Lacryma Christi is made from grapes indigenous grown in the Vesuvio Volcano’s area, and has been produced since Ancient Roman times. The first mention of this grape variety being grown in this area dates to the 5th century BC.
The story of Lacryma Christi
The name Lacryma Christi has its roots in a number of legends and the popular one is that of Lucifer, who took with him a piece of heaven when he was cast out. When Christ saw Italy’s Gulf of Naples, he recognized it as this stolen heaven piece and wept over the loss; it is said that vines of Lacryma Christi sprang miraculously from the earth where his tears fell.
According to historic texts, winemaking of Vesuvius has origins dating back to centuries before Christ. Aristotle wrote that the ancient people of Thessaly in Magna Grecia planted the first vineyards on the volcano’s slopes in the 5th century BC. Five centuries later, the Roman poet Martial wrote, “Bacchus loved these hills more than his native hills of Nisa”. After the rise of Christianity, monks who lived in a nearby tower continued producing this “Greek” wine, and in time the local peasants combined these two historic facts to form the name of the city of Torre del Greco, or “Greek Tower”.
The vineyards and the terroir
The vines, which cover the slopes of Mount Vesuvius descend from the Aminei of Thessaly, brought to Italy by this people of ancient Greece. The vines are rooted in dark and porous lava soil, which does not need to be irrigated as it naturally retains humidity, releasing it as needed.
Grapes producing the wines of the Vesuvian lands are:
Caprettone (or Coda di Volpe) are used for Lacryma Christi Bianco.
Piedirosso (Per and Palumm) are used for Lacryma Christi Rosato and Rosso.
You can taste and buy the Lacryma Christi here:
Azienda Agricola Vitivinicola Cantina del Vesuvio
Via Tirone della Guardia, 18 – 80040 Trecase (NA) Italy
Tel. +39 081 536 90 41