Negrar di Valpolicella
Negrar di Valpolicella is surrounded by wine country in the hills near Verona, making it a central location for seeing many northern Italy sights. Verona, the acclaimed "city of love" is close-by, but also Lake Garda, Trento, Vicenza, Venice, Brescia, Milano, and more are in reach. Settle in and enjoy the accessibility while relaxing in a small city in the midst of grape vines and gentle countryside.
The town of about 16,000 residents occupies both plains and hills, and has a territory that takes in 7 other hamlets under its jurisdiction. Negrar di Valpolicella is in the famed Valpolicella wine zone, producing not only that namesake vintage, but also excellent Amarone, Soave, and more. They use intriguing heritage grapes in the blends that vary by winery, so be sure to schedule some winery visits and tastings while you're here.
The first inhabitants of the area were the Arsunati people, who may have been Italic or perhaps Etruscan in origins and migrated here in the 5th century BCE. Then the Romans came, and patrician families from Verona built lavish villas in the country. A 3rd century BC villa on the hill near Corteselle in Villa had mosaic pavings that are now in the archeological museum in Verona. The remains of a Roman aqueduct were uncovered in the locality of Novare.
The medieval epoch brought small castles to defend the various feudal lands, few of which remain. The Renaissance era brought wealthy families from Verona and Venice who built architecturally beautiful villas in the Palladio style, many of which are still found throughout the immediate area. Villa Mosconi Bertani, Villa Rizzardi and the accompanying gorgeous gardens, the Giardino di Pojega, and Villa Turco, Zamboni are just a few. The area was under noble counts and then the Republic of Venezia in 1405. With the fall of the republic, the town was placed under the province of Verona. It became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for a period until the unification of Italy, and aws annexed to the kingdom of Italy.
Negrar offers a small town vibe but has all the services you need while traveling. Shops, cafes, restaurants, pizzerias, groceries, gelaterias, and more are found around town. Don't miss the main church in town, San Martino Vescovo, built like a temple and the first church erected here, at the cusp of the 9th and 10th centuries, but rebuilt in the 1100s after an earthquake. The interior artworks were added and altered throughout the centuries. It is a simple church with a single nave, barrel vault ceiling and side chapels, but charming. It closes the Piazza Roma. Piazza Roma continues into Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, and intersects with Via Mazzini, and between the three, you'll find all you need in the way of services.
Negrar's frazioni hamlets are intriguing, as well. Prun, with its limestone caves of carved-out passageways and chambers, is interesting. San Vito with its Romanesque church, and Arbizzano with its stunning villas, are worth a look, as well. To the south, paths along the Adige River provide nice outings. And of course, so many famous sights are nearby, you won't be bored (unless you want to be!)
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