Villa Wineries in Valpolicella

The Italian equivalent of the French concept of "Chateau" is Villa: a beautiful manor house in the center of a large estate.
Valpolicella has many excellent wineries inside gorgeous villas, often surrounded not only by vineyards, but also by romantic and Italian style gardens. They can become destinations for a thematic wine tour in the land of Amarone, one of the stopovers in an itinerary that includes other cellar styles, or the setting for a private event.

For further information on visits and wine tastings in the villas of Valpolicella:

The Villa

The Romans

The idea of villa was born in Roman age. Patrician families built impressive residence with mosaics covered floors, frescoed wall, statues and fountains, in the middle of large rural properties. The villa served as a way for the owners to control the ongoing agricultural activities of the estate as well as a place to spend comfortable and relaxing holidays away from the noise and smell of big cities.

Venice and the mainland

The villa reached its maximum development in Veneto region during the Venetian era, from 1500s. Noble families started to invest in the mainland the wealth accumulated with trade, buying land and building Renaissance country residences. Famous architects like Palladio created masterpieces of neoclassical style flanked by barn buildings where peasants and servants worked producing wheat, rice, corn, olive oil and of course wine.
Villas became status symbols, often hosting a very lively cultural scene, with parties, performances in private theaters, and the presence of poets, artists and important characters of the age.

Villas in Valpolicella

In Valpolicella too, as part of Verona province and the state of Venice, many beautiful villas were built in a time span of almost four centuries, and today some of them host cellars with gorgeous hospitality areas of famous wineries. Most of them can be visited.

Villa Mosconi Bertani

Fresco in Villa Mosconi BertaniThe villa as we see it today, with the neoclassic style façade, was built in the XVIII Century in the middle of a fertile valley with its many water springs used since Roman times. It became a cultural center where poets and artists spent time as guests of the noble Mosconi family. Like many villas it was also an agricultural center where cereals, olives and of course grapes were produced, processed and stored in the wings on each side of the main structure. A private chapel was also built. Villas in fact where small communities where peasants and workers lived most of their lives and therefore needed a place to pray. The word "village" comes indeed from the word "villa" as the group of houses for the peasants built around the main manor.
Unlike many other estates in Valpolicella, where wine was just one of many products and was stored in non specialized cellar, the basement of Villa Mosconi Bertani was built from the very beginning to be a functioning and well equipped cellar to store big amounts of wine using very modern solutions for that time. Until 1950s it was the headquarter of the local cooperative winery and the legend has it that it was here that a forgotten barrel of Recioto transformed into Amarone. Later it was bought by the Bertani winery that used it to make its legendary Amarone Villa Novare. Today is still owned by the Bertani family that continues producing wines here with the new label Tenuta Santa Maria alla Pieve. The building is surrounded by over 556 acres of land, half of which are vineyards.
The visit includes a tour in the beautifully frescoed central hall of the villa, the romantic style garden with the artificial pond and fairy-tail-like coffee house, the walled vineyard (brolo), the old cellar, and is followed by a tasting of a selection of Tenuta Santa Maria alla Pieve wines.

Villa Rizzardi and Pojega Garden

Villa Rizzardi and Pojega garden in Valpolicella

It was built in the middle of the wide properties that the noble Rizzardi family owned in Negrar, one of the main valleys inside Valpolicella Classica region. The villa is still owned by the Rizzardi family that at the beginning of 1900 merged with the Guerrieri family from Bardolino starting the Guerrieri Rizzardi Wineries. Few acres of vineyards still surround the villa and are used for the production of Guerrieri Rizzardi Amarones.
The villa was originally built in the XVII century but what we see today is the result of the mid 1800 restoration that transformed it in an example of eclectic style.
The villa is generally not open to the public, but the Pojega garden that surrounds it is accessible from April to October. It is one of the most extraordinary examples of Italian and romantic style gardens in the world. It was designed in XVIII century to combine the Italian Renaissance garden, with geometrically shaped hedges of boxwood, bay tree and hornbeam with the new style of romantic garden that was developing especially in England. Evocative boulevards made of long lines of tall cypress trees connects different parts of the garden that is scattered with statues of wild animals and Venetian lions, ancient Greek gods, fake grottos, ponds and waterfalls.

Green Theater Villa Rizzardi in Valpolicella

The most amazing element of the garden is a theater made of trimmed boxwood, one of the only three still remaining in the world. In Summer, concerts and plays are held in the "green theater".
The old barn and farmyard behind the villa has been completely restored and now hosts a cozy wine shop where, at the end or before the walk in the Pojega garden, is possible to sample the full portfolio of Guerrieri Rizzardi, including wines from their estates in Soave and Bardolino.

Villa della Torre

Lion shaped fireplace of villa della Torre in Valpolicella

Villa della Torre in Fumane valley, in the heart of Valpolicella, is one of the most representative example of the true essence of Renaissance. It was designed in the 16th Century by Giulio Romano as a replica of a typical Roman age house: the domus. Like a domus it had a central courtyard (atrium), with a fountain (impluvium) surrounded by a square colonnade (peristyle) that give access to the rooms.
The villa was conceived also as a symbolic representation of hidden meanings that clearly express the complexity of Renaissance involving philosophy, ancient Greek mythology, astronomy, etc. These includes the gigantic fireplaces shaped like a lion head, a devil and a sea monster, the mysterious circular grotto under the building, the pond and the upper octagonal church.
Few years ago Villa della Torre was bought by Allegrini winery, that already owned the vineyards around and used those grapes for the production of one of their best selling wines: Palazzo della Torre.
The structures underwent a careful restoration and now the villa is used for weddings, events, tastings at the wine shop in one of the barn buildings. There are also few rooms so that is actually also possible to stay at the villa.

These are only few examples of the beautiful villa-wineries that you can find in Valpolicella, that include Villa Serego (Santa Sofia cellar), designed by Andrea Palladio, Villa Giona (Salvaterra estates), Villa Fumanelli (Squarano winery), Serego Alighieri.

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