Hear about travel to Lake Garda and the Verona Countryside as the Amateur Traveler talks to Valeria Biasi from Verona Tours about the region she calls home.
Why should someone visit the Verona area?
Valeria says, “Verona is somehow unexpected as a city. I know you covered Verona City already in a couple of your episodes, but in spite of that Verona is still unexpected. We don’t have the icons. I always say we don’t have the David by Michelangelo. We don’t have the dome of St. Peter in Rome, but we are a very Italian city. With all the layers of the history and the geography and the lifestyle.”
“Let me say, we are less busy. We don’t live on tourism, so as you stroll in our streets, you see a lot of locals. There’s a music festival on this very afternoon in Verona City, and it’s very lived in, and we don’t live on tourism. So there are tourists, but I think they appreciate these local vibes.”
Valeria does not focus on Verona itself but on the countryside around it including beautiful Lake Garda.
She starts us in the Valpolicella Wine Region north and west of Verona. Discover the rich flavors of Recioto della Valpolicella wine and the renowned Amarone, showcasing the region’s dedication to winemaking excellence.
We talk about the wineries of:
- Azienda Agricola Giuseppe Quintarelli Winery
- Gamba Winery
- Fumanelli Winery
- Zymè Winery
Other highlights include the San Giorgio church, the historical Il Giardino di Pojega, and the majestic Villa Rezzardi, but Valeria say that honestly if you don’t like wine, Valpolicella is not for you.
We then head to the Valpolicella Extended which is east of the city. Here you can find more wine but also the walled town of Soave with its commanding medieval castle.
We talk about the wineries of:
- Corte Sant’Alda Winery
- Pieropan Winery
Then we head to Lake Garda which is the largest lake in Italy. The northern and southern ends of the lake are very different. The southern end has beaches and flat countryside while the northern end of the lake looks more like a fjord with rocky cliffs coming down to the water and small towns clutching precariously to the sides of cliffs.
In southern Lake Garda, we start with Garda with its lovely gulf. We take a short stroll by the lake at Lazise or Bardolino. But Valeria’s favorite towns are Peschiera del Garda and Sirmione.
Peschiera del Garda it located where the Mincio River drains the lake. It has a significant star fortress that played an important part in the resurgimento (Unification of Italy).
Sirmione sits on a narrow peninsula that juts out into the bottom of the Lake. It has a castle with crenelated walls and also the ruins of an ancient Roman villa. Valeria recommends taking a boat trip around the peninsula. Take a side trip to Isola del Garda which has a villa and gardens from the Borghese family.
Northern Lake Garda is known for sports like cliff diving, sailing, and windsurfing.
Take a thrilling adventure to the summit of Monte Baldo on a gondola where panoramic views of Lake Garda and the surrounding mountains await. Explore the picturesque towns of Malcesine and Riva del Garda, with their charming waterfront promenades.
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Azienda Agricola Giuseppe Quintarelli
Recioto della Valpolicella Wine
San Giorgio church
Il Giardino di Pojega
The Villa Rezzardi
Hotel Villa Giona
Peschiera del Garda
Resurgimento (Unification of Italy)
Scaligero Castle (Sirmione)
Grottoes of Catullus
Isola del Garda
Cable car – Funivie di Malcesine e del Monte Baldo
Limone sul Garda
Riva del Garda
I visited Armenia in 2017 and really enjoyed it. I happened to be there for Vardavar and it was 1 of the funniest days I can remember. You had fire engines just spraying you down with their hoses. It was chaotic and you obviously have to wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet, as in people will drop water from balconies etc. but it’s a blast.
I wanted to add a suggestion to this episode. I just drove from Nashville to Chattanooga. Halfway between the two cities is Manchester. If you need a place to stay, I’d like to suggest Lx Hotel. A small clean family-run hotel. Upon checking in, you are offered a complimentary beer (at least four choices) which they will refresh throughout your stay. The owners had exceptional customer service. Your room rate includes a personally tailored breakfast for the time you would like to eat. You can have a wonderful dinner across the street at the Kubo Grill, an Asian fusion restaurant.
— Jeff Olfs
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