Italian land and nature: The Prosecco Hills
- WTI Magazine #137 Mar 20, 2021
The Prosecco hills - between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the province of Treviso, in the north-east of Italy – are an extraordinary land, where an internationally renowned wine is produced, a small world of the past covered with vineyards worked by hand on steep slopes that in July 2019 received an important recognition: the title of Unesco’s World Heritage Site. Let’s find out more about this unique, special area and its food and wine itineraries.
The Prosecco Hills: a unique area
The Prosecco hills are the 55th Italian site recognized by Unesco, a site that comprises most of the production area of Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG, a white wine exported all over the world with more than 90 million bottles produced each year. This land boasts a foremost sparkling wine technique (in 1876 in Conegliano Italy’s first Enological School, still active today, was founded) and a heroic viticulture, that masterfully shaped the rugged terrains to make them suitable for vine crops.
This area is dominated by a particular geomorphological conformation: hogbacks, a series of rises with narrow ridges and steep slopes (even with a slope of 50%). Worked by men since the Middle Ages, over the centuries the Prosecco Hills have taken on spectacular geometries and an odd chequerboard appearance.
Food itineraries along the Prosecco hills
In the land of Prosecco beauty and taste masterfully blend inviting visitors to a journey of discovery between wineries (more than 180 in the area) and small villages immersed among terraces and vineyards, abbeys and fortresses. For example, along the Strada del Prosecco (Prosecco Route), the first wine-tourism itinerary founded in Italy: 90 kilometers to travel by car, on foot or by bicycle, between a glass of wine and a tasting of local cheeses or cured meats.
Your trip in the name of taste in the Prosecco hills can start from the Enological School of Conegliano, to discover the secrets of sparkling wine making, where to take part in a guided tour to the cellars, to the Wine Shop or nearby Enological Museum.
From here, you can continue to Collabrigo, a historic village offering suggestive views on the surrounding hills, Rua di San Pietro di Feletto, with its Seventeen century retreat, and San Pietro di Feletto, where there is a wonderful Twelfth century Romanesque church overlooking the vineyards.
The Prosecco Route runs down to Refrontolo, where a greatly appreciated straw wine is produced, and where you will find the Molinetto della Croda, an ancient water mill – still functioning – in the rock immersed among woods and vineyards, today, it is a museum.
From here you can reach Villa Brandolini, in Solighetto, seat of the Consorzio Tutela del Vino Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene Docg, where exhibitions and cultural events are often held; alternatively you can have a quick detour to the village of Follina, enlisted among the most beautiful in Italy, where the imposing Abbazia di Santa Maria stands and stop for lunch in a local trattoria to enjoy rich appetizers, a risotto or meat courses.
Going up towards Farra di Soligo the hills become steeper and more engaging: here the three Credazzo Towers stand out, the remains of a castle destroyed by the Lombards, and the small church of San Martino; with a few minute walk through the vineyards, you reach the church of San Vigilio, in nearby Col San Martino.
SeguendoGoing along the hills you arrive in Colbertaldo and then in Cartizze, where a sensational view on the vineyards opens up, among the suggestive chioccole (the hilly cones) and casére, the local typical barns: this is the right place for a visit to a winery, to taste the well-known Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG, that is produced right here; from Follo to Santo Stefano, instead, the hills of the Prosecco Superiore Docg open up.
The Prosecco Route ends in Valdobbiadene, placed on top of a hill, where many sparkling wine wineries – also offering hospitality – are located, as well as excellent restaurants where to enjoy the specialty food of the Treviso countryside. Here there is an interesting osteria without host, where you can help yourself to a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, desserts and glasses of Prosecco.
To go back to Conegliano you can pass through Guia and Campea, where you can admire some of the most beautiful overlooks on the vineyards in the area. After crossing the river Soligo, from Pedeguarda you go up to the small center of Farrò, where you can stop in a local agriturismo, among vineyards and thick woods, without neglecting the view from Rolle.
After leaving Arfanta you continue towards Tarzo and Corbanese, where every year the “Mostra del Vino Superiore dei Colli” event takes place, with tastings of a selection of local wines combined with skewered meats and polenta. Then you continue to Cozzuolo, Carpesica and Ogliano, among farmhouses and nature trails, till you return to Conegliano.
The area of Valdobbiadene also extends to a higher altitude, up to 1.500 meters: this place is ideal to combine a day of nature – on foot, horseback or with a mountain bike, for instance along the “Andar per Malghe” route – with a lunch of homemade food in a malga (the local mountain cottage), where it is also possible to buy the cheese made locally, like Monte Cesen or the organic Montasio dop. A visit to Miane, famous for its chestnuts used to prepare the Marrone di Combai IGP, is advisable on the first Sunday in September, when the event “Malghe tra Mel e Miane” dedicated to alpine pastures takes place, with visits to the malghe, stands of local products and demonstrations in the production of dairy products.