On a warm Sunday, May 22 of the year 1711, a slow procession came winding through the Abruzzo hills. It was on its way from the bishop’s palace in Penne towards the small town of Loreto Aprutino. The object was to bring two recently acquired relics to the local church. The relics consisted in an arm and the skull (in a beautiful box) of a rather obscure saint, San Zopito. He had died a martyr, or so the story goes, around the year 300 AD in Rome, and his remains had been buried in the Vatican deposits, until in 1711 Pope Clemens XI donated them to the clergy of Loreto Aprutino.
While the believers and their treasure were happily on their way, they passed some fields a farmer was busy ploughing with two oxen. He started shouting and insulting: while the people in the procession were singing, so he said, he had to work, even on sundays, until his back was broken in those damned granite hard fields! “Is that justice?” The people shrank from the blasphemy, but at that very moment one of the oxen kneeled as if it wanted to pray. “A miracle”, all shouted. The farmer (of course) repented, and since that day an ox carries the relics on Whitsuntide Monday through Loreto Aprutino. On its back, a young girl dressed as an angel. By the way, the modern oxen are trained for months to kneel at the right moment!
The people from the hills east of the Gran Sasso mountains are brought up with this kind of history and folklore. It is no wonder, therefore, that Luciano di Tizio and Antonio d’Emilio decided to name a wine (their top) after the local saint, San Zopito. As a matter of fact, the two are friends since their school days and in 1996 they decided to buy 30 hectares of vineyards (and some olives). They named the new estate Torre Raone, and that’s where history comes in once more. On their land an old eleventh century watchtower rises, nowadays home to a swarm of bee-like insects. It was named after a famous Norman mercenary knight of that time, Raone da Poliziano.Their second line of wines at this point carries Raone in the name.
A third and more recent line they named Lucanto. No saint, no tower, but simply the combination of both their first names: Luciano and Antonio.
Their main production is the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape, whereas for the whites mainly the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and the local Pecorino grape were planted. They work completely biological and have the official registration for it. Both Luciano and Antonio are agricultural experts and the last one also knows everything about hail and frost damage. A danger the poor farmer from the story in 1711 certainly had experienced more than once…