The valley of taste
Pom Prussian: la Mela Prussiana (PH Marek Studzinski)

There’s a multi-coloured thread that connects nature, culture and good food. It goes through woods, alongside lakes and through villages steeped in history. It runs along the outline of the Prealps, linking Venice, the Prosecco Hills and the Dolomites, all UNESCO World Heritage sites. It follows the course of the Piave River with its clear waters until it reaches the Belluno Dolomites National Park. It’s Valbelluna, where time takes on a new dimension. Experience it. Slowly, following the rhythm of nature, as you walk through unspoiled meadows and visit villages lost in time.

Take Feltre, for instance. This “vertical town” is a real treasure trove situated just a couple of miles from the Vette Feltrine mountains, part of the UNESCO site. A place of inns, arches, historical palaces and ancient town walls. Explore its narrow back streets and take in the view. Then visit its magnificent palaces: the theatre, Teatro de la Sena, is a little gem; the Rizzarda Art Galley houses the wrought iron creations of Carlo Rizzarda and an extraordinary collection of decorative arts; the Civic Museum and Archaeological Museum; the archaeological site in Piazza Maggiore and the castle with its recently restored towers.

Then there is Mel, the “Village of the Venetian Republic”. It is one of the prettiest villages in Italy, with its narrow streets, old courtyards and charming corners, whose colours change with the seasons. Not far away lies Zumelle castle which towers above the Dolomites, taking visitors back to the Middle Ages, a time of swords and knights. On the other bank of the Piave, in Sedico, we find the ancient fortified village of Noal which boasts 3300 years of history. And the picture is completed by the Venetian villas which are dotted around the area, offering both elegance and practicality.

The Valbelluna valley also offers some tasty local fare. Breathe in its nature and enjoy its fruits. There is “Honey of the Dolomites” with six varieties, the largest number for a PDO in Italy. Apples, with a host of different names, types and colours that come in many shapes and sizes. Chestnuts and the Feltre walnut, the ‘Zucca santa’ (holy pumpkin) of Belluno, small fruits, barley, beer from the historical Birreria Pedavena brewery and local wines. These products of this unspoiled land can be enjoyed in dozens of dishes in local inns and restaurants. And then there are the mountain dairies. Here you can experience the true spirit of the mountains, with authentic values and simple, genuine hospitality that always tastes good.

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