‘Coltura Promiscua’ or ‘Coltura Mista’ is an association of crops, trees, vines and cereals for varied production. It is an ancient practice in Northern Italy, particularly from the Middle Ages to the 18th century.

It is a traditional way of cultivating the land: on the same plot, we can find herbaceous plants – vegetables, cereals, hemp, shrubs, vines and trees:

  • Some serve as protection or support for others, they complement each other and allow the territory to be used to the maximum of its possibilities
  • Some other plants can be placed next to each other. Their respective nutritional needs being different. It is the same for the search for light using both the benefits of gradation and the evolution of the foliage over time

This method of cultivation protects the farmer because it limits production risks related to climatic incidents or diseases on the crops.

It is also beneficial in the sense that it gives regular work to a large workforce for pruning trees and shrubs, as well as various periodic work concerning cereals or vines.

However, the fact that grapevines were usually planted alongside fruit trees prevented the adoption of more organized viticulture.

It is to be noted that the Pergola system in Carema DOC (Piedmont, Italy) can be considered as an example of ‘Coltura Promiscua’ still in place (read more about the Carema DOC).

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