Italy's famous sparkling prosecco wine comes from vineyards that cover a picturesque valley, just north of Venice. While Champagne refers to a region, prosecco is the name of the grape that is grown on rolling hills that stretch from the town of Valdobbiadene past Treviso and Conegliano, as far as Vittorio Veneto. A couple of days driving along this "strada del vino" combines wine tastings in village cantinas, staying in charming B&Bs run by winemakers, and the chance to discover the local Veneto cuisine in rural osterie and trattorie.
Valdobbiadene is the capital of prosecco country, and the perfect place to start a trip through the vineyards is the historic Bar Alpino. It is difficult to believe that this osteria opened more than 80 years ago because the friendly young owner has recently renovated the place into a smart wine bar where over 50 different prossecos can be tasted by the glass. The clientele hasn't changed though – colourful winemakers stop off here at all times of the day. And the food is as traditional as ever, with delicious "polpettine" meatballs on sale all day, while locals crowd in around 6pm when the "porchetta" - roast suckling pig - is brought in from the baker's oven and sliced up at the counter.