Italy's Prosecco Hills - Now A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Why The Prosecco Wine Region Is So Special And Why You Should Plan A Visit Soon


Italy has yet another reason for national pride, namely “The Prosecco Hills UNESCO World Heritage Site“.

Are you an enthusiast of Italian wines?   

If so, then you are undoubtedly familiar with Prosecco.   

But what you may not know is, that the region where Prosecco is produced has recently been granted the prestigious World Heritage status.

I moved to Italy and have been living in Conegliano, one of the small villages in the Prosecco Region.

Conegliano is nestled among the picturesque Prosecco Hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene, living here for the past two years has been a source of profound satisfaction.

Hiking and exploring the rugged slopes of the pre-Alps, which look out over the Prosecco Valley and the hills of Prosecco di Conegliano, is a must when you visit this area.

Did You Know This About Prosecco?

Prosecco is made from a minimum of 85% of the ancient Glera grapes – a white grape varietal.

The remaining 15% is made up of combinations of the Verdiso, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Perera, Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Noir varieties.

Prosecco is Italy’s top wine export to foreign markets.   

In fact, Italy now exports nearly 3 times as much Prosecco as France exports Champagne – its version of sparkling wine. 

The breakdown of sparkling wine by Europe’s leading wine exporters is roughly as follows:

Italy 43% with 273 million liters of Prosecco

France 15% with 94 million liters of Champagne

Spain 10% with 65 million liters of sparkling Cava

While many people around the world have come to love Italy’s famous Prosecco wine, few know much about the special place where the most popular Italian wine is produced.   

This very special and little-known wine region is one of the best Italian sites and wine regions you can visit while traveling in this hilly area of Northern Italy.

The recent inclusion of the Prosecco Hills onto the UNESCO World Heritage List has further emphasized the uniqueness of our landscape and the cultural heritage it encompasses.

The Protection of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG

7th July, 2019 during the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee, our incredible vineyard-covered landscape was officially granted the prestigious UNESCO designation.  

On the day of the official inclusion of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area into UNESCO’s world heritage list (as Italy’s 55th world heritage site), the governor of our region shared his immense joy and gratitude to the UNESCO world heritage committee in a moving speech.

“The declaration of the Prosecco Hills as a UNESCO World Heritage Site marks an important day in our history.

 The UNESCO recognition not only honors the cultural sites of the Prosecco Hills but also reinforces our commitment to sustainable development. 

As residents, we understand the importance of maintaining an effective ecological network within our hills.

The buffer zone and the steep slopes of the hills play a vital role in protecting the unique ecosystem and supporting the growth of glera grapes, the key ingredient in our world-famous and beloved Prosecco.

– The governor of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia

Conservation For Future Generations

The declaration of the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene as a UNESCO World Heritage Site was an important step in the protection and management of our agricultural landscape. 

The consortium of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, in collaboration with the competent ministries and the governor, has developed a comprehensive management plan to ensure the sustainable development of this registered area.

Led by the president of the consortium, effective ecological networks have been established, and a buffer zone put in place to safeguard the Prosecco Superiore hills from encroachment and inappropriate development.

What is the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG?  

DOCG = Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita

The DOCG designation is given to certain very special Italian wines.   This is in fact the highest classification Italian wine can be awarded.   

DOCG-labeled wines are the best wines in Italy.  

This designation ensures that the wines from this region are of the highest quality and have undergone rigorous testing and certification.

This classification also means that there are controlled production methods (controllata) and guaranteed wine quality (garantita) with each bottle.

Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG is a designation that represents a specific area within the larger Prosecco region in Italy. 

Nestled in the rugged terrain of the Valdobbiadene hills, this renowned region is known for its exceptional production of Prosecco wine.

The Valdobbiadene hills, characterized by narrow grassy terraces and steep hills, provide the perfect conditions for cultivating grapes used in producing Prosecco. 

Located in northeastern Italy’s Conegliano area, this region has a long-standing tradition of cultivating vineyards and producing high-quality, tasty wines.

The traditional cultivations in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG region embody the essence of winemaking in this area. 

The steep hills and unique terrain require meticulous farming techniques and hand-harvesting of the grapes. 

The Prosecco vineyards, which are usually relatively small, are carefully managed on narrow terraces, where the vines are exposed to optimal sunlight and soil drainage, resulting in grapes with exceptional flavor and character.

This unique wine region found in the Valdobbiadene hills, with its small plots of vines, is a specific area within the larger Prosecco region.

It is well-known by locals for its rugged terrain, narrow grassy terraces, steep hills, and exceptional quality of the wines produced right here in Italy’s northeastern Conegliano area.

Visiting The Prosecco Hills and Valley

The Prosecco Hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene hold a special place in the history of Italian wines.

Dating back to the 17th century, our region has been renowned for producing the world-famous sparkling wine, Prosecco. 

The local vineyards are a testament to the expertise and dedication of local winemakers who have mastered the art of viticulture over generations.

Our region’s cultural sites and cities, such as the charming villages of San Pietro di Feletto, Pieve di Soligo, Vittorio Veneto, Conegliano, Asolo, and Valdobbiadene are all located in the province of Treviso, and all are deserving of a visit.

Best Time To Visit The Prosecco Hills

If you are considering an Italian wine-tasting holiday in Italy, be sure to give particular attention to this little-known and very special location – the Prosecco Hills UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

There are two best times of the year to visit Italy and the Prosecco wine region.

One of these times is in May when the weather is warmer and wineries are open for tastings.

Another excellent time to plan your visit is during grape harvest season in September.

International tourists have not yet truly discovered this area. 

Most visitors are European and from locations such as Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.  

While visiting Northern Italy, you may also want to visit another one of Italy’s “secret wine regions” the lovely Piedmont region on the northwest side of Italy bordering France and Switzerland.

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Author Info:

Picture of Nathan Heinrich

Nathan Heinrich

Nathan is a writer, designer & horticulturist. He is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of "All Roads Lead to Italy" Magazine & host of the Top-10 Travel Podcast, "I'm Moving To Italy!". Nathan was born and raised in a 6th generation farming family in Northern California, he is currently, a dual Italian citizen, living in the Prosecco Valley of Northern Italy, near Venice.

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