The Italian agronomist and ampelographer Conte Giuseppe di Rovasenda (1824-1913) came from an ancient noble family. He was trained for a diplomatic career, but after a short time he gave up this activity and devoted himself entirely to agriculture and in particular to viticulture and the study of vines. He made his first studies in 1860 in Sciolze, a small village in the province of Turin, on his uncle's estate. Initially he collected different varieties of vines from Piedmont and constantly supplemented them with varieties from France, Germany and Spain. This resulted in an extensive collection of grape varieties, all of which were planted on a hill called "Bicocca" in the town of Villonovetta near Turin.
In 1877 his work "Saggio di Ampelografia Universale" was published, in which 3,666 grape varieties from this largest collection of grape varieties in the world near Turin are described in detail with many details such as morphology and ripening time. Rovasenda created a network of academics, researchers, breeders, winery owners and other collectors. He also worked closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Royal Academy of Agriculture of Turin, of which he was an honorary member for life. Rovsenda donated the entire collection to the "Reale Scuola di Viticultura e di Enologia" (Royal School of Viticulture and Oenology) in Alba.