The first historical mention known today about Freisa goes back to 1517 and refers to the most typical growing area, the one on the hillside of Turin and the surroundings of Chieri, in Piedmont. Unexpectedly not mentioned by Croce, who at the beginning of 1600 listed the grapes from Turin hill (one of the today’s most typical area of Freisa’s cultivation), Freisa was planted in Neive (Cuneo) at the end of the same century, in a vineyard belonging to the count Cotti, and later in the village of Lu (Alessandria) (Mainardi, 2003). Soon after, Freisa is found in other areas of Piemonte and, since 1800, in almost all the region (Gallesio, 1995).
Although never reaching the role of principal variety in the region (except perhaps in the areas of major cultivation in the surroundings of Turin and Asti), Freisa was very popular because of the generous yield, the resistance to bad weather and the scarce susceptibility to fungus diseases (powdery and downy mildews).
Regarding Freisa’s origin, stated its first degree relationship with Nebbiolo (Schneider et al., 2004), to which is similar for morphological features and grape analytical profile (sharing for example the quite peculiar prevalence of peonidin-glucoside among the anthocyanins), according to Lacombe et al. (2012) it is a likely seedling of Avanà x Nebbiolo. Though possible from historical and geographical perspectives, our genetic data do not completely match such hypothesis, which should be better explored before to be accepted.