“The landscape is characterized by ‘hogback’ hills, ciglioni – small plots of vines on narrow grassy terraces – forests, small villages and farmland”, says a statement on UNESCO's official website, “Since the 17th century, the use of ciglioni has created a particular chequerboard landscape consisting of rows of vines parallel and vertical to the slopes. In the 19th century, the bellussera technique of training the vines contributed to the aesthetic characteristics of the landscape”. The final decision was taken by the UN's World Heritage Committee during its 43rd session in Baku, Azerbaijan.
What makes Prosecco hills so special?
It's a succesful outcome for a long-time battle, endured by the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG producers association which first promoted the nomination in 2008. During all these years, a great team work combined the efforts of producers, institutions, farmers and residents to point out and testify why the 97-square km Prosecco hills are so unique. The justification as a site of outstanding universal value takes into consideration many factors: its very specific, terraced natural landscape, the respectful interaction between people and nature during the centuries which gently molded its beauty through the vineyards, the cultural and artistical aspects (the hills having being depicted by famed Renaissance painters like Cima da Conegliano and Giovanni Bellini, just as they are still now) and the ongoing innovation as to vine cultivation techniques, in an area where vines have been growing for at least one thousand years.
A spirit which is perfectly embodied by the “Prosecco Route” (or Strada del Prosecco) project: a series of walking, historical and tasting itineraries that have been leading people through the area's nature and traditions for more than fifty years. Established in 1955, the Route promotes quality tourism experiences in the city of Conegliano and the nearby towns, along with food&beverage events. More than “just” a wonderful, tasty and sparkling white wine, so: drinking cool Prosecco is not the only reason why its homeland is worth a visit!
And, while you're there, make sure to tour not only the Prosecco hills in Veneto, but also the neighbouring Friuli Venezia Giulia region, where Prosecco vines grow too and whence maybe it also derived its name (probably from the Friulian town of Prosecco, near Trieste, also known as Prosek in Slovenian).
It's actually one out of 8 good reasons in Veneto and an astonishing, overall 55 ones in all Italy to come and visit the country: that's exactly the total amount of Italian UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Cover photo taken from Colline di Conegliano Valdobbiadene Patrimonio dell'Umanità Unesco Facebook page