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Wonder  }  Mountains and hills

The five days of Vo' - 5 DI 6

Boccon and the Devil's Fork

Day Five

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Where is

Veneto

Via dei Colli, 54, 35030 Vo PD, Italia (67m s.l.m.)

Directions
map

The road up to Monte Venda starts from the square of Vo', but the Euganean initiation cannot be said to be complete without paying homage to Palladio, or rather to his epigone architect who in the eighteenth century gave final form to the sumptuous Villa Sceriman: the façade facing the garden, with its high columned pronaos jutting out from the rustic wings with large chimneys.

We exchange a few words with the host in the shade of an ancient jujube tree, then move to the underground cellar, barrels and barriques exhaling an intoxicating aura of oak and wine. The visit closes in the 'barchessa,' the porticoed farmhouse with spaces now reserved for wine tourists. I read at the first place on a blackboard: 'sopressa nostrana,' a sausage of astounding caliber and persuasive grain, the non plus ultra of Veneto charcuterie, to be crowned with Montagnana ham, Asiago cheese and whatever else for a proper "Veneto snack," says those behind the counter. And then wine, only spoiled for choice.

Barrels and barriques for aging Euganean Hills wines destined for Villa Sceriman's historic label.

It is no coincidence that the village you reach after a few curves is called Boccon, with apparent etymological reference to Bacchus, god of wine and the pleasure of the senses. Sensual, indeed, are the undulations all around, drawn by the vineyards, which higher up creep through the woods. Along the roads, trattorias and tempting cherry trees.

Climbing from Boccon to Castelnuovo, the singular outcrop of volcanic rocks that popular imagination has christened the Devil's Forks.

Continuing the ascent to Venda, the volcanic nature of the places becomes more and more evident. With binoculars, I follow a hawk disappearing behind a ridge of dark rock with vertical splits. Seized with curiosity, I ask one passing by- "It's the Devil's Forks!" - and have him explain to me how to get there: I have to follow the Alta Via dei Colli for a stretch, red and white trail marker No. 1, and then climb up through the woods. The Euganean Hills are like this: the shady slopes are placed by chestnut trees, but where the sun beats it is Mediterranean scrub.

The view of the southeastern foothills of the Euganeans from one of the vertiginous notches of the Forche del Diavolo.

At a certain point the trail is lost and I simply follow the base of the rocks until I catch a glimpse of a notch in their profile: dark, rough effusive stone in layers fractured by primordial forces; I look out, but immediately retract because the vertical wall forms a dizzying leap; all around, under the rushing clouds, is the countryside with olive groves and vineyards over which rise the cones of Mount Vendevolo and the outermost Mount Lozzo. I stay like this, with the palm of my hand resting on the burning stone, listening to the wind in the woods. I am ready.

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Francesco Soletti

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