The Valpolicella - (wine) sensation between Lake Garda and Verona

Pure nature and the finest garden art
In the southeast of Lake Garda between Bardolino and Verona you find the famous wine-growing region Valpolicella. Hilly countryside, lovely vineyards as far as the eye can see, orchards and olive trees, rustic farmhouses and several splendid Venetian villas make up the charm of the 19 communities. There are lush plateaus, roaring torrents, deep gorges and impressive caves. Probably the most interesting of these caves is the Grotta di Fumane. In the small town of Fumane, and not far away from the waterfall of Molina, you will find one of the largest and most impressive prehistoric archeological sites in Europe. In the caves you can explore unique testimonies from the time of the Neanderthals and the first modern humans. Since 2005 the cave is accessible to visitors of the Lessinia Natural Park. Explore the prehistoric world and start an exciting journey through the past.

Exploring the picturesque landscape, you will find in Negrar the next highlight that you should not miss: the Gardens of Pojega, a true gem of garden art! The Pojega estate was acquired in 1649 by the count family Rizzardi. The garden was created in 1783 on behalf of Antonio Rizzardi and Luigi Trezza and is one of the last examples of a classic Italian garden of the 18th century. It is well known for his "Green Theater" - the largest in Italy, by the way - and the incredible views. On an area of ​​54,000 m2 there are temples, theaters, walls, galleries and a Belvedere to admire. Trees, hedges and water create a magical natural spectacle. The Villa Rizzardi itself was restored around 1850 by the 15th century Venetian architect Filippo Messedaglia (1823-1901). Today, Pojega is an estate that includes not only the villa and the gardens, but also a wine cellar and the surrounding farmhouses where you can taste and buy wines and olive oil.
A special highlight among historic buildings and old churches is the Romanesque church of San Floriano. It is one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in the region. Already in the 10th century a first church was built on the walls of a Roman temple. Beautiful is also the church of San Giorgio di Valpolicella, with three naves and many beautiful frescoes to admire.

The heart of Valpolicella is, of course, the vineyards, and in the middle of these wineyards you find the famous winery Sartori. The (red) wines are known and loved all over the world and show the DOC seal of quality. Numerous cantinas in the region invite you to taste the fine wines and in the trattorias and osterias, the local wine is also part fo delicious local dishes. Our tip: a risotto all'Amarone!

In addition to the "house wine" Valpolicella Classico DOC, the Valpolicella area offers two more great varieties, the Recioto and the Amarone. The grape varieties used are Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Corvinone Veronese and Molinara.

The Valpolicella Classico DOC is also available as Superiore and Ripasso. The differences are a longer fermentation and storage time or the addition of Amarone pomace in small quantities.
For the production of Recioto only selected grapes are used. The grapes are placed in well ventilated rooms to dry on wooden grates and weeks later pressed to a luscious sweet dessert wine with fine acidity. If the fermentation is extended further, the sugar present in the must is almost completely converted into alcohol and you get the heavy, dry counterpart to the Recioto, the world famous Amarone, one of the most famous red wines of Italy. Almost 50 years ago, Amarone became the first red wine in Veneto to receive the DOC designation of origin. Since the year 2010 Recioto and Amarone even have the higher class DOCG designation!

If you are in the mood for a taste and can not wait to sip, then we recommend a visit to the Sartori Wine Shop at Pedemonte di San Pietro in Cariano. The newly designed Wine Shop has recently opened and offers everything a wine lover desires. A wide range of Cantina Sartori is offered. You can taste the delicious wines and then buy them on spot. A paraticular highlight in the Sartori Wine Shop are the show cooking events, which are regularly held there!

Sartori is a winery with a very long tradition, since 1898. The internationally very successful company generates more than 80% of its turnover in more than 50 different countries around the world. The motto "di Verona" - "from Verona" - and the proud presence of the statue of the "Can Grande della Scala" in the logo show the deep and indissoluble bond with the landscape, the history, the beauty and the elegance of one of the most visited cities of the world.

In short, the Valpolicella is really a worthwhile detour! Why do not you take a look around Verona and the surrounding area in this fantastic wine-growing region? From Lazise or Bardolino you can reach the Valpolicella area in just 20 to 30 minutes. You'll never forget the scenic and culinary charm, and friends and family at home will be thrilled when you give them a gift from one of the many wineries.

>> More about the Cantina Sartori and the Sartori Wine Shop

>> More information about Valpolicella is also available on the website of the Strada del Vino della Valpolicella.

>> Further information about the gardens of Pojega, the Fumane Caves and the waterfall of Molina

>> The best accommodations in the Valpolicella region and nearby Lake Garda.

>> Wineries in the region

>> Restaurant tips and other shopping addresses

>> Other sights

Foto: Casa Vinicola Sartori; Giorgio Zamboni - http://www.valpolicellaweb.it; adamus - fotolia.com; gardasee.de - Thilo Weimar; Guerrieri Rizzardi