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.