A perfect 4-day pre-cruise trip to the Prosecco region of Italy

The Prosecco region, famed for its sparkling wine, lies in northeastern Italy, between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene in the Veneto region. This enchanting area is a tapestry of rolling hills, lush vineyards, and charming medieval villages, offering a perfect escape for a pre-cruise adventure.

If you are heading to the Prosecco region, fly into Venice Marco Polo Airport. Whether you’re setting sail from Port Marghera in Venice or the cruise ports in Trieste or Ravenna, this airport provides easy access to the heart of Prosecco country.

We recommend booking a rental car in advance for pickup at the airport. Driving through the region allows for a flexible and immersive experience, and the roads are easy to navigate. If your cruise departs from Trieste or Ravenna, consider arranging to return your rental car there instead of Venice. Opt for a vehicle with GPS navigation to ensure a smooth journey through the picturesque landscapes of the Prosecco region.

Pick up can at the airport or at your hotel in Venice
Collect your rental car at the airport

If you prefer to visit Venice first, transport from Marco Polo airport is inexpensive and convenient. Buses leave right outside the arrival terminal, and the signs are easy to read and follow. Buy your ticket inside the terminal at the ticket counter before you enter the bus, and remember to validate the ticket onboard. We have the best tips for hotels, transport, and walking itineraries here.

Easy transport from Marco Polo airport to Venice
Transport directions outside the arrival terminal at Venice Marco Polo airport

Day 1 – From Venice Marco Polo Airport to Arfanta

  • Collect your luggage and proceed to the car rental area.
  • Pick up your rental car; having a car is the easiest way to explore the region comfortably. We recommend that you do not book a car larger than the size you need for you and your luggage. In busier towns, parking is often allowed on the side of the road, so a large car is not always optimal.
  • Enjoy a scenic drive from Venice to Arfanta, in the heart of the Prosecco hills. The journey takes about 1.5 hours.
View from room at Hotel Ristorante Da Tullio in Arfanta
The view outside our hotel room window at Hotel Ristorante Da Tullio in Arfanta
  • Check-in at Hotel Ristorante Da Tullio in Arfanta:
    • Arrive at this charming, family-friendly hotel nestled in the heart of the Prosecco vineyards.
    • The friendly, welcoming hosts speak a little English, but not much, but everything worked perfectly. This small village is a real gem away from the main tourist routes.
    • Each room has an ensuite bathroom and is simply and beautifully furnished with modern amenities and crisp white linens. The bathrooms have toiletries and a hair dryer but bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste. Most of the rooms have authentic wooden beams, light oak furniture, and beautiful wood floors.
    • The hotel features a fantastic terrace with breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards.
  • Dinner at Hotel Ristorante Da Tullio:
    • Dine at the hotel’s cosy restaurant, with its picturesque log furnace and excellent menu.
    • Enjoy a selection of local Italian dishes and wines from the region.
    • The restaurant’s menu highlights local foods, ensuring an authentic culinary experience.
    • Spend a peaceful evening on the terrace, soaking in the stunning views and the tranquil atmosphere.
Cheese platter at Hotel-Ristorante Da Tullio
If you like cheese, try the fantastic cheese platter with local delicacies.

Day 2 – From Molinetto della Croda to Cartizze and onto Rolle

After a delicious breakfast, wander the small village before checking out. The village of Arfanta has only 70 residents and little in the way of facilities apart from the hotel. The views are stunning, so be sure to take plenty of photos.

Check out and pack up your car. Drive towards The Molinetto della Croda, an ancient mill in the Lierza valley. It is a unique, picturesque spot with plenty of parking and a picnic area. The Molinetto is a typical example of 17th-century rural architecture. It was built in stages over many years, and the original foundations were laid on the rock of the mountain, the “Croda.”

Molinetto della Croda, an ancient mill in the Lierza valley
Molinetto della Croda with its waterfall

The old mill is a symbol of local rural life. It has been restored with great care. It is now owned by the Council of Refrontolo.

Just a short drive away, you’ll discover the charming area of Refrontolo, home to the Toffoli Vincenzo Wine Shop.

