Prosecco Superiore: an excursion encompassing art, history and sparkling wine
When you takes a sip of Prosecco Superiore, you should close your eyes for a moment and let the imagination take over. Most likely, what you see first would be green hills full of vineyards, cultivated by local farmers over hundreds of years, the rise that leads from Valdobbiadene to Conegliano, an area of dazzling beauty, which produces a fragrant, elegant and refreshing sparkling wine. In addition to producing one of the most famous Italian wines, this region has a rich artistic history, as evidenced by two of the principal artists of the Venetian Renaissance, Giovanni Bellini and his apprentice Cima da Conegliano. In their works, the key figures in the paintings – Madonnas with serene faces, glittering angels and somber saints – are shown against a backdrop in which you can recognise the landscape of the gentle hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.
To welcome visitors to the area, the “Strada del vino” or “Wine Road” was opened offering wine cellars, villages and churches concealing unexpected masterpieces. The road extends for 35 kilometres (21 miles) and allows you to enjoy a view of the Venetian Dolomite mountains, in which the steep slopes alternate with gentle bluffs, all of which are adorned by the vineyards.
Conegliano, Vittorio Veneto, Valdobbiadene, Pieve di Soligo – these are just some of the possible starting-off points for your journey of discovery.
At Conegliano, you should take a walk along the porticoes of the Contrada Grande, where the noble families of the city once resided. A visit the Duomo is also a must, with its frescoed façade and the altar piece by Cima da Conegliano.
Vittorio Veneto has an important place in Italian history as the site of the final battle of the First World War, the “City of Victory”. There are many villages in the surrounding area that are of interest both in terms of their wine tradition and their history.
Valdobbiadene is considered the heart of the Prosecco Superiore region. It includes the Cartizze zone, which produces the famous “Cru Cartizze”, officially recognised in 1969.
Refrantolo produces passito, or raisin wine, which is mentioned in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”.
In Follina, you can visit the Santa Maria Cistercian monastery, containing one of the most beautiful cloisters in Italy.
In San Pietro di Felletto you can admire the Hermitage in Rua di Feletto that offers a beautiful panorama of the valley.
Obviously, there are plenty of opportunities to stop along the way in inns, B&Bs, and restaurants whose excellent food and unhurried rhythm is accompanied by the renowned Prosecco. This wine is considered, in Italy and around the world, as the king of aperitifs, but can also go nicely with a full meal. It pairs well with other products from this region such as chicory, porcini mushrooms, and game meats roasted on skewers. It also go wells with fish, particularly with kebabs and molluscs.
Although this excursion through the Prosecco region has been brief, hopefully it encourages those of you who are looking for a place with can offer beauty in its many forms: natural, artistic, architectural and the enjoyment of wine and food. Let yourself be guided by your instincts, you may encounter ancient manor houses, water mills, neo-classical buildings, bell towers, enchanting woods, green fields and legends of abbeys haunted by ghosts.
Enjoy your trip, and here’s to your health!