Valpolicella: what to see
One or two day itineraries
Valpolicella is a jewel of art, culture, history and breathtaking landscapes. But how to reach it from Verona and what to see? Find out with our guide!
Valpolicella is a territory full of surprising cultural attractions: from the fruit-scented valleys dotted with ancient parish churches and sixteenth-century villas, to the terraced hills where vineyards and olive trees stretch as far as the eye can see, to the beech forests rich in waterfalls and alpine meadows. The region is rich in nature and food and wine, just half an hour’s drive from Verona.
To reach Valpolicella by bus, from Verona there are some public transport lines such as 102, 103 and 107 (for detailed information www.atv.verona.it/orari_linee_bus_extraurbani ).
People traveling by train will stop at the Domegliara – Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella station, where only regional and fast regional trains can stop.
Here are some tips on what to see in Valpolicella in a weekend.
San Giorgio di Valpolicella
San Giorgio di Valpolicella is a small limestone town built on a summit at the foot of Mount Solane, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, from which you can admire a stunning view that embraces the whole Valpolicella. This country has an ancient history: it was already a settlement of the Arusnati before the arrival of the Romans because its position made it a natural fortress.
If you happen to be around here in November, take part in the Fae Festival, which is celebrated on the second Sunday after all saint’s day and recalls a millenary culture. For the first inhabitants of the area, the beans – the first ones to grow in spring – were a ritual food, the symbol of the link between the world of the living and the afterlife. On the day of the festival, a soup prepared according to a traditional recipe based on beans, potatoes, and bacon, is served by a large cauldron to all the family members, but now also to visitors. The Festival is rich in events like historical dances, music and typical products accompanied by fine local wines: Valpolicella, Recioto and Amarone.
In the main square of the village, the Romanesque parish church of San Giorgio Ingannapoltron , dating from 712 AD, stands on an original pagan temple. It is a splendid example of Romanesque architecture with a beautiful cloister, and it is certainly worth seeing its frescoes from XII and XIII century. The cloister is open every day from 7.00 to 20.00 in summer, from 8.00 to 17.00 in winter.
Next to the church, the Archaeological Museum preserves finds from the Iron Age up to the early Middle Ages, while the ethnographic section hosts a typical house of the Valpolicella of past centuries. The museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 15.00 to 19.00, Tuesday and Thursday from 9.00 to 13.00, Saturday and Sunday from 16.00 to 19.00 from May to September; from 15.00 to 18.00 from October until the second Sunday of November. From the third Sunday of November until Easter it is open only on request, by contacting email@example.com or 334.8739397.
At the end of the day, take an aperitif at the bar with a natural panoramic terrace in the central square, and sip your drink it while losing your gaze on the horizon.
Stroll through history between Fumane and San Floriano
The best thing to do in Valpolicella is to get lost in the history of the valley.
In the Fumane Cave, on the road leading to Molina, bones, and artifacts dating back to the Paleolithic era were found in the 1960s, including an exceptional painted stone renamed the Shaman, because it represents an anthropomorphic figure with a headdress with horns and open arms outwards. In the cave, through a very suggestive guided path, you can observe the different stratigraphic sections of the rock and recognize the traces of the presence of Homo di Neanderthal and Homo Sapiens. The visit lasts about an hour and a half and it is recommended to wear sneakers.
For groups of up to 11 people, the total cost is 80 euro; for larger groups (maximum 25 people) the cost is 7 euro per person. There is the possibility to book educational workshops or a nature walk to discover traces of the prehistoric environment.
For information and reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org or 366.2064398.
In the area it is also worth seeing the splendid Villa della Torre (via della Torre 25, Fumane), a sixteenth-century jewel of the architect Sanmicheli, inspired by the architectural layout of the ancient Roman villas with the peristyle courtyard. Today the villa is home to a winery, which organizes guided tours and wine tasting on request. To reserve, contact 045.6832070 or email to email@example.com.
Along the way, you will come across many ancient parish and country churches: do not miss the Romanesque church of San Floriano. It is one of the most beautiful and ancient Romanesque churches in all Valpolicella, with the majestic tuff facade delimited by pillars that have two pagan altars at the base. The church is next to a pre-existing pagan temple, as the finding of a statue of the god Jupiter testifies. The bell tower is made of light stone at the bottom and alternating layers of tuff and terracotta on the top, they light up in bright red at sunset.
The parish can be visited every day from 7.30 to 19.30, except when religious ceremonies and messes are held.