Soil, shells and fossils: when there was sea in Piedmont
From two to five million years ago, the sea reached as far as the Alps. Its ancient presence lives on today in Piedmont in the form of the fossils of the animals that lived in it: shells and the remains of fin whales and other marine animals have been found in many places, notably in the wine hills of the Roero and Langa districts and of the provinces of Asti and Alessandria. During the Pliocene, the sea also affected soil types, calcareous marls differentiated by geological era: sandier in the Roero and Monferrato Astigiano districts (“Asti sands”), richer in silt and clay between the Langa hills and the area round Acqui Terme. Types are more varied in the area around Gavi, where red and white soils alternate with sand and stone. All are terrains highly suitable for vine growing.