Travel itineraries – In Friuli Venezia Giulia, the origins of Prosecco

There is a secret behind the most popular and most imitated bubbles of Italy, those of Prosecco. Many people think that this wine is born in Veneto, because the region is the largest producer. Though, the origins of this name, that has exceeded 400 million bottles in 2015, must be sought elsewhere: in beautiful Friuli Venezia Giulia and, in particular, in the area of karst, around Trieste. Grapes glera, that was cultivated for centuries Karst, would come around the middle of the eighteenth century in the hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, where a century later, the skill of local spumantieri gave that wine elegant robe today. Today the Prosecco Doc is an appellation that affects Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, with nine provinces involved in a big district that is pulling the economy of Italian wine. But, beyond the wine, What interested me is doing some sort of time travel, certainly enogastronomico, but also cultural, searching for the origins of Prosecco. A route by the views and stunning colours, in a territory to discover. Dutiful thanks goes to Consortium of Prosecco Doc that helped me build a trip so special and different from the usual paths.

Obvious starting point is Trieste: Central European historic city, severe and cosmopolitan, crossroads of the austro-Hungarian and Slavic culture, that preserves the characteristics of the borderlands. The imposing piazza unification of Italy, looking West, and offers unmissable sunsets, alone is worth a visit in Trieste: It is the second largest European sea square and the buildings that form the backdrop are impressive, starting from the Town Hall and the Palace of the regional government. Thinking that this place was for so long the real boundary between Western and Eastern world makes it very interesting and engaging. The Miramare Castle, residence of the Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg and wife Charlotte of Belgium: I've visited twice, but not on this trip, and I want to leave you the surprise to discover for yourself the haunting beauty. Trieste also hides places where the ' border ' is clearly seen as the Balkan town. And according to me is Trieste is a city for strollers ', especially in the alleys that look now the Hill now the sea, discovering bridges over the canals, basilicas (beautiful St George's Cathedral), bronze statues like that of Joyce or Pasolini, fountains and palaces decorated like lace. Set aside some time for a trip on the tram Opicina, that from the Centre of Trieste karst plateau leads to Villa Opicina: the Obelisk erected in 1830 in honour of Franz Joseph the Napoleonic road, enjoying a unique view of the port of Trieste.

I cannot but recommend somewhere to eat well, especially since I had an exceptional Guide: Silvio Rebula, Trieste doc, with 30 years experience in the tourism sector, read, multifaceted and pragmatic. The traditional cuisine of Trieste is predominantly meat, Although mainly in summer prepares especially the fish on the premises that have grown like weeds around the waterfront and that are, mostly, very touristy. Unmissable, for those who want to really get into the soul of Trieste, the Buffet da Pepi, in the city centre: Here you can enjoy all the parts of the pig, as they did in ancient times. Baked hams, brush head, language, capocollo, frankfurters, Cup, cotechini carefully selected by the owners of this historical triestino, serving tasty already from early in the morning, because when in Trieste is cold and the bora blows the real Trieste shake their charge with a hot sandwich stuffed with pork. Unfortunately on my last visit to Trieste I discovered that the restaurant closed By Mario (Via Campo Marzio, 2), one of the real ones, with wooden benches and straw paper on the table: I advise you to order the mixed starter fish (exquisite cod), Fried sardines, the fritto misto, the seafood risotto and local boundary, a bean salad and onion. Coffee and croissants, cookies, pastries (and here the traditional sweets refers again to Austria), try the traditional Caffè degli Specchi in piazza unification of Italy, the San Marco or Tommaseo. Quick advice on where to stay in Trieste: I chose the hotel Vis a Vis, a few steps from the unification of Italy: modern, with wonderful bathrooms, is owned by the nearby hotel Duca degli Abruzzi, where to take a romantic breakfast in front of the square and the sea.

