One of the most interesting aspects of many wine producing areas of Verona are wineries inside gorgeous Renaissance and Baroque style villas. Many of these villas boast centuries old wine making tradition and are still in activity. In fact it is possible to organize guided wine tasting tours in many of these sumptuous residences. Amarone Tours guides will be happy to design wine tours to discover the most beautiful winery-villas of Verona territory. If you are a travel agent, an organized group or a private group do not hesitate to contact us.
Villa-wineries are part of a wider historical, social, economic and artistic phenomenon that involeves the whole Veneto region and that is called Veneto Villas: Ville Venete in Italian.
To better understand this phenomenon it is necessary to go back to the beginning of 1400s, when Venice, from maritime and trading power, gradually transformed into a territorial country.
The strenghtening of Ottoman Impire gradually challenged venetian control and trade monopoly over the Mediterranean sea. Later, with the discovery of America, the fulcrum of the most profitable trade routes shifted to the Atlantic ocean, favouring those countries that faced it: England, Spain and Portugal.
Venice Republic, with that practical mind that many times prooved succesful, tried to “diversify” its investments and focused more on the main land. In few decades Venice ended up controlling a vast territory that stretched from Istria (in the former Jugoslavia) to Bergamo (not far from Milan), including also Verona and other Veneto region cities.
Rich noble families that accumulated immense fortunes with trade, started to invest in agricultural activities, buying up large estates where they produced anything needed in the Venetian Lagoon (that could not grow anything): wood for ships, hemp for cordage, cereals, corn, fruit, vegetables and of course wine.
In the center of these vast properties villas where built, functional and symbolic center of control and management. Many of these villas have been designed by famous Renaissance architect, first of all Andrea Palladio.
Venice hinabitants, even the wealthiest, for centuries had been constrained in the cramped island of the lagoon. With the conquest of the inland regions, noble families started to enjoy the wide spaces of the countryside and their new manorhouses. Villas became very lively cultural centers patronized by fashionable ladies, gallants, poets and artists.
Verona, even under Venetian domination, could keep some kind of autonomy and economic independence. Verona in fact had not been conquered with military force by Venice, but had been annexed with a treaty in which the city had been able to negotiate conditions. Verona noble families for example had been able to keep their properties, rather, some of them had buyed up the feuds of the Scalas, the family who ruled Verona for the whole 1300s.
Verona noble family soon began to imitate usages and costumes of Venetian elites, and in Verona territory too, gorgeous villas were built.
Villas and Cellars
Unlike the French chateaus, generally built thanks to the revenues of wine trade, in Veneto Villas, wine was only one of the many products grown on the land controlled by the villa itself. With the increase of wine prices and with the growing demand for Veronese wines from international markets, wine became the main product and vine the main cultivation, especially for those estates situated on hills.
Today, many of these villas are real wineries, surrounded by beautiful vineyards, with old stone cellars full of oak barrels and modern fermentation vets.
Guided wine tours in these monuments usually includes a visit of Italian or romantic style gardens that some times were preserved, and to the internal rooms, decorated with frescoes, stucco works and statues. Tastings often takes place in one of these rooms.
Villas are also available for the organization of events, weddings,etc.
Duration: a guided wine tour in villa winery can be half day (3-4 hours) in which 2 wineries can be visited, or full day and 4 wineries.
The tour is suitable for individual tourists, small groups or big organized tours.
The tour includes:
- Guide/sommelier for the whole tour duration.
- Planning of the itinerary and selection of wineries.
- Booking at wineries.
- Transportation (it required) on car, van or tourist coach depending on number of participants.
- Pick up in Verona, train station, tourist information office or hotel if within the city.
Tasting fees usually is not included since each winery applies a different policy. Please notice that tasting fees at a villa-winery are higher than standar wineries.
Itineraries are full customizable. If there is a winery in particular that you would like to visit please let us know and we will do our best to include it in the itinerary.