Follina is a little-known town in the Veneto, a gem of a place, where travellers can sojourn to experience the unspoiled countryside of the Veneto, a region of vines and villas one does not soon forget. Nestled in Prosecco wine country, the area sparkles like the wine it produces. Hotel Villa Abbazia makes a perfect base between the lagoons of Venice and the alpine city of Cortina, both easy day trips from this alluring villa. Giovanni Zanon is a gracious host, who enjoys helping his guests explore and enjoy the hidden treasures of the Veneto.
The town dates back two thousand years, but Follina really grew to importance with the arrival of the Cistercian monks in the middle of the 11th century. The development and growth of the wool industry added to the city’s prosperity. Villa Abbazia was built around 1700 and there are records that indicate that in 1750 it was already a hotel named La Rosa. Then the structure was used as a lanificio, or wool factory, until the early 1900s when the wool industry began to die out. The Zanon family purchased the villa fifty years ago; in 1991, the family transformed it into a hotel, lovingly furnished and preserving the elegance of a private residence. The Zanons named their hotel Abbazia after the captivating 14th century Cistercian Abbey that is across the street. They purchased the adjacent Liberty-style villa and its spacious independent suites became part of the hotel in 1996.
Their restaurant, La Corte, opened its doors in 2002. Although a relatively small town, Follina boasts many restaurants. The competition does not put La Corte Restaurant at any risk. Chef Marco Fattorel’s cuisine satisfies even the most discerning palate. Just start with their eggplant mille-feuille in basil sauce and tomato couli and you are on your way to a meal of memory. And of course, Prosecco is a necessary indulgence before dining, with dinner, or any time of day while one is in the Veneto.
All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson
Hotel Villa Abbazia ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson