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The Valpolicella

  • The little Tuscany

    Valpolicella is a range of valleys extending northwest from the city of Verona. Since ancient times, this famous landscape has been defined in the south by the River Adige to the Lessini Mountains in the north stretching right to the foothills of the Alps. It is distinguished by three geographically diverse areas, but is always recognizable for the beautiful gentle landscape which is due to a mild climate all year round but especially during the winter season: the more mountainous area bordering the Prealps, the hilly terraced areas of vineyards and the plains leading to the river Adige.

    The whole area is favoured by excellent exposure to the sun so both the climate and vegetation are classified as Mediterranean, evidenced by the olive trees and cypresses that abound.

    Thanks to its gentle climate, Valpolicella has always attracted settlers, as evidenced by recent archaeological finds that have revealed the presence of man with artefacts dating back 90,000 years.
    The discovery of a cave near Fumane, inhabited by Neanderthal man, is one of the three most important archaeological sites in the world.

    Valpolicella also played a very important role for the Romans, becoming a designated centre for the allocation of land to former Roman centurions. Because of the soil type and the land’s exposure to so much southerly sunshine, the cultivation of vineyards started early in this part of Italy, making this area famous for its wine, as testified to by Cassiodorus the great Theoretician official.

    It was also important in the Lombard era as evidenced by an important relic which is represented in the valuable ciborium preserved in the church of San Giorgio in Valpolicella. In the X - XI centuries, wonderful Romanesque churches were built to emphasise the importance of the valley. In 1276, under the rule of Mastino della Scala, the area became an important district in the defence of Verona. Towards the end of the Scaligeri’s domination in 1387, Valpolicella was ruled over for a short time by the Visconti and then also by the Carraresi dynasties. Eventually, the control of the area came under the "Serenissima" Republic of Venice.
  • Valpolicella is characterized by numerous watch-towers known as "colombare” which can be found all over the region and from which pigeons were used for communication (a medium learned from the Chinese) to quickly signal the sighting of enemy troops. This speed of communication allowed the local people to prepare an adequate defence against invaders.
    Valpolicella also boasts the largest natural bridge in the world: the Veja Bridge.
  • Land of wine and fine marble

    And, last but not least, Valpolicella is also famous for its marble, including the well-known Verona Red, Royal Yellow and Prun Stone; this latest is a construction material used in the Prealps of Verona for both masonry and roofing. This area of Italy is, of course, also very famous worldwide for its wines with their unique richness which are created through the use of special techniques.
    The ancient name was Acinatico or Retico wine and it was used both in the sumptuous tables of Augustus and Theoderic.
  • The illustrious figures

    It is likely that Dante Alighieri visited Valpolicella, as in 1353, his son, Pietro, secured ownership of Casal dei Ronchi in nearby Gargagnago, which is where the Villa Serego Alighieri stands today. It is said that some verses of the Divine Comedy make reference to these regular visits, in particular the "Malebolge" (the 8th circle of Hell) was inspired by the Veja Bridge and the verse «And that thou less may wonder at my word, Behold the sun's heat, which becometh wine, Joined to the juice that from the vine distils» (Purgatory XXV, 76-78) might represent a tribute to the valleys of Valpolicella.
    Still today, the direct descendants of Dante (the Serego-Alighieri family) live in Valpolicella.

    Because of the wonderful climate here, so many splendid villas have been built in this area, many of which are embellished with parks and lakes: real oases of true peace and history that are worth exploring. Villa del Quar is also a Venetian villa, and a National Monument. One kilometre from the hotel, you can find the Villa Santa Sofia which was built in the 16th century by the famous architect Andrea Palladio and which is now under the care of UNESCO. A special mention must also go to Emilio Salgari, a famous Veronese writer, known all over the world, who is related to Teresa Salgari, the mother of the current owner of Villa del Quar.
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