In the Brescia province of Lombardy, right where it runs into the region of Veneto, Pozzolengo sits just south of Lake Garda and basks in the low hills striped with vineyards. The name comes from "pozzo" meaning "well" or "cistern" and there are still stone wells around town to seek out. The suffix "lengo" may derive from a Longobardo word meaning "countryside" but there is still debate about that.

Either way, the town has ancient origins going back to the Bronze Age, and Roman relics have been found here, too. It's called a "balcony" over the Redone valley, with fine views over the landscapes, fed by the Redone stream, and staked out in neat rows of vines, right to the lake's edge.

For all the vines, it's no coincidence that Pozzolengo is named as a "citta del vino" (wine town); in fact, there are 23 wineries registered within its territory, and that's not counting the family vines that folks plant for their household. The town takes in several frazioni (outlying hamlets) so its territory is more extensive than just the town itself. Some of these frazioni are tiny, indeed, like Cascina Trento, with just 11 residents.

With a position between Brescia and Verona, just a few minutes from Lake Garda, and art cities like Mantua, Cremona, Vicenza, Padova, and even Venice in reach, the location is perfect, with a small town ambiance and informality to offset the tourist cities and let you relax after a day of sightseeing.

Don't overlook the sights right here, though. The castello dates to 1000 AD and is a true borgo, with its walls and fortifications, circular towers and commanding views, but is still lived in, making it really attractive. Around town, the pastel colors are offset by bricks and stones, keeping that old world allure. A stroll lets you look at the palazzi and archways and details, especially the courtyards and wells, like a scavanger hunt.

The Abbazia di San Virgilio was built in 1104 as a Benedictine order monastery, and retains its beautiful bell tower and cloister (it's now a golf resort). The Madonna del Frassino is a 16th century sanctuary and pilgrimage site, completed in 1514 in Renaissance style. There are lovely works of art, but the one that draws faithful pilgrims is the luminous statue of the Madonna that miraculously appeared to a peasant boy. It's a beautiful, contemplative spot.

The town is known for its wine, of course, especially the Lugana DOC designated vino, but also for its saffron production, and a particular salame called salame morenico di Pozzolengo. Try the area's specialty that brings them together - risotto with salame and saffron.

Enjoy a cappuccino at the coffee bar, a glass of wine at one of the wineries, and soak in the atmosphere of an active small town, while in reach of all the area's sights and cities.

Phto Credit: Comune di Pozzolengo

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