When Count Theodor de la Tour chose the hill of Russiz, in Capriva del Friuli, to introduce some French grape varieties, such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon, into the Collio Goriziano, the landscape of this town on the border with Slovenia must have looked much wilder than it does today.
In fact, it is no coincidence that the name Capriva del Friuli derives from the Slovenian kopriva, meaning nettle: it is likely that in times past, the land around this village was populated by large fields of nettle.
Today, however, Capriva del Friuli is one of the areas in the north-east where man's intervention has most altered the appearance of the countryside: dozens of hectares of splendid vineyards, arranged along geometric rows, climb the gentle slopes of the Gorizia Collio.
After a visit to the old town centre, over whose ancient houses the bell tower of the Church of the Most Holy Name of Mary stands out, travellers can devote moments of shopping and tasting to the prestigious wine cellars located around Capriva del Friuli, such as that of Villa Russiz, heir to the tradition started by Count de la Tour.
It only takes a short diversion to reach the Italian-style garden of the Castle of Spessa, a famous aristocratic residence that also hosted Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart's librettist, and the man of letters and adventurer Giacomo Casanova between the 18th and 19th centuries.