Bubbly Time! Guide to the Prosecco Road in Italy

The Prosecco Road

What’s this, you ask?  A road full of bubbly Prosecco goodness? Sounds like something Willy Wonka invented but it is real! Officially called La Strada del Prosecco, the Prosecco road traverses the province of Treviso, just 50 km north of Venice. As if finding out the existence of such a magical place isn’t good enough, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t touristy! Can you even?
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

Prosecco:  Italy’s version of Champagne?

It’s tempting to make this comparison but it’s not really accurate. Champagne is a region as well a process, whereas Prosecco is a grape…kind of.  Prosecco is made predominantly from the Glera grape, formerly called Prosecco (named for the village of its origin, near Trieste).
Fun fact:  The name prosecco is from the Slovenian word prozek, or “path through the woods.”
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
Prosecco can be made in other parts of Italy but the best, the Prosecco Superiore is from the province of Treviso in the Veneto region. Since 2009 these wines were awarded the highest quality level for Italian wine, the DOCG (denomination origin controlled and guaranteed) appellation.

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

Some Fun History

 Prosecco Road
  • Vine-growing has been widespread in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene zone since ancient times
    • A memorial stone in the area recalls the words of a Roman centurion, mentioning the vendemmiales, celebrations on the occasion of the grape harvest (pic above)
  • In 1876, Conegliano’s School of Winemaking was founded, the first of its kind in Italy
  • In 1966, The Strada del Prosecco was set up, the first recognized Wine Road in Italy
  • The region’s application for UNESCO heritage status was accepted this year!

The unique combination of a moderate climate, cool Adriatic winds, special soils, and steep hills are why this region alone produces a superior Prosecco.  This landscape is striking not only in its beauty, but in the realization of the difficulty in cultivating this land.

 

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

How to Get There 

There are roughly 13 vineyards between the villages of Valdobbiodene and Conegliano, all small family owned and ran establishments.  Visiting all of them would be epic but it’s hard to do in just a couple days.  I know some of you are thinking, challenge accepted, and I totally support those efforts!

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

By train from Venice, it takes 45 min to get to the Conegliano Station. Here you can either rent a car, take the local bus or get a taxi. The bus does not come very frequently so perhaps get the schedule on-line ahead of time. Taxis are not simply waiting at this tiny train station but there is a phone number posted or you can pre-arrange with the hotel or guest house (which I recommend). However, this is not cheap.

*Tip:  Make sure you buy your train ticket from the correct Venice train station. The Venice Santa Lucia station is in the Venice tourist region and is the Ferrovia vaporetto stop. The Venice Mestere station is on the mainland closer to the airport.

Where to Stay

There are hotels and guest houses throughout the Treviso region. I chose to stay in Follina, a village conveniently in the middle of the region, about 40 min drive from train station and close to the wineries on the hills of Valdobbiadiene. A taxi from the train station to Follina is 35 to 40 euros.
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
We stayed at a charming little hotel called Hotel dei Chiostri. Breakfast was included and was one of the best I’ve had in Italy. You can book this hotel here:  Hotel dei Chiostri Booking
 Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
Or you can book a different hotel here: 
Booking.com

Getting Around

The Prosecco road isn’t the easiest place to visit because it is not a major tourist destination, which is kind of why it’s so wonderful.

Options:

1.  Self Drive

If you have a car, be very careful. Italians are very “confident” drivers and the hilly curvy roads can be heart stopping. You don’t want a drop of alcohol in your system for this.

2.  Arrange a Driver

You can ask your hotel for recommendations or use Oriana (yes…do this!). Oriana is the “Queen of Prosecco”. She is very entertaining and knows the region like the back of her hand. You can find her email and phone number here: Oriana Prosecco Tour

3.  Bus

This is challenging because they don’t run frequently, but they do exist. The hotel can help with more specific info. Here is the bus company’s website.

4.  Bicycle

This is a really fun and adventurous way to explore the area. Warning, the hills are pretty brutal and getting an early start to avoid mid-day heat is recommended! At times my friend and I had to stop and walk the bikes up the hill. We are not exactly Tour de France material. The trip from Follina took about 2 hours (with lots of breaks). Once you make it to the top, getting in between the wineries and restaurants isn’t too bad. Getting back to Follina is mostly downhill, which is glorious.
Not gonna lie, when Giovanni from Hotel dei Chiostri arranged these bikes for us, he seemed (rightfully) concerned about our biking abilities. When we showed up right at dusk to return the bikes, he was so overjoyed that he blessed himself while saying “Mamma Mia”. I thinks it’s safe to say we didn’t inspire confidence for some reason! Maybe it was my ridiculous outfit? Maybe it was  my friend Sarah repeatedly saying what a disaster the whole plan was.
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
 She’s going to kill me for this…

5. Day Tours From Venice

There are Prosecco road tours from Venice. However, I put this last because I think this is the least desirable option. I always like to spend the night somewhere to truly get a feel for a place and not be rushed.

