The Valpolicella is a wine region near Lake Garda in the province of Verona in northern Italy and composed of seven communes including Pescantina, San Pietro in Cariano, Negrar, Marano di Valpolicella, Fumane, Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella and Sant’Anna d’Alfaedo.
Valpolicella take its name from ‘Val Polis Cellae’ meaning the ‘Valley of many cellars’, true to its name, Valpolicella has vineyards everywhere. The production of wine has existed there since the original Greek settlers and enjoyed by dynasties that ruled thereafter, including the Romans, the Ostrogoths and the Venetians.
The choices are plenty as well: you can savour a strong, sweet or light wine according to your mood, the time of the day or the accompanying meal, which makes the valleys of Valpolicella nothing less than wine-lovers’ paradise. The core of the area is called Valpolicella Classico, stretching between the communes of Sant'Ambrogio and Negrar and producing about half of the wine.
Vineyards beyond this zone, equally prestigious, include the valleys of Valpantena, Squaranto, Mezzane and Illasi. The entire region produces various types of red wines, characteristically made from the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes, among other local grapes. The signature wines of the region include the Amarone, the dessert Recioto, the flavoured Ripasso, the aromatic Valpolicella Classico and the renowned Vino Novello.
In 1968, Valpolicella became Italy’s second DOC wine producer after Chianti: earning the DOC classification requires wines to be produced locally within a particular region, with specific methods and high standards.
Wine, although a defining feature of Valpolicella, is accompanied by other remarkable attractions. Discover the Palladian Villas in Negrar and San Pietro, the Romanesque churches of Sant'Ambrogio, the waterfalls of the Molina Park near Fumane or just take a refreshing hike around Valpolicella’s infinite green hills through the magnificent marble residences and ancient Roman ruins.
The Allegrini family, based in Fumane, has been one of the most important wine producers in Valpolicella since the 16th century, passing on their winemaking secrets for generations. They welcome visitors hospitably into a visit of their vineyards, their wine cellar, their historical Renaissance residence Villa della Torre, cooking classes and of course, wine-tasting.
They own more than seven vineyards and produce more than eight different wines including the spicy Amarone Classico, the aromatic La Poja or the unique Palazzo della Torre, named after the Villa. They have won several international awards including ‘The wine advocate’ and ‘Wine Spectator’, testifying to their global success.
The Tommasi family, located in Pedemonte village within the Valpolicella Classico region, has been a celebrated winemaking family since 1902, with over 135 hectares of vineyards, expanding to the regions of Bardolino, Custoza, Soave and Lugana. Different tours are available depending on how much you seek to learn from the art of winemaking and include visits to their vineyards, their drying room and the imposing two ageing cellars with their impressive barrels. The visits are of course accompanied with wine-tasting sessions of some of their prestigious wines including the Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore, the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico and the Fiorato Recioto della Valpolicella Classico.
Villabella vineyard's were started in 1971 by Walter and Giorgio Delibori Cristoforetti, the vineyards of Villabella are still owned and managed by the same two families who are now helped by their 2nd generation: Tiziano Delibori, Angela e Franco Cristoforetti.
Wines includes all the great classic Veronese wines DOP :
Bardolino , Lugana , Custoza , Soave , Valpolicella , Ripasso and Amarone della Valpolicella and the big red and white IGP as the Villa Cordevigo Bianco of Garganega and Sauvignon grapes and the Villa Cordevigo Rosso from Corvina and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, borders Valpolicella to the East. Formed out of the last Ice Age, its pure blue colour and vastness will compel travelers staying in the region to visit it for at least a day trip.
Excursions within and around the Lake are available to discover its sulfur springs, encircling mountains, medieval castles over its cliffs or surrounding picturesque villages such as the fortified town of Sirmione or the charming fishing port of Bardolino. With its Mediterranean flair in the South and its more Nordic-looking fiord in the North, the lake is a true natural gem of the region.
Verona is of course not to be missed, this UNESCO World Heritage site is dubbed as the Italy’s ‘little Rome’ as it encloses the largest collection of Roman ruins after Rome itself. Verona’ urban structure developed in the course of 2 millennia, ending up with an amazing Romanesque landscape, Renaissance monuments, fortifications blended into the urban scenery and piazzas turned into lively markets. This military stronghold and aesthetically impressive city was sought after by many dynasties including the Ostrogoths, the Austrians and the Venetians for its strategic location.
The stage of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Verona is also the home of a vibrant cultural life emblematized by its annual fairs and the majestic Verona Arena, originally a Roman amphitheatre built in 30 AD and now the world’s largest open-air opera house hosting internationally celebrated lyrical seasons. (www.arena.it)