This trip had been planned since January and almost didn’t happen. But I’m going to skip over our horrendous airport fiasco to bring you our first, and my favorite, part of Easter vacation in Northern Italy: La Strada del Prosecco (The Prosecco Road). We spent two days (although I could’ve stayed much longer) driving around the main wine road but also veering off into the more historical and cultural areas. We could not have asked for better weather, better food, or better people! It was here that I checked in to my first hotel using all Italian! We were served Prosecco on silver platters almost everywhere we stayed, walked through vineyards to reach restaurants, and, with the help of locals, bought Prosecco from a Prosecco vending machine!! Let’s not forget the incredible views- photos don’t do this region justice!
With no specific plans and only a small roadmap to guide us, we filled our first day full of sightseeing explorations. Some things we located were closed for “training” purposes, which was a bummer, but other things were found just following signs on a whim and were just as amazing to discover. Some highlights:
LOGGIA DI SERRAVALLE
This was BY FAR my absolute favorite little historical town! We headed there not knowing what we would actually see, and were so pleased with this visit! Serravalle is a little treasure chest, surrounded by mountainous backdrops with the tranquil waters of the Meschio river flowing through. The ancient history, the peacefulness- it was love at first sight! We must have sat in the piazza for a few hours, just soaking up the sun, enjoying a local meat and cheese platter accompanied with a glass of Prosecco, and listening to the beautiful chiming of bells. There was one elder Italian woman who took our son into the middle of the piazza and showed him some things through a glass piece in the ground. Everyone watched their interaction together. She spoke to him like an adult and was so kind. There was this sense of connection with the land and people. It’s hard to find people who will stop and take 5 minutes out of their time to explain something of importance from their town. Italians do.
… Serravalle was once an autonomous town under Austrian rule, just like the nearby Ceneda, and remained so until 1866 when the Veneto became part of the Kingdom of Italy and the two municipalities of Serravalle and Ceneda reunited to form today’s municipality of Vittorio Veneto (so called in honor of King Vittorio Emanuele II). Serravalle occupied a strategic position both for trade and for communication routes, thus seeing itself part of an important economic and urban development, especially under the Venetian rule, whose sumptuousness is still witnessed today by the facades of the majestic buildings that adorn the streets of the center.https://www.chicchediviaggio-it
REFRONTOLO IL MOLINETTO DELLA CRODA
Locoated in the Lierza Valley, Molinetto della Croda is a characteristic example of 17th century rural architecture. The building was built several times but the foundation of the primitive construction rest on the bare rock, precisely the “croda” of the mountain. Subsequent extensions made it possible to obtain rooms for the dwelling of modest families of millers, always struggling with poverty and the looming threat of sudden floods and devastating floods such as, in recent times, those of 1941 and 1953. The old milll, symbol of a rural civilization in danger of extinction under the pressure of industrial civilization, ground the last flour in 1953. Subsequently it remained uninhabited for some years and in a desolate state of abandonment. It has recently undergone scrupulous restoration work, which has preserved the characteristics of the building unaltered. On the ground floor the millstone has been faithfully reconstructed, now made functional again. Purchased by the Municipality of Refrontolo in 1991, this local cultural heritage is now accessible to the community.
The drive here was just incredible! There was not an inch of land, however hilly or uneven, that was not touch by grape vines. Simply stunning! It was a peaceful little stop where we enjoyed one of our small bottles of Prosecco as we listened to the water cascading down.
ABBAZIA DI SANTA MARIA
The fame of the municipality of Follina is linked to the historic Abbey of Santa Maria, which was built when a group of Cistercians settled there in the 12th century. The current church was reconstructed for the second time in 1305 and completed in 1335. In the magnificent cloister, a commemorative plaque on the wall near the door bears the date 1260, namely, the year it was commissioned by Abbot Tarino. It is undoubtedly one of the most attractive Cistercian cloisters because of its harmonious architecture; at the center there is a traditional large monolithic basin with a fountain surrounded by columns with capitals decorated with traditional Medieval motifs.
AGRITURISMO LA BELLA
After a good chunk of the day was spent exploring, we decided to check into our agriturismo for the afternoon and get settled before dinner. Their kitchen was not open but the owner had a great recommendation for dinner at a local osteria that was right down the street. We wandered around the property for a bit- looking at the farm animals, and enjoying a glass of Prosecco (served to us on a silver platter) that was made from the beautiful vineyard that surrounded us.
COLLINE DEL PROSECCO/ PROSECCO HILLS
We had every intention to relax before heading off for a late dinner, but we were just so enamored with the beauty of the hills that we decided to take a quick drive around before we ate. The sun was beginning to go down and I thought maybe we could catch a sunset while out here! Yet, as we headed through the wine hills, one thing led to another (as it always does), and we came across signs for a Prosecco vending machine and a very unique place that I had read about. So we began following random signs for views and other “hot spots.” We ended up literally parked at the bottom of a vineyard- right up between the vines- and walked around parts of the hill. Osteria Senz’ Oste is a place where there are no innkeepers or waiters. Inside, you will find at your disposal typical food products of the territory, such as cheeses, meats, and wines, packaged and labeled with their price. You pay the bill yourself through the special automatic cash machine inside the cottage. There are numerous tables located outside along the panoramic path to enjoy drinks and snacks. This quaint little place is located in a three-story brick and stone farmhouse that was built in the late 19th century and preserved in its original state among the vines of the Prosecco di Conegliano and Valdobbiadene hills. It was a little picked over as we walked through but, nonetheless, it was a neat concept to see. As we continued walking up along the path we came across signs for the vending machine, and of course, we had to check that out! It turns out that you need to have an Italian ID to access the wine vending machines (which I kind of knew but wasn’t 100% positive). There is a black strip on the back, that when scanned, will verify the age of a person. Thankfully, we found a kind group of Italians who didn’t mind sharing theirs so that we could purchase a bottle! I could have stared at these views for days if I didn’t have a kid reminding me that it was getting late and our stomach’s were growling!
OSTERIA AL CAPOLINEA
The night ended with a fantastic multiple-course meal at the recommended Osteria Al Capolinea four minutes away from our agriturismo. By the end of this first day, I had had so much Prosecco that I thought maybe I would get another local glass of wine.. just this once. When I asked the waiter of a local wine that he’d recommend with my meal choices, he replied, “Have you heard of Prosecco?” with a playful smile across his face. I guess there’s no escaping it here! He continued to say, “Prosecco goes with everything!” Prosecco it was.
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!