The landscape of our hills: between vocation, identity and art

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Conegliano Castel Conegliano Castel

Our hilly landscape is not only beautiful but a sign of the rural vocation of the community and its identity imprinted in works of art of the past.

The hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene are the result of an evolutionary and adaptive journey that has lasted for millennia, during which our communities interacted with a fragile and difficult terrain and where viticulture has clearly prevailed, thereby demonstrating our attachment to our land and the high vocation of rural life. We still have traces of the latter in the ancient fortresses, the old mills, in the pictorial works and in the rural constructions. But above all it is in the legacy of the heroic practice of cultivating the vine on stretches of hills with slopes that seem to defy gravity.

The result was the shaping of places in a spectacular landscape that reflects the image of a life devoted to work and nature; fields of cultivated land bathed by the sun, luxuriant ancient woodlands, meanders carved by centuries-old water, steep slopes covered with green vineyards ready to present sparkling wine.

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE

It is, therefore, a cultural landscape that is not limited to the natural elements of which it is composed but includes all the tangible signs of the ingenuity and industriousness of small and very small nuclear families who, starting from the poorest conditions, have been able to adapt and create a model of social redemption and economic success recognized worldwide.

The expanse and value of this cultural landscape has been recognized since ancient times, culminating today in its designation by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. However, the tributes from the past, in particular from Renaissance painting, remain passionate and emblematic. Bellini, Giorgione and Cima of Conegliano are just some of the great masters whose art has been able to capture the beauty and essence of our locality with all its impalpable subtleties, the softness of light, the freshness of colour and the atmospheric presence of our rolling landscape. In their immortal works the landscape becomes symbolic and recognizable, particular and universal. Their paintings are like  photographs of the time when the landscape is a central character to be felt and experienced rather than an aggregate of elements to be described and inventoried.

GIOVANNI BATTISTA CIMA FROM CONEGLIANO

Giovanni Battista Cima of Conegliano was the master who best knew how to describe the vital beauty of our area.

He was a landscape artist, born in 1459 in the town of Conegliano, who lived for a long time in Venice without ever really abandoning his home town. We are the proud inheritors of his art that speaks the language of a man who wanted to express a balanced and peaceful sense of life, described with composure and serenity, calmness and grace, luminous beauty and an almost childlike charm. All this for Giovanni Battista Cima is reflected in the gentle landscape of our hills, tirelessly portrayed in the backgrounds of his paintings, loved with meticulous fidelity in the lines, in the houses, in the villages, in the waterways, in the trees, and in the tiny characters that populate it, always imbuing them with traits of a dreamed ideal. It’s a perfectly recognizable interpretation that today still attests to the significance of the hilly landscape for the people who live there, the rural vocation of a thousand years, and its importance as an identifying factor.

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