For many centuries, on the lower slopes of the Lessinia mountains located in the eastern province of Verona, the volcanic soil of the Alpone, Tramigna, Illasi and Mezzane valleys has provided the ideal environment for the cultivation of garganega grapes and the production of Soave wine. This wine, considered one of the great Veronese whites, owes much to the volcanic origins and emerging limestone of these hills. In addition to producing fine wine, Soave is also a territory rich in castles, churches and ancient belltowers. An impressive array of historic sites, gastronomic traditions, and picturesque villages are found in the area, as are a number of businesses, sales outlets, restaurants, cultural attractions, and environmental points of interest. Start from the walled town of Soave, located at the foot of a magnificent, medieval castle.
Soave was almost certainly reconstructed by the Svevi, followed by the Longobards, and fortified by the Scaliger nobles of Verona. Examples of their respective rules include the 18th century church of San Bonifacio, the 15th century Palazzo Cavalli (in Gothic- Venetian style), the 14th century church of San Lorenzo (reconstructed in the 18th century), and the beautiful Palazzo di Giustizia and Palazzo Scaligero.
Leaving the town towards the east, cross the bridge over the Torrente Tramigna and continue along on the panoramic road towards Colognola ai Colli, a quaint village originally inhabitated by Romans, and extending across the charming hills of Soave.
From here, a turn towards the south takes you to local hot springs dating from the Roman period (Antiche Terme Romana) in Caldiero. Alternatively, head north to reach the delightful Valle d’Illasi, where olive trees flourish amongst vineyards and cherry groves; continue the journey up to Pieve di Colognola where the romantic Pieve di Santa Maria, surrounded by vineyards, can be admired.
The very ancient center of San Pietro di Lavagno, surrounded by villas, can also be visited. Return to Illasi, with its suggestive, medieval atmosphere. Admire the villas of the former nobility, such as the Villa Perez Pompei Sagramoso (once the seat of feudal government), whose large park extends up to the castle. Climb to the top of the hill crest and enjoy views of the Illasi valley and Tramigna, then descend to Cazzano di Tramigna meandering through the cherry orchards. A bit further south, near Monteforte d’Alpone, you will find the historic zone of “Soave Classico”, the selection area for “cru” wines (Monte Pressoni, Monte Foscarino, Rugate, Ronchetto, Val D’Alpone, Roncà and Bolca). Admire the important parish church of Santa Maria Maggiore, decorated with a neoclassical facade and bell tower, and the Palazzo Vescovile, enhanced by a delightful cloister. In all, an intoxicating journey of discovery to the land of a world-famous wine