more frequent trips to Raffaldini Vineyard so we don't miss any of their new releases. And so we can enjoy the atmosphere and the company!"

Itan & Linda Vespa
Italian Club of Charlotte
Charlotte, NC

Fertile destiny
According to legend, while Virgil was in his mother's womb, she dreamt that she gave birth to a laurel branch. Upon touching the earth the laurel branch took root and at once grew to the size of an adult tree, covered with fruits and flowers of various kinds. The following day, whilst traveling to a neighboring part of the country with her husband, Virgil's mother turned aside and gave birth to her child in a ditch beside the road. Legend has it the infant did not cry at its birth, and had such a gentle expression as even then to give assurance of an unusually happy and fertile destiny.

There was yet a further symbol of Virgil's exceptionally rich contribution to the future land and its people. Traditional to that region on such occasions, a poplar branch is planted where birth occurs. The branch planted where Virgil was born grew so fast that it was equal in size to others planted long before. The poplar branch became known as "Virgil's Tree", and was worshipped with great veneration by women about to give birth, who made their vows beneath it.

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