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Shaped by the valleys of the Fumane, Negrar and Marano rivers as they cut their way south from the mountains, the Valpolicella region is best known for its red wines. But there’s a lot more than vineyards in these rugged hills, where historic sights span from neolithic to Napoleonic. Several distinguished villas surround the main town of San Pietro in Cariana, including the unfinished Villa Sarego in Santa Sofia, designed by Palladio but quite unlike his other more famous works. Some of the palazzi have become wineries, many with stunning gardens that are open to the public. The 18th-century Villa Rizzardi in Negrar has beautiful ...

Shaped by the valleys of the Fumane, Negrar and Marano rivers as they cut their way south from the mountains, the Valpolicella region is best known for its red wines. But there’s a lot more than vineyards in these rugged hills, where historic sights span from neolithic to Napoleonic. Several distinguished villas surround the main town of San Pietro in Cariana, including the unfinished Villa Sarego in Santa Sofia, designed by Palladio but quite unlike his other more famous works. Some of the palazzi have become wineries, many with stunning gardens that are open to the public. The 18th-century Villa Rizzardi in Negrar has beautiful Italianate and English gardens; visitors can taste wines there and at Casa Vinicola Sartori (which also has gardens), Tommasi winery in Pedemonte and at Bertani, set in neo-classical Villa Novare. The latter vineyards are famed for their Amarone. Prized stone from quarries at Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella built Verona’s Roman arena and many of its finest churches. In hilltop San Giorgio, the Longobard Romanesque Pieve San Giorgio has a charming cloister and a museum showing Roman and earlier finds, along with fossils. In Molina Falls Park, in the Fumane valley, walking trails lead to several waterfalls, but the foremost natural sight is the huge Ponte di Veja, a natural bridge that was once the opening to a cave where prehistoric inhabitants lived. The whole region abounds with with fossils, and the Museo dei Fossili in Sant'Anna exhibits a fossilized shark more than 20 feet long and 70 million years old.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northern Italy, in the Province of Verona, 8 miles northwest of Verona.
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Go in the fall, when the wine harvest is in full force, accompanied by local festivals. Spring is also lovely, and in mid-April the Palio del Recioto in Negrar combines bicycle races with a wine and food festival.