The Enchanting, Hilly Destination Wine Lovers Can't Skip On A Trip To Italy

Between Venice and the Dolomites, in the heart of northern Italy, lies the vineyard-draped region of Conegliano Valdobbiadene. The birthplace of Italy's most beloved sparkling wine, Prosecco, this humble area is an oasis for oenophiles. The area's steep hills, which are terraced with meticulously tended vineyards, are a testament to wine-growing traditions that have evolved over the centuries. The landscapes of Conegliano Valdobbiadene are so culturally significant that they were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.

The 30-mile Strada del Prosecco (Prosecco Road), which winds through Conegliano Valdobbiadene, should be on every traveler's bucket list for wine-tasting in Italy. The road provides visitors with world-class wine-tasting experiences in exquisite settings. It also gives them a glimpse into a profound relationship between humans and their land, the product of which is one of the world's most celebrated concoctions. Aside from wine, travelers can discover many other treasures along this scenic route: ancient hilltop towns, mysterious castles, and even a 12th-century abbey, Santa Maria di Follina, whose walls are decorated with medieval paintings. 

Wine tourism in Conegliano Valdobbiadene

The main attraction in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene region is wine tourism. In these parts, this often entails visiting family-owned wineries, where you embark on vineyard tours, tastings, and sometimes lunches with wine-food pairings. Those who don't want to be bothered with planning and navigation can sign up for an organized tour. Prosecco di Marca, for example, offers personalized half-day wine tours from Venice or Conegliano. These tours involve visits to a few area wineries, where different sun and soil combinations give rise to perceptible differences in the wines. 

You can also drive the narrow, winding Prosecco Road in your own vehicle; just be sure to appoint a designated driver. If you go this route, one highly recommended winery to visit is Col Vetoraz, situated high on a hill in Santo Stefano di Valdobbiadene. The Miotto family established the Col Vetoraz winery in 1838, specializing in what they refer to on their website as their "gentle" wines: Valdobbiadene DOCG and Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG. Sample various wines in their exquisite tasting room, with stunning views of the surrounding valley. Adami is another recommended winery along Prosecco Road. Its approach to winemaking emphasizes sustainability and offers fun and informative tastings.  

Try some food to go with that wine

By now, you probably need some substance to go along with that wine. You're in luck because the food scene in Conegliano Valdobbiadene is fabulous, too. For a rustic and offbeat experience about 3 miles from the Col Veteraz winery, try Osteria Senz'Oste. It's a stone farmhouse with outdoor wooden tables and a self-service restaurant operating on the honor system. 

Inside the farmhouse are staples such as bread, cheese, charcuterie, water, and even more Prosecco. Just take what you want, figure out what you owe, and leave your money in the designated box. Another quirky place is Locanda da Lino in Solighetto, where the tortellini is legendary, but so is the décor. The ceilings are adorned with hundreds of upside-down copper pots strung in a strangely appealing way.

For something more romantic, head to Locanda Sandi in Valdobbiadene, an ivy-covered inn with pathways that wind through enchanting gardens. Its specialties are snails, sopa coada, and meats grilled in a remarkable fireplace. Even more upscale is La Corte in Follina, the Prosecco Road's only Michelin-starred dining option. To top off your sparkling wine extravaganza, sample some DOCG prosecco gelato at Boutique del Gelato in Valdobbiadene.