A drive in the Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardy

The day was foggy in Pavia. It often is. The Po valley in Lombardia is known for its humid weather, even in the cold winter months. The fog often hovers above Pavia’s Ticino River, though sometimes the nebbia has a distinct mustard tinge and looks more like the industrial smog that wafts down from the outskirts of Milano. On days like that, it’s good to get out of town and head for the hills.

Driving around the Oltrepo wine growing district. Near Pavia, Lombardy.

After meandering through some delightful and very distracting small villages with hardly a soul in sight, we headed for the wineries, the tenute and cantine of the Oltrepò wine growing district situated in the hills next to and above the Po River. Ascending the foot hills and driving along country lanes, the road trip afforded excellent vistas, a fine contrast to Renaissance museum and church overload. No sign of the Visconti or Sforza ruling families up in these hills.

Above the Po

The Oltrepò Pavese region produces more than half of all wine made in the Lombardy region as well as two-thirds of its DOC-designated wines. As the area sits well above that infamous nebbia, it is clear and cool, enabling the production of delicate mineral tasting Riesling, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines made according to the méthode Champenois. At our first stop, the manager of Travaglino was a charming host and explained each wine style in detail. He also insisted we return for a wine tour of the cellars and property after lunch: as it was close to midday, restaurant recommendations were offered as NOTHING gets in the way of a decent Italian lunch.

Tenuta Travaglino, Lombardy

The superb Riesling sold at around €6.90 a bottle. If I lived a little closer, I might be making that journey into the hills each week. After a comforting Risotto Milanese at a country osteria, followed by a tour of Travaglino’s cellars, we headed back down to the town of Broni for another most unusual wine tasting. In some ways, it was more like an episode from Black Books. But that’s a story for another day.

Another cantina in Broni

A ‘borrowed’ map of the Oltrepo wine district, just because I love maps.


12 thoughts on “A drive in the Oltrepò Pavese, Lombardy”

  1. What a dreamy post . . . almost as if one was quite alone in the world of nature . . . and the risotto with a wine at that price would methinks appeal to each and every one of us. Then, of course, you place a ‘tease’ at the end!! And all of this just a hop and skip away from one of the big metropolises of Europe. When one is used to Australian distances and the endless vistas of gumtrees it does seem like a fairy-tale . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The drive in the hills was really good, and I wished we had more of those short village drives. Despite the seemingly short distances between places in Northern Italy, most road trips were horrendous. The traffic, the trucks, the fumes- just so busy and polluted. Travelling from Pavia to Verona for a day looked so easy- on the map. Give me the longer distances with gumtrees, endless skies and open roads.
      AbouttThat tease- I wonder if I have the photos to match the story floating about in my head.

      Liked by 1 person

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