Though small-city living has its advantages, many North Americans who come to Italy aren’t looking to socialize much, and tend to settle down in the country. Veneto, more so than Emilia-Romagna, has lots of isolated hills and relaxing vineyards, extending northeast from Verona and Padua toward the border with the Friuli region. This is the land of Prosecco, Italy’s answer to Champagne. The gateways to this hilly region, along the Brenta River and wedged between the Dolomites and the Adriatic, are the small towns of Cittadella, Castelfranco, Bassano del Grappa, and Marostica.
Like Ferrara, these villages seem cut from the pages of a storybook about knights and princesses. Both Cittadella and Castelfranco are surrounded by moats. Marostica’s castle has a giant chessboard where actors in medieval costume play a human-sized version of the game. Bassano del Grappa is the architectural gem of them all, perched around a covered bridge designed by Palladio. Though the area is rustic, it has been discovered by outsiders, and the prices for an old home can reflect this. For a crumbling stone farmhouse near Marostica and Bassano del Grappa, expect to pay about ‚200,000.
Better deals can be had farther north, into wine country. In the Valdobbiadene Valley, close to Vittorio Veneto, old farmhouses with stone wine cellars sit in fields, shaded by patches of forest overlooking the Prosecco vineyards. Here, a 150-square-meter farmhouse, with the walls, roof, and floors in good shape and sitting on five square kilometers of land, sold recently for about ‚150,000. The facade is loaded with windows and newly fitted with wooden shutters, and the property is bordered by a waterfall.
On the lower end of the price scale is a ‚70,000 hilltop house of the same dimensions, with solid walls and a decent roof, but sketchy floors. Dozens of others are in the ‚150,000 to ‚200,000 range, and massive estates in decent condition can be had for less than ‚300,000, small vineyard included.
Prosecco and Grappa Country Photo Gallery
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