The Campi Flegrei are a large volcanic area to the north west of Naples. The word “flegrei” comes from the Greek word “flègo” which means "to burn". The area comprises at least twenty four craters and volcanic edifices, some of which manifest effusive gaseous activity (in the Sofatara crater) or hydrothermal activity (at Agnano, Pozzuoli and Lucrino). In geological terms the area is a large dormant caldera most of which has a diameter of 12-15 km and consists of many craters, small volcanic edifices and areas of secondary volcanic activity (fumaroles, thermal springs, and bradyseismic phenomena). Deposits of volcanic origin can be seen throughout the area and there are lakes of volcanic origin (Lake Avernus), as well as lakes of lagoonal formation (Lake Fusaro, Lake Lucrinus and Lake Miseno).
Up until the present day, wine-growing has been very traditional, not only in the grape varieties planted, but also in the cultivation methods, which are for the most part performed manually due to the particular conformation of the land, and in the wine-making techniques used by the wineries (locally known as celiai).
The Falanghina grape has a white skin and takes its name from “Falangae”, the stake used for supporting vines by the Flegrei wine-growers. It is also called Falernina in Terra di Lavoro, and some experts believe that this confirms the fact that it was the grape variety used to make the famous Falernian white wine considered the first DOC wine in history. The Romans kept this wine in clay amphorae sealed with stoppers bearing a label (pittacium) which indicated the origin and year. In the 1800’s, reference is made to Falanghina by the greatest historians and experts of wines in the Campania region, and it is referred to by Acerbi in 1825 and by Semmola in 1948 as a grape used to make a special and exceptional quality wine.
Piedirosso (or per'e palummo) takes its name from the characteristic red stems that have a particular shape similar to the red feet of a pigeon. It is an ancient grape variety and is thought to be the Colombina mentioned by the Roman author Pliny in his "Natural History” encylopaedia then used to make Falernian wine together with Aglianico. It was ignored for a long time, but increased in popularity at the end of the 19th century when producers decided to return to the cultivation of superior quality grape varieties.