After this digression we return to Prosecco. Just a few kilometres from Trieste is the place that gave the name to the Doc in 2009 and which allowed the recording and protection at European level. The small village of Prosecco (Proseco in triestine dialect and Prosek in Slovenian), located on the plateau of karst. Here are few glera vineyards, While in 1950 these hills were dotted with screws, with more than a thousand acres. If you want, You can reach Prosecco from the Napoleonic road which I mentioned earlier, in a 4 km long route with views of outstanding beauty. In the hills above Trieste, a few hundred meters above sea level, I met one of proud winemakers of the Carso plateau. In the village of Pišcanci (Sottomonte) works Andrej Bole, surname of Slovenian origin. His ancestors were the wine for two centuries. Andrei is in its sixth generation and care alone, with the help of the father, his three hectares of vineyards on steep terraces, protecting with fences and walls by wild animals. Yields about 12 thousand bottles, between red wine (Terrano) and white (Glera and Vitovska) which gets the namesake white. And for the feast of Saint Martin, in December, recalls the days gone by, producing the extremely rare “Prosekar”, old sweet and sparkling wine (a blend of grapes vitovska, Malvasia and glera), refermented in the bottle, accompanying festivities the tables of families, in the past, appreciated by the noble.

The North Eastern area of Friuli is a land of great white wines. In Corno di Rosazzo, in the province of Udine, bordering the Collio, the historical company Eugenio Collavini represents a must see. Manlio Collavini, with his sons Giovanni, Louis and Eugenio, lead a company from 150 acres. Castle owners Zucco-Cuccanea (Sixteenth century), produce excellent Chardonnay brut sparkling wine, an elegant and particular Sauvignon, an award-winning Collio bianco (Broy), the rare Pignolo (red wine from long aging) but Prosecco Doc, Despite not being considered the greatest representation of the territory (the same Manlio makes no secret you don't love him that much and to prefer native vines). A curiosity: the symbol of the cellar, as you can see in the CAP in the photo, is a Dachshund dog: It is a tribute to the dog Ribolla, which Manlio loved for a lifetime, and who now lives in every bottle Collavini Uncorked worldwide.

If you want to try the sumptuous Ribolla of Collavini (but also the Prosecco, that is still the most popular wines), You can also do this in the family Tavern: l’Osteria della Ribolla, where a young chef prepares daily with excellent raw materials a few selected dishes. In the menu: shrimp alla catalana (9 euro), Tuna Tartare at mojito (13 euros), Sarde in saor (8 euro), Pink prawn tartare with citrus fruit and scallop carpaccio (10 euro). In addition: meat starters like the tartare with a knife (10 euro) or the chianina beef carpaccio (8 euro); among the first courses: tuna pasta all'amatriciana, risotto with shrimp, sword and zucchini and then black ravioli with shellfish (everyone at 10 euros); the main courses are very simple and range from tuna steak (18 euros) until that fassona (13 euros). The kitchen is no frills, with dishes suitable for a casual dinner with friends. I recommend this place if you like to have lunch in the cellar.

At 15 kilometres of Corno di Rosazzo, Don't miss Cividale del Friuli, a small municipality founded by Julius Caesar with the name of Forum Iulii, that gave the name to the entire region: Friuli. Cividale is one of the few Italian and European cities that boasts examples of Lombard (Eighth century), and it is the project leader “Lombards in Italy, the places of power”, entered as overall project in Unesco World Heritage list. The jewels of Cividale are found mainly in the area of Gastaldaga, the old medieval quarter. Here we find the Oratory of Santa Maria in Valle, also known as Lombard Temple, and the Episcopal complex. Parked just outside the walls and hike through the Devil's bridge, passing over the Natisone, a river waters (in summer stormed to cool off) overlooked by some of the finest stately place. Then wander the streets from medieval and Renaissance light and don't miss, precisely, the Longobard Temple, the oldest architectural evidence of the Lombard period in Europe. A gastronomic stop to Patisserie Caroline (Corso Paolino d'aquileia, 10), to sample a slice of “gubana”, the classic Friulian cake (a leavened stuffed with hazelnuts and walnuts, raisins), or enjoy “strucchi biscuits” (Fried cakes with nuts and mixed with the Italian grappa).

