The story began at the beginning of the 15th century by cross-breeding Italian sheep with Merino Rambouillet rams donated to the Papal State by the Spanish monarchs who until then had jealously guarded this valuable breed.

Successive patient selection led to the high quality standards of the Sopravvissana (in the Marche Apennines, Abruzzo and Molise) and Gentile di Puglia (in the region of the same name).