The Good Part: Poppin’ Prosecco

Ok, now that you have made it here and arranged transportation, which wineries should you go to? Well, the good part of having Oriana drive you is that you don’t have to figure anything out. She will take you to three places. Just know that the prices for tasting vary from 5-7 euros for 3-4 wines. Sometimes there was no charge and sometimes if you bought a bottle (prices range from 8 to 12 euros), the tasting price was waived. Like most rules in Italy, these are not rigidly observed!
If you’ve ever been to Napa valley, this is NOTHING like that. These are small intimate tastings, often just you and either the owner or a member of the family. The lack of “commerical-ness” to the tasting is incredibly refreshing. Most places would like you to call ahead to reserve a visit time. Many tend to be closed for siesta time between 12 and 2.
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
 My friend Sarah with Oriana

Basic Terminology

DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita)

These wines have the highest denomination because they have conformed to the strictest standards. The quality is controlled and guaranteed.

DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata)

These standards are less strict than for DOCG wines. Therefore these wines are more commonly found.

ITG (Indicazione Geografica Tipica)

These are still considered good wines but don’t meet all the standards for DOC classification

Wines designated under the Prosecco Superiore DOCG are classified by their effervescence:
Spumante = Sparkling
Frizzante = Semi-Sparkling
Tranquillo = Still
The other classification is by levels of residual sugar.
Brut (0-12g/L)
Extra Dry (12-17 g/L)
Dry (17-32 g/L)

*note this is counter-intuitive to those of who associate “dry” with “not-sweet”! Here dry wines are the sweetest.

Millesimato means “vintage” and 85% of the grapes come from the harvest year indicated on the label.

Cartizze is known as the grand cru of the region, due to the ultra steep elevations that allow grapes to achieve ideal ripeness.  Cartizze wines are grown on hills that are completely south-facing with the oldest soils in the region.

A Few Notable Wineries (No, I didn’t visit all of them)

Adami

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
Here you will get a proper tour of the wine making facilities. Then the good part…tasting. The various wines available for tasting are explained and you can pick three to try.
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

Col Vetoraz

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
The views here are enough to make you cry, especially at golden hour right before sunset. The tasting table is situated in front of a wall of windows, looking out onto the glorious vineyards on the hillside.

Garbara

We were greeted by the daughter-in-law of the owners. She gave us a brief history of the winery and let us taste a few while playing with the family’s adorable elderly dog. This winery has the distinction of producing Cartizze. We loved the intimate atmosphere, and looking at old family photos from the winery. 
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

Ca’Salina

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
This is one of the more popular with a larger tasting room. Popular meaning we weren’t the only visitors, like the other places. Even though it’s more popular, it’s still remarkably uncrowded. The owner sits down with you and explains the different wines they offer. You can choose which ones and how many you want to taste. He is happy to let you try as many as you like. You want a brut?  A dry?  Hell even try a rose! Try them all!
I only regret that I couldn’t buy more. I WAS limited, considering I was traveling by bicycle.
The views here are to die for, especially at golden hour right before sunset. The tasting table is situated in front of a wall of windows, looking out onto the glorious vineyards on the hillside.

Osteria Senz’Oste

This translates to “restaurant without a host”. This is a self-serve winery with snacks. Sounds insane right? This would NEVER work in Miami. Basically there is a tiny kitchen with a refrigerator that has different cured meats and cheeses with the prices marked. You grab some bread and your meet and cheese of choice, ring it up yourself and pay the cash register. You can use credit card or cash and the machine will give you change if needed. There are cutting boards and knives and anything you may need. There are little tables outside with views for dayzzzz!
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

The Prosecco Vending Machine

This place has a vending machine for Prosecco. Yes, you heard me. As cool as that sounds, this thing aggravated me. You choose your bottle, put in the money (must be exact because no change for you) and get your bottle. The catch is, the machine asks for ID. It’s in Italian so this is not so clear. Another tourist told me that one must have an Italian ID card.
I’m at a loss to explain how this actually works because somehow in between cursing, punching in random buttons, and an occasional angry kick of the machine, I was rewarded by a bottle spat out at me. The Italian tourist who tried after me didn’t manage to obtain a bottle, even though he had an Italian ID. Don’t worry, I shared mine. This was a “share-y” place, with all tourists giving each other tastes of different meats and cheeses to sample.
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road
What I would advise you to do is get your food here, then walk across the street to Col Vetoraz (pictured above) and buy a bottle there. The quality and prices there are better than that machine anyway and less hassle with the vending machine.
Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

Here you can enjoy a frolic through the vineyards. Be careful though, the hills are steep! My white skirt didn’t stay white for very long.

Where to Eat

Salis Ristorante

This delightful establishment is near Garbara and Ca’Salina wineries, which makes it the perfect stop if visiting those places. The outdoor terrace is fabulous. The staff was very kind not to laugh at Sarah and I showing up dirty and sweaty from riding bikes for the past 2 hours in the summer heat. The food here was divine. A modern take on Italian classics. Of course we had a bottle of Prosecco also. This is the kind of place you will sit for at least 2 hours so don’t be in a hurry!

