Imagine gently rolling hills, awash with sunshine, ancient farmhouses and quaint villages buzzing with activity: the area between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the Veneto region, is a truly enjoyable destination and makes a perfect weekend getaway for those who enjoy the countryside, good food and world famous bubbly wine prosecco.
The best time of the year to plan a visit is, without a doubt, the Spring – not only because the weather is milder and the area is in full bloom, but also because of the amazing amount of food, wine, history and culture related events that take place from March to June.
The shining star of the area is, of course, Prosecco – a wine that has become legendary both in Italy and around the world. To discover the places where it’s grown and produced and the beauty of the surrounding area, the ideal way is to rent a car and drive along the new “Road of Prosecco”, founded in 2003 and heir to what was, as long ago as 1966, Italy’s first wine route.
Large sections of the original historic itinerary have been maintained, while other themed routes have been added, to really showcase the varied viticultural landscapes and many historical and artistic treasures that are scattered around the hills between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Located in the northern part of the Province of Treviso, with the imposing and gorgeous Veneto Dolomites as a backdrop, the road unwinds through steep hills and gentle slopes, covered in a seemingly never-ending patchwork of Prosecco vineyards.
The road trip starts in Conegliano, where a stroll under the porticos of Contrada Grande are a must-do: here you can admire the beautiful facades of palaces once inhabited by noble families, the splendid frescos on the facade of the cathedral and the city’s imposing castle in the background. Before leaving to take the Road of Prosecco, you might want to stop by the Scuola Enologica Cerletti with its gorgeous 19th-century frescoed Bottega del Vino.
From Conegliano the road takes you to Collalbrigo, offering lovely views of the surrounding hills, dotted with vineyards and little patches of woods. The 18th-century villa Ghetti Montalban is also of interest, as is the village of San Pietro di Feletto with its splendid 12th-century parish church, in exquisite and elegant Romanesque style. Near Solighetto don’t miss the 18th-century villa Aldobrandini d’Adda, now home to the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Docg Consortium, and a museum devoted to the opera singer Toti Dal Monte.
Continuing towards Colbertaldo you can enjoy a gorgeous unspoiled landscape of little rounded hills, called “snails” by locals, dotted with old dairy sheds still used to store hay and tools. A few kilometers away, in Vidor, stop by the the abbey of Santa Bona, standing on the Piave River in a wonderful park: the historic and artistic complex, dating from the 12th century, is definitely worth a visit. Climbing back towards S. Stefano, you can admire some of the loveliest views of the Prosecco Superiore Docg hills, where vineyards leave room – but only on the hilltops – to beautiful chestnut forests.
Arriving in Valdobbiadene, a must is a look at the main piazza, surrounded by buildings in Neoclassic style, and at the nearby little church of St. Gregory, dating from the 1400s. From Valdobbiadene, driving towards Guia, you begin the return trip over roads featuring some of the most beautiful and imposing panoramas of this area: a real treat for those who enjoy tranquil bucolic landscapes.
In Possagno, birthplace of great neoclassical sculptor Antonio Canova, art buffs can visit his house, where cast models, terracotta scale models, drawings and paintings are showcased. The museum, library and archive dedicated to the master, as well as the gardens provide a truly enjoyable experience and an interesting look into the life of the artist. For more information: http://www. museocanova.it/index.php?lang=en
The area is, of course, dotted with wine producers, wineries and good, family-run restaurants: for a well rounded experience chose Villa Sandi, which not only is a gorgeous Palladian style villa, but also produces one of the best Proseccos in the area, features a great restaurant and offers a few well furnished and quaint rooms if you want to stay the night: since there’s only 5, book in advance at www.locandasandi.it/index.php/.
The Valdobbiadene area is easily reachable by car from both Venice (less than one hour) and Milano (about 3 hours) using the A4 highway. The closest airports are Venezia Marco Polo and Verona Villafranca.