Here, the owners warmly welcome you with a glass of their exquisite wines. Inside, you can browse a list of offerings with prices, and if you find your luggage too full, they are more than happy to ship your selections to your home. We highly recommend trying their sparkling Prosecco Superiore di Conegliano, the smooth Valdobbiadene DOCG, and the Colli di Conegliano DOCG, a refined red wine.

The Toffoli Vincenzo Wine Shop
Visit Toffoli Vincenzo Wine Shop

The next stop is Valdobbiadene. Stop by and experience the unique L’Osteria senz’Oste. It can be tricky to park, but it is so worth it! L’Osteria senz’Oste is a little inn that is “hostless”. You can serve yourself to any food in the fridge, often simple bread, meats and cheeses, then leave a donation. We prefer to continue past the inn and climb the footpath to the top of the hill. Here, you can put euros in the vending machines for food, water or wine, then take a seat at the picnic tables and enjoy the view.

The unique and hostless L'Osteria senz'Oste
The hostess inn – L’Osteria senz’Oste

For an after lunch espresso or glass of something cold, head towards Salis Ristorante Enoteca, built into the steep hillside. Sit out of the terrace and admire the view; it’s an ideal stop for a short break or an alternative for lunch if the picnic style of L’Osteria benzoate does not appeal to you.

Continue to the highlight of the afternoon: a Prosecco tasting and tour in Cartizze.

The distinct flavour profile and superior quality of Cartizze Prosecco
The premium Prosecco area of Cartizze

The terrain of Cartizze is what sets it apart from other areas within the Prosecco region. The combination of its southern exposure, well-drained soils, and microclimate results in grapes with higher sugar levels and more complex aromas. These factors contribute to the distinct flavour profile and superior quality of Cartizze Prosecco.

We visited the Pietro de Conti Cartizze vineyard in Cartizze. Here, the winemakers use centenarian vines to make spectacular Prosecco. With the help of an expert guide, you can learn the process, tour the vineyard, and taste the wines. You will need to book in advance for this unique experience.

Cartizze is the epitome of Prosecco excellence, representing the ultimate quality wine within the region. Its unique terrain, exceptional grape quality, and the dedication of local winemakers combine to create a sparkling wine that is exquisite. For wine enthusiasts and travelers alike, exploring Cartizze offers a unique insight into the heart of Prosecco's finest offerings.

Later in the afternoon, with the Cartizze Prosecco order of your favorite bottles organized, head to the hotel for your second night in this idyllic setting.

Book a room before you leave home at Gastaldo di Rolle, a cosy Bed and Breakfast in sleepy Cision di Valmarino, Rolle. This village ony has around 50 inhabitants and is super peaceful. Ask for a room with a view, and you won’t be disappointed – this is quite possibly one of the prettiest views of the Prosecco region you will experience.

Parking is easy, and right in front of the small hotel is a wonderful local restaurant, and indeed the only restaurant in the village.

Amazing views at Gastaldo di Rolle
View over to Gastaldo di Rolle

Day 3 – Visit Treviso, Conegliano & Vittorio Veneto

Your friendly host at Gastaldo di Rolle serves a buffet-style breakfast in the small, simple breakfast room in the Bed and Breakfast. After checking out, begin the drive to your first large-town destination, Treviso.

Treviso offers an authentic Italian experience
Walking into the center of Treviso

Treviso, often overlooked by visitors in favor of Venice, is a truly livable town and an authentic Italian experience. With its picturesque canals, medieval architecture, and vibrant local culture, it’s a perfect destination for families looking to explore a less touristy yet equally enchanting part of Italy.

The Allure of Treviso

Treviso is known for its well-preserved medieval walls, narrow winding streets, and serene waterways that weave through the city. History, art, and culinary delights combine to create a unique and welcoming atmosphere.

Explore the Historic Center starting at the Piazza dei Signori, in the heart of Treviso, a bustling square surrounded by elegant buildings and lively cafés. It’s a great place to start your exploration and soak in the local vibe.

At Palazzo dei Trecento: A beautiful medieval palace that stands as a testament to Treviso’s rich history. Its architectural details and historical significance make it a must-visit. Treviso’s canals are often compared to those of Venice, but they offer a quieter, more relaxed experience. Stroll along the waterways, cross charming bridges, and discover hidden gems at every turn.

The Treviso Cathedral, also known as the Duomo, is a stunning example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Inside, you’ll find beautiful frescoes and artworks that add to the city’s cultural heritage.

