Discover the Valpolicella area
240 square kilometres drenched in culture and food & wine heritage: namely the Valpolicella area, situated north-west of Verona, enclosed by the Eastern Pre-Alps to the north, by the Adige River to the south, by the Valdadige valley to the west, and by the town to the east. Further west, 15 km, lies nearby Lake Garda.
The toponym Valpolicella identifies the three torrent valleys ( “progni” in Verona's dialect), running down from the Lessini Mountains, in the area west of Verona, plus a vast flat terraced area lining the Adige River, from Chiusa di Ceraino (near Rivoli Veronese) to Parona.
The Valpolicella area consists of three parts, with their own morphology, geology, and vegetation. The north section, characterised by a mountainous zone, is constituted by Cretaceous limestone and forms the broad Lessini plain. This area boasts vast meadows, often used for grazing cattle. The landscape features terraces and level ground, which are alternated with Karst cavities hewn by time, despite almost no watercourses are found in the neighbourhood. The hilly area is located right after the mountainous. As it features long bumps, which part the progni valleys, it happens to be the most suitable for growing vines. Such activity is often carried out on special stone terraces called “marogne”. In addition to vines, intensive olive groves are set in the lower areas.
Like the mountainous zone, also the hilly part includes Cretaceous limestone, made up by vast basalt strata. The southernmost area is flat, and formed over time from the stratification of alluvial deposits from both the Adige River and the three progni. Vegetable farming, high quality cherry and peach orchards, plus classic vineyards, play the lead role in the area.
The climate resembles Mediterranean conditions, especially in summer, as to the North the Lessini Mountains form a protection barrier, and to the south sun exposure is excellent. This explains the remarkable presence of cypress and olive trees in the valleys set south-west.
The Adige River is the main watercourse running through the Valpolicella area. The valley also features a number of small progni (streams) whose flow may significantly vary throughout the year according to season. The rivers have contributed to remodelling the Valpolicella area, tracing the three valleys it is made of.
The geological history of the Valpolicella area basically consists of two periods: the so-called "marine" period dating back 100 million years, which presents typical limestone deposits, in different shades of colour, rich in fossils, which generated the fine marble still largely quarried today.
The second period is characterized by land emerging from the sea, which justifies the presence, in the lower stratum, of compact limestone (now used for producing cement), while the upper stratum contains stones rich in fossils called "Prun stones”. Intense volcanic activity in the Tertiary Period generated different tuff and basalt strata. Following the stage of land surface emergence, the morphology of the area underwent a radical change.
This was followed by further modelling that consequently led to the forming of hills, then to the glaciations, in the Neozoic Era. A further contribution came from stratification, which formed with the flooding of the Adige River, and from erosion action carried out by the numerous streams, which gradually created narrow gorges in the rock, called “vaios”.