San Daniele - Casa del prosciutto

You can't go to Friuli Venezia Giulia and not make a stop at the town of San Daniele (third city of the Friuli for importance in the middle ages after Aquileia and Cividale) where is one of the products of regional excellence but also Italians: prosciutto San Daniele. The 31 manufacturers make a ham curing phase lasts 13 months, that doesn't use preservatives, but resists time thanks to salt and optimal temperature condition, humidity and ventilation. You recognize from zampino, kept intact unlike other hams and raw material comes only from Italian farms. Get to know him better and taste it, but also to see the production and maturing, I recommend a secure address: the Casa del Prosciutto Alberti. And in June, San Daniele celebrates its main product with “Aria di festa”, a great event to which I recommend you spend a weekend. Among other things, Not only did San Daniele ham: a citation is a must for the 18th century villas, owned by the Patriarchs of Aquileia and the “Guarneriana library” containing unique manuscripts.

A few kilometers from San Daniele, in the village of Ragogna, I recommend a farmhouse where worth is staying is stop for dinner. Alessandra has quit his job in finance for a life more in contact with nature and opened the farm Casa Rossa ai Colli. The hotel has 8 rooms, of which 3 suites, with exposed beams and a breakfast worthy of note, served in a large kitchen rustic warmth, While the restaurant It is managed by the cooperative's Par Plasè’ (that means please): chef Matt Marchetti prepares simple dishes and very intelligent, starting from local raw materials and reinterpreting them with a creative touch. I spoke to a smart kitchen because not many staff brings to the table well balanced and well presented dishes, carefully mixing the forces and preparation times. From starters wins the quality of high quality products such as prosciutto San Daniele (7 euros), the meats of a local farm (7 euros), typical cheeses (7 euros) and cold salads of cereals. Among the first courses, everyone at 8 euro, very good gnocchi with eggplant in tomato sauce and thyme, the cold salad of barley and tomato soup with lavender and the Crepes with rabbit sauce. Among the typical dishes the inevitable “Frico” friulano potatoes with polenta (9 euro), morsels of rabbit (11 euros) grilled cheese with polenta (9 euro). Simple desserts: try a classic regional dessert like peaches in wine and ice cream (4 euro). In summer you can dine in the garden, in a green meadow, caressed by the breeze and by candlelight.

In Casarsa produces much Prosecco: Viticoltori Friulani La Delizia It is one of the largest cooperative wineries of Friuli. Born in 1931, Today it is a reality in which 450 members cultivate 2 hectares vineyard. Here the Prosecco represents about a third of the 20 million bottles produced. The Director, Peter Baki, made me discover what it's like to drive a fact used to move on large numbers and with so many types: For me, accustomed to cellars of small-medium size, La cantina “La Delizia” It was a real treat. Every thing – the size of the vineyards at the production areas, refinement, storage, bottling – is done on a large scale. And among the things that I got hit there is an experimental vineyard one piece made from 110 acres: an awesome extension, all in plain, where the vines are continuing at the eye, located a few kilometers from the country that gave birth to Pier Paolo Pasolini. Also important are kept within the vineyard nursery rarity throughout the region Friuli Venezia Giulia. Among the wines, some of them can be easily found even in large supermarkets, I especially loved those of line “Naonis”: Jader, a cuvée brut obtained from a careful selection of the best grapes; the sweet Muscat, light and fragrant and the Chardonnay sparkling wine.

