Poggio bello

Vine-rows as far as the eye can see caress the hills, releasing seductive intimations

Hills carved by the work of Man over the centuries to transform what is commonly referred to as vine-growing into a set of ancient traditions that continue to prosper where the sun warms the gentle slopes between Conegliano, the town of wine institutions, and Valdobbiadene, the production nerve centre. Here Prosecco has reigned supreme for more than two centuries on chains of hills stretching from the lowlands as far as the foothills of the Alps. Vines grow at a height of between 50 and 500 metres above sea level, a chosen place where this historic variety, rustic and vigorous, appears with hazelnut colour shoots and fairly large and long bunches, with grapes of a deep golden yellow immersed in the brilliant green of the large leaves. This land can however offer much more. In the eyes of onlookers everything appears full of charm, interest and attractions in terms of history and art, surprises and often unexpected opportunities, preserved in the valleys or among the many villages scattered here and there, where the fun lies in getting lost while seeking out the ancient traces of human presence and the strong local culture.

Enchanted idyll

Conegliano, noble treasure-chest, guardian of priceless riches

Set between secure walls, halfway between the mountain and the plain and considered to be a fast means of access to Friuli, Conegliano has always been a strategic site. It dates back to the twelfth century, when a group of aristocrats organised a government around the fort and a well-populated village. In the eighteenth century the castle, a longstanding centre of power, was mostly demolished to supply salvage material useful for new buildings such as the “Palazzo Comunale”. Like the entire Veneto region, Conegliano too came under the power of Napoleon and finally the Austrians who developed its economy and infrastructure. With the building of the “Strada Maestra d’Italia” and the railway, the nerve centre of the town moved further south and in 1866 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy. Over fifty years later Conegliano was occupied by the Central Empires and suffered considerable damage. The town, famous for its artistic heritage linked to the name of the painter Giambattista Cima, a lively exponent of the Italian Renaissance who was born there in the mid fifteenth century, managed nevertheless to rise up again, thanks above all to the fervent economic activity which led to its rebirth and second life in a new splendour. This place is still today an important benchmark for the economy in northern Italy, one of the richest production areas in the “Triveneto” and the fulcrum of the so-called “stainless steel valley” which still exports its brands all over the world and spreads an entrepreneurial spirit deeply rooted in the social fabric. The same entrepreneurial spirit which was in Francesco Fabris’ blood and which combined traditional wisdom with progress and new technologies.

Labirinth of the hearth

Arfanta, where man silently observes a universe modest yet immense

The mystery and fascination of the migration of birds has always interested the Da Ponte and Fabris families to the extent that they built actual bird-watching lookouts. The love for nature and for everything that is part of it are therefore important nuances in the philosophy of Andrea Da Ponte, a philosophy which links the past to the present and which Francesco, son of Pier Liberale, has carefully preserved, still cultivating over the years the same passion inherited from his forefathers. This has led to the ancient snare of Arfanta, re-created for scientific purposes in 1956 and hid among the hornbeams of the “ragnaia” area of shrubs, a typical and important feature of historic Italian gardens, later a memorial site. This is a clear picture therefore of the historic tradition of a family who has always respected the environment, venerating the beauty and the simplicity of small things, following the rhythms of animals, plants and the same precious vines without which the art of distillation could not exist.