Barbera is considered one of the most typical grapes from Piedmont. It is also one of the few grape varieties without important synonyms, since everywhere is known with its principal name. It shows, however, several homonyms, because growers used to refer to the common Barbera to name local varieties, currently minor varieties but once rather widespread. Here is therefore a Barbera 'Davi d in Pinerolo area (Turin province), a Barbera Ciarìa (or Ciairìa) in the Roero (Cuneo province), and a Round Barbera in Canavese (Turin province).
There is also a White Barbera in the province of Alessandria, that is not the white grape mutant, but a distinct genotype. In Sardinia there is a different, distinct Barbera (Barbera Sarda) which seems genetically related to other varieties from the island (Nieddu, 2011).
Barbera area in Piedmont covers about 35% of the 55,000 regional ha, being the principal wine grape cultivar of the region. It is the base for numerous appellation wines, including two DOCG, Barbera d'Asti and Barbera del Monferrato superiore. The spread of Barbera in other Italian regions is relatively recent, except for the areas of Lombardy bordering Piedmont. From local historical statistics can be inferred the great expansion of Barbera dates from the mid-nineteenth century: before this period, even in its most typical region, was cultivated in moderate surfaces.
But more than other varieties from Piedmont, Barbera expanded in other wine-growing areas. It is grown in Oltrepò Pavese (Lombardy) and Colli Piacentini (Emilia-Romagna) and used (generally as secondary variety) in other Italian regions from the north-east, the centre and the south of the peninsula. Thanks to its crisp acidity, which does not decline even in warmest climates, Barbera has been successfully planted in Sicily and still enjoys a certain importance in South America and in the Californian Central Valley, where its area is of few thousand hectares.