We opted to stop at Osteria la Colonnetta in town. You can order a spritz, coffee, ice cream, or, as we did, a selection of Cicchetti.

The experience of eating Cicchetti

Cicchetti (pronounced “chee-KET-tee”) is a beloved culinary tradition in the Veneto region of Italy. These small, flavorful snacks or appetizers are similar to Spanish tapas and are typically enjoyed in the late afternoon or early evening, often accompanied by a glass of wine or a spritz. Cicchetti offers a wonderful way to sample a variety of local flavours.

Cicchetti - small, flavorful snacks or appetizers similar to Spanish tapas
Cicchetti at Osteria la Colonnetta, Treviso

The tradition of Cicchetti revolves around visiting local bacari (singular: bacaro), small, casual wine bars that serve these tasty bites. Bacari are scattered throughout Venice and its surrounding areas.

Exploring Conegliano

Next stop is Conegliano in the heart of the Prosecco region of Italy, renowned for its rich viticultural heritage and stunning landscapes. The historic center is dominated by its impressive medieval castle, Castello di Conegliano, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Conegliano is also home to Italy’s oldest wine school, the Scuola Enologica, further cementing its status as a hub of enological excellence. Stroll through its scenic streets, sample local wines, and shop in the local market and boutiques.

Discovering Vittorio Veneto

Just a short drive from Conegliano, Vittorio Veneto is another gem in the Veneto region. The town is divided into two main areas: Ceneda, with its historic cathedral and bishop’s palace, and Serravalle, characterized by its medieval architecture and busy piazzas.

Vittorio Veneto is an ideal destination for wine enthusiasts, surrounded by many good vineyards. We chose to spend the night at La Vigna di Sarah. This vineyard stands out not only for its excellent Prosecco wines but also for its commitment to sustainable and organic farming practices. The vineyard is set amidst picturesque rolling hills and has breathtaking views from its garden.

Owned and operated by Sarah Dei Tos, La Vigna di Sarah focuses on producing high-quality Prosecco Superiore DOCG. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the vineyard, learning about the unique methods used in cultivating the vines and the winemaking process. The vineyard also offers charming accommodations, ask for a room on the top floor with a view when you book!

Day 4 – A day trip to Marano Lagunare

We recommend a trip heading east to Marano Lagunare for a completely contrasting landscape. Leave behind the rolling vineyards of Prosecco country and explore the coastal charm of a traditional fishing village.

Start your day early with a leisurely breakfast, a cup of espresso and a pastry at one of the local cafes. Then, set off on your drive to Marano Lagunare, a journey of approximately 1.5 hours. When you arrive, there is plenty of small car parks in the center of the town. Pay with a card or cash at the ticket machine.

Take some time to wander through the narrow, winding streets of this historic fishing village. The town is known for its charming canals, colorful houses, and traditional fishing boats. Visit the main square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, and explore the nearby market to get a sense of the local life and culture. We called in at Bar Sport di Formentin Flavio for another delicious espresso.

A boat trip on the lagoon and a seafood lunch

Head down to the harbour to take a boat tour of the lagoon to fully appreciate the area’s natural beauty. Many local operators offer guided tours that provide insight into the lagoon’s ecosystem, fishing traditions, and history.

You’ll be taken out to the straw-roofed fisherman’s cottage in the middle of the lagoon and spot white pelicans and numerous birds of prey. We were lucky enough to watch the local fishermen hauling up crabs in their nets, ready to sell at the next day’s market.

Marano Lagunare is renowned for its fresh seafood. Enjoy a delicious lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants, where you can savour local specialities such as grilled fish, seafood risotto, and marinated octopus.

We ate lunch at Trattoria Alla Laguna Vedova Raddi, which was faultless. Book in advance, as it gets busy, and opt for seating outside by the water. Pair your meal with a crisp white wine from the nearby Friuli region, such as a bottle of Pinot Grigio from the nearby vineyard of Villa Russiz.

Ready to board your cruise ship

Finish your trip by heading back to Venice, Trieste, or Ravenna to return your rental car in good time and be ready to start your cruise. Explore our Ravenna, Trieste, and Venice articles for expert tips, information, and advice about transport, where to stay, and walking itineraries.

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.

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