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Valdobbiadene: Origin and meaning of the name (the first in a series of posts on the history of Prosecco)

Above: The village of Valdobbiadene can trace its history back to the High Middle Ages.

One of the earliest mentions of the village of Valdobbiadene (VAL-doh-BEE’AH-deh-neh) can be found in the History of the Lombards (also know as the History of the Langobards or Historia Langobardorum), a work probably penned in Italy during the 8th century C.E.

Its author refers to the village as Duplavilis, a toponym (place name) believed to be derived from the ancient Latin name for the Piave River (Plavis), one of the defining geographic characteristics of the area (we’ll have much more to say about the Piave River and its importance in upcoming posts).

Although it’s not clear when exactly the name became Valdobbiadene, most philologists (language historians) agree that the modern-day toponym is a composite of vallis, meaning valley or vale in Latin, and the ancient Longobard name, Duplavilis. In other words, it can be translated as the valley of the Piave [River Basin].

The Longobards (also known as the Langobards or Lombards) were one of the ancient nordic peoples who migrated to northern Italy during and after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The Italian region of Lombardy, directly to the east of the Veneto region (where Valdobbiadene is located), gets its name from the Longobards.

Thanks so much for reading: This is just the first post in a series of posts on the history of Prosecco, the places where it is grown and produced, and the people who grow and bottle it.

I’ve provided a transliteration of the village name above. It’s a mouthful for most Americans! It’s incredible to think how this tiny village at the foot of the Dolomite Alps is home to one of the most famous and beloved wines in the world!


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