Ciao Bella

By staff June 7, 2007

Notes from the road in Italy.


By Judi Gallagher


 I find myself fumbling for any possible American words that can begin to describe the hospitality of our experiences here in Treviso, Italy—which happens to be one of Sarasota’s Sister Cities. This beautiful region—a mini-version of Tuscany that boasts rolling hills and acres of Prosecco vineyards—is just 26 miles outside of Venice. I’m traveling with two other food and wine professionals and so far, our experience has been culinary nirvana.

The Prosecco vineyards of Treviso


We felt like family from the moment that we arrived. We were driven to Cosa Costa, a sweet little farmhouse inn and restaurant in the town of Collalto, where a welcome four-course lunch awaited our arrival. It was prepared by award- winning chef Dominico. Within minutes of lapping the last of the roasted pork with fresh garden peas and yes, deep olive oil poured over freshly baked breads and pasta, we were whisked off to the Villa Di Maser, home of Countess Diamante Luling Buschetti and husband Vittorio Dalle Ore, for a wine tasting and dinner.

A warm welocme at Casa Coste


If you have never eaten fresh cherries selected personally by the countess at the region’s cherry festival while admiring frescos that surround the walls and ceilings of an Italian villa, you might  consider this for your next trip abroad. Once again, we were swept away by the warmth and friendship that abounds in Treviso, as our gracious hosts and new friends brought us to the town of Asolo (our great theater’s namesake).


The winding roads led to breathtaking vistas as we entered this small, elegant town on the hillside. We were on our way to meet the mayor across from City Hall and join him and a few city commissioners for a special Italian version of a wine spritzer made from Prosecco and a light orange liqueur. Now that’s what I call a town hall meeting! As the rain began to lightly fall on the cobblestone streets, the countess guided us to a seamless, never-ending dinner of baby octopus, sweet pea soup, crispy polenta with prawns and pasta so perfectly al dente with sardines and olive oil that I nearly wept. (OK, wept is melodramatic, but I did certainly shed a tear.)

The Countess Diamante and Vittorio show their prize purchase at the cherry festival.


Anyone who follows the arts in Sarasota needs to set his or her sights on the provence of Treviso—the magic is everywhere, and the sense of family is as sweet as the porcini mushroom risotto. And it’s barely been 12 hours since we arrived!


Have you tasted similar Italian magic? Share your stories by posting below.

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