The picturesque hills of Italy’s Prosecco Region, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019, aren’t just home to one of the world’s most famous sparkling wines, but a beautiful cultural landscape to be explored on foot or by car.
While small hikes through the wineries are great to get a first feel for the area, there’s no better way to experience the best the Prosecco Hills have to offer than by driving the spectacular Prosecco-Road.
Traversing beautiful medieval villages full of historic stone houses and offering new amazing views of the breathtaking landscape around every corner, this was one of our favourite activities during our tour of the Veneto Region. I’ve compiled our top stops along the route into a fun one-day itinerary.
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Driving the Prosecco Road – A Suggested Itinerary
When exploring the region, we based ourselves at a wonderful homestay near the small town of Valdobbiadene. However, most people will likely stay in or near the bigger town of Conegliano, so I decided to use that as the starting point for my itinerary.
If you’re starting from anywhere else, you can just shuffle around the stops to paste together your own perfect route.
San Pietro Church in San Pietro di Filetto
Start your explorations of the area by driving north out of Conegliano to tiny San Pietro di Filetto with its cute Romanesque Church, famous for its medieval frescoes. The star attraction is the small Capella San Sebastiano, with vivid depictions of the Saint’s Martyrdom, but there are various other worthwhile paintings inside.
The church is only open regularly on Sundays from 3 to 6 PM, but any other time you can call 3293615869 and someone will come and open it for you. If you can’t gain access for some reason, you can at least check out the frescoes over the door, which are nearly as impressive as the ones inside.
Molinetto della Croda Watermill
Continue west to Refrontolo, where you can make a short detour north to Molinetto della Croda. The pretty watermill dates to the first half of the 17th century and sits picturesquely beside a small pond populated by gaggles of geese.
The scenic exterior can be visited any time, but during the weekend you can check out the inside and get an idea of how generations of millers and their families used to live here (pretty spartanic, as you might have guessed). Afterwards, you can follow the small brook above the mill to another pretty pond.
San Vigilio Viewpoint
Continue west along the Prosecco Road until you reach Col San Martino Village, where a narrow track winds into the hills to the small San Vigilio Church. It’s a one-way road, but you should still be careful driving up here, as it’s a super steep incline.
The church itself is pretty enough, surrounded by cypress trees as it is, but the main reason to come here are the sweeping views of the surrounding villages and vineyards. It’s hard to imagine a more quintessentially Italian landscape than this.
Lunch at Locanda da Condo in Col San Martino
If you’re hungry by now, you could stop at the pretty Locanda da Condo restaurant below the viewpoint to sample some local specialities, like Schiz cheese with polenta and mushrooms. With fresh energy, you can continue to Valdobbiadene at the western edge of the hills.
This pretty small town surrounded by vineyards is home to an attractive town square dominated by a neoclassical cathedral with a tall tower, as well as to an abundance of cafés and restaurants. Don’t miss the drive up to San Floriano Church for a great view of the village and the surrounding landscape.
We stayed at a wonderful homestay in this area and were supremely happy with the peaceful location. If you like to get away from it all, the hills around Valdobbiadene are the place to go.
Osteria Senz’Oste and a Short Hike through the Vineyards
Before starting the return leg to Conegliano, stop by Osteria Senz’Oste, where you can buy some of the local Prosecco (served in style by vending machine). You can take it with you or sample it while sitting in between the rows of grapevines overlooking the peaceful valley below. Talk about a drink with a view!
In order to get the alcohol out of your system before continuing the tour, I suggest taking a small hike through the surrounding vineyards. From the nearby village of San Pietro di Barbozza you can walk south along the small Via Cima, which is framed by the Sassi di Zoe, stone sculptures by local artist Angelo Favero.
Once you’ve passed a tiny hamlet, you can turn right and return to San Pietro di Barbozza by a trail running in between the grapevines, before continuing your drive along the Prosecco Road.
Santa Maria di Follina Abbey
In between the villages of Premaor and Farrò you can take a small detour north to Follina, to visit its 14th-century abbey. Inside, you’ll find an impressive golden altarpiece, but the star attraction is the pretty Romanesque cloister surrounded by intricately carved stone pillars.
The rest of the route keeps continuing through beautiful landscapes dotted by small medieval villages, before arriving back in Conegliano. If you’ve still got energy, you could check out some of the local attractions, like the small castle complex with its view tower or the impressively painted Sala dei Battuti.
Otherwise, you can just drop into the nearest Osteria in the blissful knowledge of having seen the best things the Prosecco Hills have to offer.
Prosecco Road Map
The small map below should give you a general idea of the route. A bigger version of the map can be found on the website of the local tourism bureau here.
Where is the Prosecco Road?
The Prosecco Road traverses the Prosecco Hills, a landscape in the central Veneto Region about 50 kilometres or 35 miles north of Venice.
How long is the Prosecco Road?
The entire return tour is about 75 kilometres or 45 miles long. If you just drive one-way from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene or vice versa, it’s about 40 kilometres or 25 miles. If you plan to the whole circuit, I suggest setting aside an entire day, as there is a lot to see along the way.
Renting a car in the Prosecco Region
While some public buses operate in the Prosecco Hills, driving the Prosecco Road with any kind of flexibility is really only possible with your own set of wheels. Try the box below to find the best deals on rental cars in Conegliano (or anywhere else).
Guided Tours of the Prosecco Hills
If renting a car isn’t an option for you, you can still experience the most important highlights of the region by taking a guided tour with a driver. This day tour, starting in Padua, stops at Molina della Croda, Valdobbiadene and the Osteria Senz’Oste, arguably the three prettiest places on the itinerary above. Have a look below for more options.
Where to Stay on the Prosecco Road
We stayed at the wonderful Casa Dolce Casa homestay near Valdobbiadene, which is located beautifully in between the vineyards and run by a super cordial family.
Otherwise, Conegliano has the best public transport connections to other towns in the Veneto Region and beyond. It’s a bigger town and thus has more options than the smaller villages in the hills.