Among the Prosecco Hills, La Corte is an expression of both the best Venetian hospitality and fine haute cuisine. Located inside Villa Abbazia, an ancient 18th-century residence part of the Relais & Chateaux association, in the center of the delightful Follina, it enchants for the refinement of the rooms and for the magnificent garden with an internal courtyard, from which the restaurant takes its name, one of the most beautiful in the region.
Since 1965, the year in which the building housing La Corte was purchased, Villa Abbazia has been the reign of the Zanon De Marchi family who, year after year, built here an elegant “village within the village”: in 1975 they added the discotheque, in 1982 the shop (wonderful, a must-see!), in 1996 it was the turn of the villa that now houses the hotel and in 2002 the restaurant was added. A cult for beauty and quality also handed down to the current generation, in particular Carlo, an attentive maître d’, while his mother and aunt take care of the mise en place and decoration of the premises, truly with a refinement worthy of a king. Not surprisingly, because from the king of pop, Robbie Williams, to the members of the English Royal Court, here celebs and artists are regulars.
The kitchen is led by the young chef Giuseppe Francica who combines the noblest ingredients from the surrounding area with original touches that never betray the raw material in an always perfect balance of flavors. Among his latest creations, spaghetti with Piave Vecchio fondue, cooked and raw scampi and tomato water, venison fillet with powder of porcini and chanterelles, blueberries with gin and fir honey, or Alpago lamb with ‘nduja crumbles and smoked potato, to finish with the “Peach surprise” with mascarpone, gianduia, and currant coulis.
To pair up the amazing menu, over 700 wine labels are carefully selected by the host and sommelier Giovanni Zanon with great attention to local producers and biodynamic crops.
The interiors are very charming, boasting antique furnishings, trompe l’oeil typical of the noble Venetian residences, memorabilia, and lanterns that give life to a romantic yet sophisticated decor. In the summer and on warm autumn days, eating in the magnificent internal courtyard, in the shade of the majestic olive tree, or on the veranda, is truly a joy for the heart. In winter, for a rustic lunch, go fo the fireplace room, or the Veronese room for more formal meetings.
A few meters from Villa Abbazia, you cannot miss the visit of the Abbey of Santa Maria, dating back to the 12th century, which houses in the central altar the stone statue of a Madonna with child of centuries-old veneration for the miracles that have been attributed to it. The story tells, in fact, that during the First World War, in June 1918, no one was killed despite the 264 grenades that fell on Follina.
Villa Abbazia also houses a Tea Room, a must for a charming breakfast, and a Bistrot where you can taste traditional Venetian dishes, such as homemade pasta, prepared with Michelin-star flair by the restaurant’s brigade.
Until 1992 the villa, in addition to the hotel, the 2 restaurants, the tea room and the shop, also housed the famous Espace Rouge et Noir disco, a temple of Venetian social life. With its original 1975 decor, with spectacular mirrors and strictly red and black pop details, it is now available on request for private parties.