Viticulture in the Alto Adige has ancient roots that preceded the Roman Empire. This region's vineyards extend over the plains and hills surrounding the Isarco Valley and the Adige River whose valley is Italy's corridor to Germany. Alto Adige is more Germanic than it is Italian and although the Trentino in the south has a southern culture, it too remains more cosmopolitan, as exemplified in the international grape varietals so popular in this region. The most famous varietals are Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Bianco, Muller Thurgau, Riesling and Moscato Giallo. Trentino is also responsible for Italy's largest production of Chardonnay and is a leader in sparkling wines.
Trentino is a curious Region of Italy because culturally and socially it's not quite all Italian. The southern part is Italian-speaking, but the northern reaches - also known as the South Tyrol - is largely German-speaking. This is not surprising because the Austrians controlled Northern Italy for centuries, and the Region was only annexed to Italy in 1919, as part of the Treaty of Saint-Germain together with the Treaty of Versailles which reshaped Europe in the aftermath of World War I. From 1919 to 1947 it was known as Venezia-Tridentina. Though the capital city of the Region is Trento, the Regional Parliament changes its seat on a biennial basis to the provincial capitals of the two provinces, which, as a result, have the de facto status of independent and autonomous regions in Italy. Situated in the southern Alps in the Dolomite range, Trentino is bordered on the north by Austria, which is accessible through the Brenner Pass. To the south west lies the Italian Region of Lombardy (Lombardia); to the south east Veneto.