San Colombano hill is the only place in the province of Milan devoted to viticulture and winemaking. It’s said that these were introduced—together with Christianity—by St. Columbanus in the 7th century. The hillside park extends between the Lambro and Po rivers and covers almost 1,500 hectares (~3,707 acres). This land is shared by five municipalities, but 60% belongs to San Colombano. The highest altitude is at Madonna dei Monti which reaches 147 meters (~482 feet).
Vineyards occupy one-third of the hill. There, vines of Croatina, Barbera, and Uva Rara are cultivated and their grapes blended together to make the fine San Colombano Rosso, or red. Pleasant and sparkling with notes of berries when young, the vino reaches its highest expression in the mature Riserva version. In a turn of events from legend to literature, the San Colombano red may actually be the wine featured in Alessandro Manzoni’s famous historical novel, The Betrothed, which is set in and around Milan in the 1600s.