Verona and Valpolicella is well know for its wine culture and production, from Vinitaly Fair to the wine trade around the world. The tradition says that rich families used to own a lot of land around the house so they could manage a commercial activity. However a particularity is the fact that many old Villa (or big mansion houses) became both agri-business and wine Cellars.
In the middle of the historic Valpolicella there is a house (Casale dei Ronchi in Gargagnago) which was bought in 1353 by the famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri, the author of Divine Comedy, during his exile from Florence. Nowdays this house is now owned by the Conti Serego Alighieri, the direct descendents of the poet. Since 1973 the owners have collaborated with an agri business, Villa Masi, which is the most famous producer of Amarone wine. The typical varieties are Vaio Armaron Amarone, Casal dei Ronchi Recioto and MontePiazzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore. You will definetely try Amarone wine if you take our Food&Wine Tour or Wine Trail Tour.
Another Valpolicella Villa, located in the area of Negrar is Villa Mosconi-Bertani. It was built in 1735, allocated next to the old ‘500 Cellar Wine. In 1769 the Villa was sold to Family Mosconi, unfinished; therefore a beautiful elegant english style park of 8 hectars was added. After that, the House became a well known wine producer in north of Italy. In addition a classic literary lounge became a very central place for famous writers of the time, such as the poet and author Pindemonte. After a period of abandonment and some vandalism, in 1957 the Villa passed to Family Bertani. Since then, 2012, the tradition of wine production has been passed.
There is another worldwide known Amarone producer, which is Villa della Torre Allegrini. Located in the village of Fumane, the heart of Valpolicella, it was finished in 1560. This is the real example of Villa; not only a house for producing wine, but also a place for peace of body and soul, as was often stated by Latin poets in Roman Age and Umanistic authors. However, there are still artistic decorations given reference to the Holy Bible, as wanted by Famiglia Della Torre for a perfect combination of sacred and profane.
Since Renaissance time the Villa used to organise many conferences and literal events for european and Italian intellectuals, and it still does. Therefore a park, a hidden lake and the little island connected to a wooden bridge cannot be missed; the atmposhere around the house will give you the perfect harmony of a typical Renaissance mansion, influenced by the beginning of Romanticism.
Today the house also hosts guests, but there are only few rooms available. A very unique particularity is the Lion’s mouth shape of the fire place, which is present in each room. Those masks that hornate the fire place might used to represent an ancestral divinity, but the enigmatic figure origin is still unknown. The culture of wine goes far from its production and culinar taste; stories and legends are always combined with the history of a family name or an old poet house.
Villa Giona, located about 10 Km from Verona and Lake Garda, is one of the most prestigious Villa Veneta. With a real green oasi, a romantic park, a silent lake and a bushes garden, it hosts 24 rooms to offer a proper rest from the city in an authentic ‘500 Mansion house. Its medieval tower is the site of cellar wines, where you can taste not only the Valpolicella wines but also typical products of Veneto cousin. The intimacy of the place can make you feel comfortable in having a glass of wine while walking along the quiet lake, surrounded by olive trees. Special events take place here, such as weddings, ceremonies and photoshootings.
In the local area of Pedemonte, in Valpolicella valley, there is a much older Villa, which is called Villa Serego, also knonw as Villa Santa Sofia. You could even reach this old mansion house by bike, riding along river Adige on bank Attiraglio, till Parona; then once entered in Valpolicella you can arrive in the locality of Pedemonte. This is the most hidden property of Palladio, the famous Architect from Veronawho gave its name to many Veneto Villas, also called Ville Palladiane; in fact this is the only Villa with an internal yard, instead of the Lord building, and the only one using stone columns. This Mansion was bought by Conte Marc’ Antonio Serego around 1565, partner of Ginevra Alighieri, the direct discendent of Dante Alighieri, poet of Divine Comedy. Nowdays this Villa hosts some of the most notorious wines, properly maintained in the Cellars, such as Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto. If you wish to taste some of them, you should try one of our Wine Tours in Valpolicella, by bike, Vespa or Minivan, or our Foo&Wine Tour around the city of Verona. These historic wine cellars go back to three different historic times, ‘300, ‘500 and ‘700. The latest Cellar can host wines in steel containers as this could keep them fresh. The middle one, instead, can contain up to 80.000 bottles of wine. Red wines of Villa Santa Sofia are very harmonious and with a great structure, as representative of the quality and experience of Famiglia Begnoni. The visit to the Villa and its Cellars is a unique experience for tasting the flavours and the tradition of an old Valley, la Valpolicella.
Coming back to the town of Verona and going towards Venice there is the majestic Villa d’Aquerone, which must be mentioned for the wine and its production: Tenuta Musella. The visit to this Villa is a very historic time journey; its monumental front faces and its old fashion rooms are something that belongs to another time. Historically Tenuta Musella goes back to ‘400, but the tradition of wine production started not before ‘800. Located on the top of the hills of San Martino Buon albergo, in locality called Ferraze, this Mansion is completely immersed in a natural landscape of green land, lakes and woods. However in 1990 the Villa was bought by Emilio Pasqua di Bisceglie and the Musella Agri business started as an industrial site. Then, the daughter Maddalena and thegrandson Enrico Raber, the oenologist of the Cellar, began to develop a new path, the bio. Among the projects there are a B&B, a biological shop, new natural process for wine. This Mansion is a very fine one for the local area, both for the quality of wine, its landscape and environmental protection. In fact in the northern area the cultivation of olive and cherry are combined with dry lands; for this reason there is a very important environmental value for the territory, allowing many varieties of bird species to live in these lands. Some of the wine produced are Amarone, Recioto, Monte del Drago and Bianco del Drago. The soil is very important for the wine quality and a different texture can give the wine its unique flavour.