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The story of a town in a valley near Vicenza to explore the area and bring old traditions back to life

The last of the three workshops in the PIARACCESS project, called “Wine Valleys and their Stories. Lands to savour” for those operating in the tourism sectors and the press was held in Palazzo Toaldi Capra di Schio (near Vicenza). The project involves 16 towns in the areas to the west and north of Vicenza (Chiampo, Arzignano, Castelgomberto, Cornedo Vicentino, Gambellara, Isola Vicentina, Malo, Montebello Vicentino, Montecchio Maggiore, Montorso Vicentino, San Vito Leguzzano, Schio, Sovizzo, Trissino, Zermeghedo, Monteforte d’Alpone).

The event was an occasion to speak about the new integrated tourism project in this area, where tradition, nature, history, culture and food and wine come together and create ideas and opportunities for a holiday with a very high quality of life. The last of the series of three workshops focused on various aspects relating to tourism and food and wine. The workshop was opened by journalist and TV presenter Carla Urban, who with picturesque images of Schio, the Leogra Valley and Small Dolomites, the areas of the “Great War”, highlighted the importance of the wine and food sector and products made with traditional methods, along with the heritage in terms of history, art and landscape. The example taken was that of bread, which is at the centre of a battle led by the bakers in Schio, who have rejected industrial bread.
The main heritage in terms of food and wine of the Wine Valleys and their Stories also include Durello wine made with the classic method, organic apples, red ‘fagiola’ beans, truffles, taleggio goat cheese, honey, white carrots, porcini mushrooms, San Martino pears, minimalist symbols of this valley and the hearty local dishes such as: soppressa, organic sourdough bread, dried salted cod, potato pudding, boiled meat, valleogrina rabbit. This is a long list discussed by Gianni Spagnolo, part of the La Serenissima Agno-Chiampo local association. He placed a special focus on opportunities to attract new tourists and promote the area’s distinctive qualities and outstanding features.

The considerations made by Mr. Spagnolo were followed by Giorgio Santacaterina, a recent trustee of Slow Food Schio. “In recent years this area has seen a number of young people go back to agriculture, with a special focus on indigenous crops”. A real strong suit to promote tourism in these areas are ‘alberghi diffusi’ (literally ‘widespread hotels’, conceived as a hotel spread across various historic buildings), educational farms and tourism
associated with the food and wine sector. Schio’s industrial vocation is revealed by how the town was planned. For instance, there is a whole district for those working in factories. This is the beginning of another story, which enriches the experience of tourists, made of families and men that have made this area famous across the world, as shown by “Lanerossi”, an extraordinary industrial archaeology complex that once produced fine yarns exported all over the world. Other examples of the great industrial vocation of Schio, dating back to the second half of the 18th century, are the old printing presses from the end of the 15th century that used the Gutenberg method, the inventor of the printing process.

During the workshop,  Fabrizio Stelluto, President of the Regional Association of Agro-Environmental Journalists highlighted the importance of marketing to support the area as well as the enthusiasm of locals and Aldo Lorenzoni, stressed the importance of the PIAR- ACCESS project called “Wine Valleys and their Stories. Lands to savour” as the start of a project to bring out the value of the 16 towns and organise resources and excellence in a unique example of history, nature and traditions associated with wine and food.