Our trip starts in Soligo, a small village located in the heart of the Prosecco hills, approximately 60km north of Venice. The area is picturesque, with lush vineyards covering the slopes of every possible hill and old churches, abbeys, villas and ancient castles dotting the landscape. Prosecco has been produced here for centuries, but only more recently, thanks to the surge in its popularity worldwide, has the area captured the deserved spotlight. Nevertheless, still relatively few tourists visit this wine region each year, making it an ideal location for our week of walking, wine tasting and cultural discovery in a still very authentic rural part of Italy. Depending on the group arrival time, there might be some time for a quick orientation walk near our hotel.
This morning we transfer to the pretty town of Cison di Valmarino, one of the best-preserved villages in the Prosecco area, containing numerous historical monuments and buildings that reveal its past role as major feudal estate. The gentle walk follows a waterway, crossing tranquil woodlands, and passing by the ancient manor and fortress of Castelbrando, which offers panoramic views over the farmland and villages far below. The walk ends in Follina, famous for the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria, a mystical site enclosing one of Italy’s most beautiful cloisters. The monks were the first to give a boost to the development of the textile sector in this area, weaving wool here from the Middle Ages onwards. In the afternoon we return to the hotel and the remainder of the day is free to relax by the pool (in season) or you may decide to take an optional short walk to the hill of San Gallo overlooking the hotel. (10km, 3 hrs walking ) **
Today's walk takes us to the heartland of the Prosecco hills, namely Valdobbiadene, S. Pietro di Barbozza and S.Stefano. The majority of the winemakers are based right here, amongst the picture-perfect terraced steep hills which are arguably the prettiest of the whole Veneto region. Our walk follows a mix of man-made tracks and paths twisting through the vineyards, and offers spectacular views of the fertile landscape and hamlets perched on the hillsides. During the walk we will have the opportunity to visit of one of the top local Prosecco producers, whose passion for wine making goes back for generations in the family. After a tour of the wine cellars, we will have the opportunity to sample different varieties of Prosecco during a guided wine-tasting (included). We return to the hotel in the afternoon, with free time to enjoy a drink in the outdoor terrace, a dip in the pool or a visit to the spa. (12km walking, 5 hours including stops). **
In the morning we transfer to the pretty capital province of Treviso, a real hidden gem often overlooked and perhaps overshadowed by the neighbouring Venice. Rebuilt and restored after Second World War bombing, the town centre is a rambling maze of streets lined with arcaded walkways. The town is circled by a pretty wall and by waterways, which add to its very picturesque and elegant style. After a walking tour of the town's centre accompanied by a local guide, we enjoy some free time to wander around at our own pace and have some lunch (the world-famous Tiramisu was apparently invented in this city, so it is recommended trying some in one of the best cafes in town!). In the afternoon we leave the walls of Treviso behind and follow the water flow of Sile, the longest river of resurgent waters in Europe. This tranquil route through a nature reserve offers the opportunity to explore the local flora and fauna and brings to light many evidences of the age-old relationship between men and this river. Return to the hotel in the evening (10km, 3 hours walking including stops). **
After a short private transfer we reach another gem of the Prosecco area and the start point of today's walk: Villa Barbaro in Maser. The villa is one of the greatest masterpieces of the famous Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-80), and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is situated in the middle of a flourishing privately owned estate, and six of its rooms adorned by beautiful frescos are open to the public. After a short visit, we set off for our walk starting with a climb to Monte San Giorgio, overlooking the villa. The route will then veer west, following one of the original front-lines used during the First World War. The war affected most of this area as well as many other towns around the Prosecco hills. During the walk we are able to see the evidence and memorials of the epic deeds that marked the destiny of generations of people and the course of history throughout the world. Our end point is the elegant hill-top town of Asolo, known as 'the pearl of the province of Treviso', for its beautiful setting and charming historic centre. Free time and return to the hotel for dinner (10km, 4 hours walking including stops). **
Free day to relax at the hotel's pool (seasonal) or spa, visit the lovely town of Conegliano (the other major centre of Prosecco production and wine studies), or take a day-trip to the one and only Venice (only a short train ride away). **
Our final walk takes us above the Prosecco hills, to Mt Cesen, a humble, rounded, grassy mountain, and the highest in its small group of Venetian Prealps. Rising just above the Piave River at an altitude of 1570 meters it offers a stunning panorama and popular walking trails which cross mountain pastures, meadows and a landscape which differs completely to the one we explored earlier in the week. On a clear day, the views can stretch as far as the Eastern Alps, Dolomites, and Venice. In the evening, there will be the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic farewell dinner in one of the best local restaurants located in a panoramic setting in the heart of the Prosecco hills. (7km, 3 hrs walking including stops). **
Our trip ends in Soligo in the morning.
* 7 nights at 4-star hotel, all rooms en suite * 5 days centre-based walking and sightseeing; 1 free day * Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 18 yrs * Altitude maximum 1,570m; average 600m * Well marked trails and paths * Travel by private air-conditioned minibus
The trip includes all breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners and 2 wine tastings. The local food of the Prosecco has strong links to ancient traditions and uses mainly seasonal products grown in the area. It is typical country cooking, with plenty of delicious, genuine flavours, and makes great use of garden vegetables, herbs, wild berries, wild mushrooms, asparagus, game and cheeses. For breakfast, the hotel offers a large selection of cereals, fruit, homemade cakes, cheese and cold meats, along with tea and coffee of course. Packed lunches are normally provided for the walks, and consist of sandwiches with a fruit and snack. During the week there will be also opportunities to try some of the best local restaurants in the area which offer authentic cuisine and delicious homemade dishes such as 'spiedo' (spit roasted meat), wild mushroom risotto, gnocchi, mouth-watering handmade cured meats and cheeses, all washed down with prime quality Prosecco!
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