January 28, 814: Charlemagne passed away in Aachen, Germany. Charlemagne ruled the Franks (768–814), the Lombards (774–814), and the Romans (800–814) as the first emperor of what would later be known as the Holy Roman Empire. The wine trade was very important to Charlemagne, who united the Kingdom of the Franks in 771. Burgundy’s renowned Corton Charlemagne vineyard stands as proof of the Crown’s interest in wine.
January 28, 1896: On this day in 1896 the Italian archaeologist, Giuseppe Fiorelli, died in his native city of Naples in southern Italy at the age of 72. Fiorelli was one of the great figures in preserving the remains of the Roman town of Pompeii for posterity after it had been rediscovered and gradually excavated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For instance, he first began the process of having the frescoes from the town’s many villas copied for reproduction in museums. It was also under Fiorelli’s oversight that the first vineyards for the production of wine were discovered at Pompeii. These were excavated from beneath three metres of solid ash and Fiorelli introduced the idea of using plaster casts to recreate the forms of the plants which were being revealed under the debris from the volcano. Scientific advancements which have been made in the century and a half since have allowed for the authorities who manage the site to begin effectively replicating the vineyards which were buried there nearly 2,000 years ago. Fore more information, see this archived BBC page on Pompeii.
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