One of the wineries that I most like is St. Simon, led by Anna Smith, together with Chiara and Antonio. Three brothers, they had taken other lives, other paths, and who decided to devote himself entirely to the company in the name of their parents, continuing the work begun by his great-grandfather Gino, continued by grandfather Antonio and their Papa Gino and by their mother Liviana. The winery takes its name from the 14th century church dedicated to Saint Simon in the municipality of Prata, in the province of Pordenone. Today is located in Porcia, not far, and is one of the most interesting fact of Prosecco Doc, that here was sparkling in 1984, the first in Friuli Venezia Giulia. I'm used’ a cellar that follows the concepts of social responsibility and it does this through the “Green Project”, a series of measures and guidelines that inspire the production, respect for the environment (absence of chemical fertilizers) the protection of flora and fauna up to energy savings. Beautiful colored bottles that Anna has made’ by chance and that today are produced in every color, Depending on the events that represent: the last bottles is the pink one, produced to support breast cancer research.

From Cantina San Simone I recommend you take a ride in nearby Pordenone, It's worth a visit to the plant early medieval old town. The ancient city of Portus Naonis va visited starting from ancient contrada maggiore, in which medieval and Renaissance palaces. Among these, the Town Hall, with its pinnacles and the clock tower, the Palazzo Ricchieri (XIII century) It now houses the Museum of art, the Palazzo De Rubeis, the frescoed Palazzo Gregoris largely with the history of the city and built by the rich Venetian families. In this city, There are nine buildings protected by the Istituto regionale Veneto Palladian villas, but Pordenone is also an interesting destination for lovers of industrial archaeology, given that in its territory there are the ruins of three major industries of the 19th century: the cotton mill “Amman-Wepfer” Board Meduna, mechanical weaving “Rorai grande” And the “Spinning Tower”. In town, There are many cultural events including the “Dedication Festival”, the “Silent film festival” and especially “Pordenone Law”, a literary festival of national importance.

Marco Lorenzonetto is a tireless. His positive spirit, practical, enthusiastic and concrete is that of many Friulians, who know the meaning of the word, but they also know the value of friendship, of an evening spent together and chat and have fun. One kilometre from the famous beaches of Lignano Sabbiadoro, the Cellar Lorenzonetto moves between the wines of Doc Latisana and Prosecco Doc. Upon my arrival at the wine shop I found a wonderful surprise: a plateau of the upper Adriatic cockles, a rare mollusc – whose origin is fully drawn and belongs to the sustainable fisheries – that you are fishing exclusively between Chioggia and Grado. Now, it so happens that I love fish and seafood, especially if undercooked, cold food, served on the ice and paired with local wines, in this case, Raboso Rosé and Pinot grigio, Prosecco Doc and Pinot Grigio. The cockles are molluscs, rare, fine, boiled meat and tangy flavor and eat them just opened is a unique taste experience: I must admit the envy at the ease with which the fishermen, adhering to the cooperative ' clams’ they opened the valves… I wouldn't ever be able.

For a truly gourmet break, head to Sacile, medieval town that is located on two islands of the river Livenza. Walking through the jumpers shaded by weeping willow trees, Marvel at the Cathedral of San Nicolò, Renaissance style; the seventeenth-century oratorio di San Giuseppe, but above all the buildings that are reflected in the waters of the river, built almost everyone from wealthy Venetian blinds. Here you will find the restaurant (that is also the Inn) Il Pedrocchino, built in the image and likeness of the owner Piero, a connoisseur of Champagne. Let yourself be guided by him in the choice of wines while, at the table, you have to accept the idea that there is no menu and that the plates are read by Donatella, wife of Piero. Treatment is by Michelin, with homemade bread and Focaccia, appetizer, pre dessert and petit four offered at home. The prices are adequate to the quality of the offer, with medium to high costs. Delicious Yellowtail carpaccio with crispy vegetables and passion fruit, as well as the Seared Scallops and spider Crab Salad, delicious risotto with pepper cream, Anguilla, sour cream and parsley and baked redfish. If you want, You can read a more detailed review de Il Pedrocchino here, in the appropriate section of the blog. Anyway I recommend heartily, as long as they do not have budget problems.

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