Pordenone. A quaint but bustling town visited mainly by, as I gather, 1) Italians doing business in the furniture industry or 2) Americans affiliated with nearby Aviano Air Base. Not quite the Michelangelos and Raffaellos you’re probably looking for, but Pordenone does offer a quaint centro storico (historical center) and a long promenade sprinkled with shops to suit every taste. It also offers:
(Super tiny wedding limo only for adults and children my size and smaller…or for clowns)
(Pordenone’s centro storico)
(Fascinating not-quite-a-boy-not-quite-a-monk façade whose eyeballs seemed to follow me everywhere…I guess big brother was watching, sort of)
I came to Pordenone by accident, mostly because I fall into category #2 above thanks to my awesome brother who is stationed there with the U.S. Air Force...and mostly because I was desperately seeking Prosecco and I didn't have a car to get me to the Strada del Vino in Conegliano. I took the bus from my hotel in Prata di Pordenone to downtown Pordenone – and only spent 2 euros!
I’m a huge fan of Prosecco, so much so that I was saddened to see Tom Stevenson’s not-so-pro-Prosecco quote (especially because I admire his work so much) in Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia 4th Edition, read, “Latin-lovers adore the soft bubbly produced by this grape, but most of it is boring, and it will take a revolution in quality to convince me that this grape is suitable for dry sparkling wines.” My guess is that Tom hasn't yet had the privilege to truly experience life in the Veneto through a simple glass of Prosecco as I have. I do give him some props, however, as I believe some of the product in the market – especially that destined for the U.S. market – could stand to undergo some quality improvement.
But….Prosecco is so much more to me than an exercise in benchmarking varietal typicity. Prosecco, to me, is Venice. It is Veneto. Prosecco transports me to a part of my life spent in Venice that I hope to experience again. Prosecco, more than any other wine from the Veneto, takes me back to Venice and to memories of some of the best days of my life spent in La Repubblica ` del Leone – in local Venetian dialect, La Serenisima Republica de Venesia. I smell the aroma of Prosecco and I remember wandering the strade and canali of Venice on Easter Day, popping into a local bar to stuzzicare l’appetito (to whet the appetite) with a glass of Prosecco in the late-afternoon winter sunset. The faint fizzing sound of Prosecco’s bubbles reminds me of the sound of women’s Italian high heels clicking down the ancient stone-paved strade di Venezia in the cold, damp Adriatic air of Venice’s winter. I hear the music of Zucchero’s Donne in the distant background of my daydream. Prosecco in the mouth reminds me of home cooked dinner in the Veneto – delicious minestre di legumi (bean soups), comforting paste con delicati sughi di carne (pasta with light and delicate meat sauces ), refreshing frutti di mare (seafood) in the summer, and coniglio (rabbit) on Easter Day, and formaggi freschi (fresh cheeses) for dessert.
Above and beyond all of these memories, Prosecco is a casual toast to an old Italian friend, made in an anonymous bar with the sun quietly setting behind the Santa Maria della Salute, punctuated by a mutual unspoken agreement shared between glances that this was a great day to be alive in Venice.
You bet I’m going back to this someday – and Prosecco...good, bad, passable, coarse, or indifferent...will be making new memories right beside me.
On your travels to Pordenone, I might offer the following suggestions:
My favorite Prosecco - at a good price point for a good wine:
Col Vetoraz Valdobbiadene Cartizze Superiore`
A great enoteca (wine store) that I enjoy shopping at in Pordenone:
Via della Colonna, 29
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 58
And staying nearby Aviano Air Base in a quite town, close to Pordenone and the Air Force Base, I prefer:
Hotel Prata Verde
Via Angelo Dino De Carli, 42
Prata di Pordenone (Pn) 33080