History

Getting its name from the river of the same name, Piave is born at the base of the Dolomite mountains between ancient woods and green valleys full of pastures, a difficult and rocky environment that has been used for centuries for the farming of dairy cattle.

With the decline of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, which controlled most of the territory at that time, the intensive exploitation of the woodlands provided less and Belluno’s fragile economy was put to the test. The most natural and worthwhile production alternative that would save the population in the most critical periods turned out to be the farming of dairy cattle, especially Italian Brown cows, by small mountain land owners and sharecroppers in the valley.

The first dairy cooperative in the Kingdom of Italy was established in 1872 at the initiative of parish priest Father Antonio Della Lucia in a valley near Belluno. Known as "Kasèl" in the local dialect, or "shift creamery" in plain language, it gave local farmers the possibility of working their milk in “shifts” in order to obtain precious dairy products. A new united form of management of the few resources provided by the dairy farmers helped create the foundation for the Belluno cheese making tradition.

Other larger and more organized cooperatives then followed, with the scope of transforming the large amount of local milk produced into butter, fresh cheeses and aged cheeses. These cooperatives are supported by the activities of the historic alpine huts ("maiolere" in local dialect"), which are the true keepers of Belluno’s rich cheese making tradition.

Thanks to these alpine huts, the art of producing typical cheese has been passed down from generation to generation. We however had to wait until 1960 before it was called “Piave”; the cheese was awarded the Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO) in 2010.