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A stroll with Zanzotto

A walk along the Via dei Troi trail, retracing one of the poet’s favourite walks to discover the fascinating area around Pieve di Soligo
12 - Camminando sulla Via dei Troi

By Giovanni Carraro

Pieve di Soligo has earned the nickname The Pearl of the Quartier del Piave – an area of plain nestled between the Piave river to the south and the Treviso foothills to the north. Its ideal location just next to a long ridge of hills makes it an ideal starting point for many hiking and biking outings. Take a stroll along the Soligo river and it’s easy to lose yourself in the nostalgia of bygone times, as the old millrace in Borgo Stolfi and historic villas create an air of discreet nobility, which is in perfect harmony with the town’s more modern development. The presence of the Soligo river inevitably splits the town into two halves, with the true right bank known as the Trevisan side and the left bank called the Contà side. This simple stroll is an ideal way to explore the area, while a short detour connects with the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Hills Trail.

 

THE WALK

The Via dei Troi walk starts at the Ponte del Contenzioso (The ‘contentious’ bridge) in the town centre. It got its name from the fact that for centuries it’s served as the border between the two different parishes divided by the Soligo river. Not far away is the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, home to an altarpiece by Francesco Da Milano (16th century) and the 17th-century Palazzo Morona, which boasts a splendid internal courtyard and private chapel. Cross to the true right bank of the Soligo river, to the corner of Palazzo Balbi Valier Sammartini and take via Borgo Stolfi, passing in front of the old millrace. Then recross the river via a footbridge that leads to the small Parco del Donatore. This is the start of the cycle/footpath that skirts the walls of the Balbi Valier boarding school, before entering the Soligo riverside Park. Turn right into via Aldo Moro and follow this for a short distance. Then turn left into via Sant’Anna, and head back onto the cycle/pedestrian path that leads through a wooded section with splendid views northward towards the San Gallo Hills and the pre-Alps.

Shortly afterwards, you reach Solighetto along via Cal Sega. Follow this left to pass in front of the ancient forge Maglio Pradella. The factory dates back to the 17th century, and represents a fine example of industrial archaeology.

Everything is as it was four centuries ago: three hydraulic wheels driven by the millrace that branches off the Soligo river drive two powerful trip hammers, a drill, grinding wheels, a set of shears and a bellows.

The forge produced agricultural equipment and remained active until 1984. Now continue north and admire the hill of Monte Villa on the right, which is affectionately known in local dialect as the Montagna de Soighét (The Mountain of Solighetto). When you reach the former Molino Marin watermill, make a short detour onto via Roma and via Chiesuola to re-enter the cycle/footpath, which then crosses via Lino Toffolin and the main road. After skirting round the Soligo winery to the north, continue along the river to reach the Ponte degli Artiglieri bridge and the end of the walk.

From this point, it’s possible to make a short detour from Ponte degli Artiglieri northwards on via Croda to connect with the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Hills Trail. Total time required 10 minutes, distance 0.8 km.

Photos by Giovanni Carraro.

 

ANDREA ZANZOTTO

Photo by Danilo De Marco.

Among Pieve di Soligo’s most famous residents was Andrea Zanzotto (1921 – 2011). “His poetry is percussive, yet never noisy. Perhaps his metronome is the heartbeat” wrote the journalist Montale in a review in the 1960s, describing his language as direct yet impenetrable, oftentimes difficult to understand yet never arrogant, and always warm and passionate. He was an artful poet, capable of adorning his works with anything from elaborate Latin to simple Veneto dialect.

Every corner of Pieve di Soligo is packed with memories of this great poet, who was born here in 1921: his birthplace in Cal Santa, the surrounding countryside, the water and the hills all served as the source of inspiration for a great many of his poems, where the prevailing theme was the landscape. Zanzotto considered the Quartier del Piave area to be a true work of art. For him, the Soligo river flows through “a very tender valley”. He was so fond of his land that the profound changes caused by economic development would serve as a source of reflection in many of his poems. Considered by critics to be one of the most important poets of the 20th century, to the townsfolk of Pieve di Soligo, Andrea Zanzotto will be forever known as the “Poet of the Hills”.

 

Article originally published in Visit Conegliano Valdobbiadene magazine Spring Summer 2024. The entire magazine is available here.