The tobacco arrived in Europe after the explorations of Columbus in the “New World” and spread gradually throughout the continent when the Portuguese ambassador, Jean Nicot, did homage to Catherine de Medici of the leaves and seeds of the plant which was called “Herba nicotiana”, from the name of Nicot.
In Italy, the growing of tobacco is widely spread in the second half of the 16th century by two prelates who brought the precious seeds in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and Papal State. Here, according to tradition, the Cistercian monks, who founded the monastery in the vicinity of Chiaravalle in the province of Ancona, were the firsts to cultivating the Spadone of Tuscany, later known as Spadone of Chiaravalle. This species was spread over the Valley of the Esino river and in the vicinity towns, in Ancona and surroundings, and throughout the Marche region.
Currently, the ecotypes most widely spread are: the Virginia, cultivated especially in Veneto, in Umbria (on the Upper Valley of Tevere river) and, in modest quantities, in Tuscany; the Burley, cultivated mainly in Campania – in the territory of Caserta, it is produced the best Burley traditional filler with low contents of nicotine – and Veneto, where is produced the “cimato” that has medium-high nicotine levels and strong aromatic characteristics.
At the end of 1700, the tobacco was almost exclusively used for producing powders snuff or shag tobacco for pipes. In 1800, the appearance of the first machines to produce cigarettes has facilitated the transition to the use of tobacco in smoking products, such as cigar and cigarette, more practical and close to the costumes that were changing and the use of which is the most spread even today.