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

Handmade tortellini with olives…

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

Gnocchi made from Polenta and wild mushrooms.

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

 

Trattoria Foss da Marai

Also in the area, this restaurant is well-known to be one of the best. It was closed when I was there but just thought I’d mention it.

Al Caminetto Follina

This small “down-home” restaurant is walking distance from the Hotel dei Chiostri in Follina. For 25 euro each, we received a bottle of wine, 5 different appetizers, 2 generous pasta dishes and dessert. Much better deal (and quality) than anything we had in Venice!

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

La Corte

Also in Follina, this is a higher end gourmet restaurant that supposedly has a Michelin star. It is located in Villa Abbazio hotel, across the street from Hotel dei Chiostri.

 

I hope this guide to Italy’s Prosecco road is helpful. This is the perfect getaway for wine enthusiasts and those looking to escape tourist hell in Venice! This photo sums up how I felt the entire time here.

guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

 

Read More:  Hiking in Cinque Terre Italy

 

Do you like Prosecco? What’s your favorite wine region?

 

Pin it for later!

Guide to Italy's Prosecco Road

About The Author

csaradar

24 COMMENTS

  1. Claudia | 15th Oct 17

    Your pictures are stunningly beautiful and the food looks soooo tasty. I love food/ wine tours and I do love Italy. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • csaradar | 16th Oct 17

      You can’t go wrong with food and wine in Italy!

  2. akvilestan | 15th Oct 17

    Ohhh wish I knew this when we visited Venice but I’m sure I will be back for it… Prosecco is my favourite drink (after beer) & I would absolutely love to go on an adventure like that!

    • csaradar | 16th Oct 17

      It’s crazy how little know this is!

  3. Lynne Nieman | 14th Oct 17

    Now I have guide for my trip to this area which I have driven by but not visited. It’s on the list!

    • csaradar | 16th Oct 17

      I hope the guide is helpful when you do go!

  4. Cali | 14th Oct 17

    I did not know I had a favorite road…nor did I know there was a Prosecco road! How freakin’ exciting! Excellent guide, I have pinned for when I inevitably make it there myself!

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      Right! How can anyone not love this road!

  5. Sheisnotlost | 14th Oct 17

    Your pictures sum up your post. It must be an amazing place and agreed that the crowded Venice can really make you run for this kinda place. The restorante overlooking the vineyard is the perfect place and i might not move from there for hours. Thanks for sharing. Must visit on my next trip to Italy

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      Thanks so much for your comments. It is night and day compared to Venice, especially in July. I could have spent a whole week relaxing here.

  6. Adventurous Kate | 14th Oct 17

    I had no idea this route even existed — and I KNOW Italy!! Thanks for sharing a new region with me. I’m a huge prosecco fan so I’d love to do this next time I head up to Venice.

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      Girl you will be in heaven here!!! Can’t wait to read your post about it some day:)

  7. Tanmaya Godbole | 14th Oct 17

    Love prosecco!!! Can’t wait to go back to Italy and try all these places!
    Such a great guide 🙂

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      It was such a breath of fresh air to visit this place! Hope you make it:)

  8. Nana | 14th Oct 17

    Yet another beautiful place in Italy 🙂 Loved the photo of the Hotel dei Chiostri! Like going back in time, it looks so charming.
    Thanks for the guide in the different types of prosecco, that is really helpful.
    kind regards, Nana

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      Glad you appreciated it! I hoped I didn’t go overboard explaining it all but to me it is fascinating!

  9. Bernadette Jackson | 14th Oct 17

    That’s stunning – not just the countryside, but the architecture and flowers outside the restaurant too. I was imagining you with some elaborate Prosecco trailer attached to the bike, ready poised for a recalcitrant Prosecco machine to eventually produce its goodies. But seriously a fabulous trip, and all the better for being a bit of the traveled path.

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      Haha next time I will attach a trailer to my bike! Great idea!!!

  10. Eva | 14th Oct 17

    I stopped in Conegliano with my parents some years ago to stock up on wine there. I just don’t remember which winery we visited, we had a recommendation from someone who knows someone (word of mouth is always the best!). Had a really good time, but I generally love going wine shopping with my parents. They do it every year – buy loose wine and then bottle it at home. Something I really miss since I moved out of Italy…

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      That sounds like an amazing memory and you must have cool parents!!

  11. Michelle | 14th Oct 17

    Oh Italy, always charming and beautiful! This would be a dream trip for me. Thank you for sharing and your pictures were amazing. I felt as if I were there.

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      Italy is always a good idea isn’t it?

  12. Julie | 13th Oct 17

    I am huge fan of prosecco so this will be a must when we visit Italy! Your pictures are gorgeous and this food looks delicious

    • csaradar | 14th Oct 17

      I honestly didn’t know Prosecco could be this good. The quality here is astounding!

Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply