24 Hours in Asolo

by Tracy Kaler  |  Published February 27, 2024

About an hour’s drive from Venice, Asolo is the ultimate respite. The town’s timelessness, unhurried pace, acres of vineyards, and dramatic mountain backdrop make it one of Italy’s most captivating hamlets.

Views of the Asolo hills (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

Many visitors to Northern Italy have their hearts set on Venice and who can blame them? While the capital of the Veneto region, with its labyrinthine layout and romantic aura, should be on any bucket list, a hidden gem an hour away is just as enchanting, but without the tourist crowds. Asolo––about 50 miles northwest––is arguably one of the country’s most captivating hamlets and the ultimate respite from Venice. Dating back almost a thousand years, the town is made up of winding alleys, a piazza that seems lost in time, and beautiful views of the surrounding wine region. With such a decorated history, it’s no wonder Asolo has long been loved by artists, writers, and poets.

Situated in the foothills of the Dolomites, Asolo has a majestic mountain setting. The charming village, set within walls adjoining an ancient fortress, is marked by cobbled lanes, Piazza Garibaldi––a main square centered around a 16th-century fountain––medieval structures including a 10th-century castle, and arcades lined with galleries and upscale shops.

Asolo has a decorated history. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

Asolo has drawn its share of intellectuals and other notable people for decades. Eleanor Duse, Robert Browning, and Ernest Hemingway, all have connections to Asolo. Villa Freya (Via Guglielmo Marconi, 138), built between the 18th and 19th centuries, is an elegant estate where British-Italian writer and explorer Freya Stark once lived. Perched at the entrance to Asolo, the villa promises a quiet place as it overlooks the painterly landscape of the Pedemontana and the Euganean hills. Wander into the property’s garden––a tapestry of botanicals and architectural elements, including Roman ruins––and immerse yourself in nature.

Villa Freya is an elegant estate where Freya Stark once lived. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

Just outside the town, quaint villages dot the hillside “crus,” where Prosecco, the vibrant sparkling white wine prominent in the Veneto region, is so popular it practically drips from its pores. Likewise, the Montello Asolo sub-region produces excellent still wines; find varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

It’s easy to get caught up in Asolo’s allure. The timelessness, unhurried pace, acres of vineyards, and dramatic mountain backdrop may leave you craving more. Here’s an overview to make the most of your time in Asolo.

Asolo is one of Italy’s most captivating hamlets. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)


Go to Asolo for the charm and breathtaking scenery, but set aside some time for the wine. Whether you prefer Extra Brut (driest), Brut, Extra Dry, or Dry (sweetest), Prosecco can be found everywhere in this pocket of Veneto, where 64 wineries produce 24 million bottles annually. Crafted mostly from the Glera grape, the wine must contain 85% of the indigenous fruit to be labeled Prosecco. This effervescent white is beloved for its fruity profile, freshness, and food-friendliness. It’s ideal as an aperitif or a pairing with northern Italian classics like Asiago cheese and salami, white asparagus, and creamy risotto.

One of the region’s biggest Prosecco players, Villa Sandi (Via Erizzo, 113/A 31035 Crocetta del Montello) is housed in a Palladian villa dating to 1622. The producer’s vineyards adorn the hills in both Valdobbiadene and Asolo DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), the highest designation in Italian wines. Grapes have grown in the vicinity for centuries, and Giancarlo Moretti Polegato continues the tradition, honoring his family’s legacy, producing awarded wines, and leading the winery to its certification for biodiversity. Offering an impressive portfolio of sparkling wines, Villa Sandi hosts various tastings, master classes, and tours of its underground cellars, a one-of-a-kind experience highlighting the history, art, and landscape of the Prosecco region.

Villa Sandi is housed in a Palladian villa. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

Giusti Wines (Via Arditi 14/A Nervesa della Battaglia), with its sleek architecture melding with peaks, valleys, and vine-covered fields, is situated in Nervesa della Battaglia in the Montello hills. Passionate owner Ermenegildo (Joe) Giusti returned to Treviso in 2004 to bring his family’s vineyards back to life after working for several decades in Canada. Beginning with just two hectares (about five acres), he’s now one of the largest landholders in Veneto and crafts a variety of world-class wines. At his contemporary tasting room––a showpiece unto itself–– try several Asolo Proseccos, still whites, and reds like Merlot, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, and Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG, made from grapes grown in Giusti’s vineyards in other northern Italy appellations.

Besides producing world-class wines, Giusti has a contemporary tasting room in the Asolo Prosecco region. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

In Venegazzù, a territory in Montello, Loredan Gasparini (Via Martignago, 23, Volpago del Montello) produces its share of Prosecco, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other varieties. The winery is named after Count Piero Loredan Gasparaini, a descendant of Leonardo Loredan, the Doge of Venice. It was Piero who brought the Bordeaux grapes to Montello after a visit to the French wine region. Seizing the winery’s reins in 1973, Giancarlo Palla has been instrumental in producing Prosecco in Montello, a sub-region widely known for its red varietals. The result is a robust portfolio, and arguably some of the region’s most audacious wines, ranging from the Asolo Prosecco Superiore to a Metodo Classico––a bubbly made from Chardonnay grapes in the classic method––to Capo di Stato, a daring Bordeaux-style blend. The mélange of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec create an intense, well-structured, and silky red wine. Loredan Gasparini welcomes visitors for tours, tastings, and vineyard walks.

Wines at Loredan Gasparini. The Capo di Sato (left) is a daring Bordeaux-style blend. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

Where to Stay

About ten minutes from the village, Progress Country & Wine House (Via Palladio, 27/C) provides guests with the opportunity to stay on a wine estate. A beautiful property where vines mingle with olive trees makes for a relaxing retreat in the countryside. The nine apartment-like accommodations assume a modern, minimalist vibe, with plenty of space, luxury amenities like bath products and slippers, and full kitchens. Head downstairs to the cellar for a guided tasting of the winery’s organic wines and olive oils. The Col d’Acelum Extra Brut Prosecco won the Drinks Business Prosecco Masters 2023 medal.

Stay on a wine estate at Progress Wine & Country House. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

British poet and playwright Robert Browning lived in what is now Hotel Villa Cipriani (Via Canova, 298) an elegant 18th-century house repurposed into a luxury boutique hotel mere steps from the walled village. Feel like a movie star––Catherine Deneuve, Orson Welles, and Peter O’Toole stayed here––in one of the 28 rooms and suites, all gracefully adorned with traditional appointments. Guests can grab a light meal in the garden or opt for a Bellini––Giuseppe Cipriani’s boozy creation made from Prosecco and peach purée––at sunset. The hotel also offers a more formal restaurant and bar with an attached terrace, as well as a seasonal heated pool featuring a whirlpool, sun beds, and panoramic views of the Asolo hills.

Where to Eat

Depending on the season, energetic servers greet guests with snacks like fresh cherries and potato chips at the decades-old Caffè Centrale Asolo (Via Roma 72). The indoor-outdoor eatery is a town favorite for an Aperol spritz, coffee, light meal, and Prosecco (of course) by the glass or bottle. Hanging out for an hour or two allows one to realize the splendor of life in Asolo. This café also happens to be one of the town’s best spots for people-watching since it faces Piazza Garibaldi.

Caffè Centrale in Asolo is one of the best spots for people watching. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

At Pizzeria Bar Cornaro (Via Regina Cornaro), choose from more than 40 types of pies ranging from marinara and Margherita to specialties like “Freya” crowned with green asparagus and prawns, and “Sophia Loren,” dressed with blue cheese, arugula, and radicchio. Pre-pizza, opt for the clams with garlic and extra-virgin olive oil or the salmon crostini. Pastas and secondi are also available, but once one feasts their eyes on the Pizza Mayor––a doughy base scattered with salami, chanterelles, semi-dry tomatoes, and fresh basil––little else will compare. Negronis, Italian craft brews, and wines from various regions, including Prosecco, complete the Cornaro experience.

For an upscale evening with tons of ambience, book a table at Ristorante Villa Cipriani  (Via Canova) in its eponymous hotel. The seasonal spot, plating Mediterranean cuisine, plucks ingredients such as radicchio, porcini mushrooms, and wild herbs from the area’s local markets. In keeping with the brand’s other namesake eateries, the restaurant menu features a handful of Cipriani’s mainstays like baccalà mantecato (salt cod) and rice pilaf with curry scampi. In pleasant weather, dine on the terrace and revel in the garden, Asolo valley, and Monte Grappa views.

A short drive beyond town, Osteria Alla Baracca (Via Sassetti, 23, Monfumo) promises an exquisite and innovative dining experience, with each dish thoughtfully plated and paired with local wines. Meat––think mixed grill of lamb, beef, chicken, and pork––is the restaurant’s forte. But the chef doesn’t miss with the white asparagus risotto, the pillowy potato gnocchi, and for dessert, the splurge-worthy tiramisu. In temperate weather, dine al fresco under a canopy steps across the road from the restaurant and feel a deep connection to the Asolo hills looming in the distance.

Dine al fresco at Osteria Alla Baracca and feel a deep connection to the Asolo hills looming in the distance. (Photo by Tracy Kaler for TravelMag)

Getting To Asolo

There is no direct train service to Asolo. The most trouble-free way to travel there is to hire a car or a driver. Keep in mind, you will not need a vehicle in the historic center but will need one to venture to the countryside.