The “Vite Maritata” as a Landscape Catalyst. The Grapevine as Part of Edible Greenways



Publication Date

August 2022


The grapevine on living trellises, or “vite maritata” in Italian, is an ancient grape growing technique that uses, instead of poles, trees as support for the grapevine to climb. Conceived by the Etruscans, it was a common element in the Italian rural landscape until the 1960s. As an agronomic practice, it has been abandoned mainly because of the ceasing of the socioeconomic forces that drove its expansion, summarized by sharecropping. Today, in evaluating the natural ecosystem and environment, we have the theory of ecosystem services as a powerful tool. This theory states that ecosystems impact human well-being. This impact affects four different categories that group the various services provided by ecosystems. These four categories are provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting. The grapevine on living trellises provides services in all four categories, with precise services regulating microclimate and supporting wildlife (Bigliardi, 2021). The linear arrangement of the grapevine on living trellises in the urban landscape could function as a helpful green infrastructure for wild species of animals and plants, but of course, also for human beings, contrasting territorial fragmentation and promoting biodiversity. As a greenway, it can be a source of recreational spaces and slow mobility and provide substantial food resources, becoming the protagonist of an edible landscape (Fabris, 2010). The Metropolitan City of Milan possesses already a substratum of dismissed railway yards that, united with the renovation of the Navigli canal system, define a favourable environment for the design of this kind of greenways that can contribute to the “ForestaMI” Reforestation Plan of the Lombard metropolis (Boeri, 2021). Moreover, the “vite maritata” fits well with this situation, being acclimated to the climate of the Po valley.