Duca di Saragnano
The history of a friendship behind a name.
Saragnano today is a small hamlet of town of Baronissi in the Province of Salerno, southern Italy. Our story begins very early in the Middle Ages, around the 10th Century AD. In those days, the south of Italy was continuously harassed by Arab marauders seeking to expand their territories northwards towards the centre of the Italian peninsula. At a certain point, a group of inhabitants of the coastal city of Salerno decided to take refuge from the Arabs on higher ground inland and eventually founded two small villages - which they named Baronissi and Saragnano.
At first, the political and administrative for the surrounding area was Saragnano. Soon, the area was divided up amongst a number of families, whose names became synonymous with the districts over which they held sway. Amongst these families were the ancestors of "our" Duca di Saragnano. Peace in those times was, however, always but a mirage. It happened that one or two of these local "lords" had the idea of siding with the Arab invaders, by which they hoped to extend their own lands and power. It was not a wise decision. Having been invited in, the Arabs simply took over the whole area for themselves, killing many innocent inhabitants and sacking the local feudal lords' property. Legend has it that amongst the bravest and noblest local defenders of their lands was none other that an ancestor of our Duca di Saragnano. He fought valiantly, both to defend his family and to drive out the aggressors altogether. His efforts, alas, were in vain. The Arabs were too powerful, as well as superior in numbers and they soon took control of the whole area and became its lords for a time. So at this point, our hero had no option but to flee the area in order to save his family - thereby leaving all his family - thereby leaving all his property and possessions in the hands of the invaders.
He eventually settled in the Centre of Italy, which at that time was part of the Holy Roman Empire. Not long afterwards, the troops of the Holy Roman Emperor succeeded in ousting the Arabs. But only a small part of the family whose story we are recounting ever returned to their ancestral lands. You may ask yourself how the name of our wine could be linked to this story? Well, it happened that one of the much later descendants of the branch who had originally fled from the Arabs and settled in Central Italy all that time ago, inherited the Saragnano title. He became a great friend of Luigi Barbanera, Marco and Paolo Barbanera's Father. He it was who most kindly granted the use of «Duca di Saragnano» to the Barbanera family as a token of his esteem. So it is, that when we drink a toast with Duca di Saragnano wine, we honour the friendship that lies at its heart.