The Lessinia district is situated in the northern reaches of the Verona province. The plateau that extends as far east as Vicenza, as far west as the Val d’Adige, and as far north as the Valle di Ronchi. In 1990 the area was proclaimed a Regional Natural Park, due to the many natural wonders found there.
The Veronese mountain range, with its southerly-exposed Valpantena valley, is a temperate zone located between the Padana Plain and the Alps. The gradual slope of its ridges (100-1800 meters above sea level), the abundant autumn and spring rainfall of the upper Lessinia, its deep torrential streams, the arid karst of its limestone, and thousands of years of human habitation have created an environment of great diversity. The olive groves and Mediterranean vines of the lower hills give rise to the the cherry and chestnut orchards of the mid- Lessinia, which then lead to the plateau’s alpine pastures. The sedimentary and volcanic rock (formed in the last 200 million years) are the oldest parts of this rare, environmental mosaic of which the fish fossils of Bolca are the most famous.
The story of Lessinia, however, doesn’t end with its geological, pre-historic or ethnographic heritage. Several traditional activities, such as alpeggio (specialized dairy and cheese production) and stone masonry continue as economic and cultural pursuits. Some quarries are still operational today, and extract Pietra della Lessinia (the traditional stone of the Lessinia region).The principal centres of the district are: Grezzana, where the prestigious Villa Arvedi is situated; Bosco Chiesanuova and its Museo Etnografico, Erbezzo with the flora and fauna area of Malga Derocon, S. Anna d’Alfaedo, where the Museo Paleontologico is located, and Ponte di Veja, a unique example of a natural bridge formed by a geological phenomenon. Markings left on the Grotta dell’Orso and other caves formed under this bridge indicate a use by hunters (one of whom may have been “Otzi”, found on the Similuan glacier) in pre-historic times. The Parco delle Cascate di Molina, a natural water oasis, full of rare botanical species, boasts gorgeous canyons, lakes and panoramic lookouts found throughout the park. Refreshingly cool in the summer months, the park is also fascinating during the winter, when its many waterfalls freeze over.
The Lessinia easily reached by public transportation and served by a variety of accommodation including hotels, camp sites, and apartments—offers numerous possibilities for both winter and summer tourism. Skiing (on the new lifts of San Giorgio), hiking, and much more are yours for the taking. No wonder the Veronese consider this their “premier mountain”.