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Soave achieved the Bandiera arancione awarded by the Touring Club Italiano: an award assigned to towns in the hinterland with less than 15.000 residents, that can boast beautiful tourist attractions, great hospitality, excellent services provided to tourists, and environmental sustainability. The medieval town of Soave is enclosed within the walls that begin from the castle, and is surrounded by hills covered in vineyards, where the famous Soave wine is birthed.
The calm and well-preserved town center of Soave is perfect for a stroll between its historic buildings, to shop in small boutiques and stores, and to enjoy a meal in one of its traditional trattorie. North of the town there is the ever-green Val d’Illasi; the valley is home to wealthy mansions and ancient churches, and here you can find the Strada del Vino Soave, an itinerary through the enological traditions of the region. The valley is known for the cherry and apricot orchards, the olive groves and cereal fields, which constitute the countryside’s native produce.
Soave is just 30 minutes by car from the city center of Verona, and it’s the perfect destination to spend a few hours enjoying and discovering artistic and natural beauties, just around the corner from the city of Romeo and Juliet.
This typical medieval military construction is built atop Monte Tenda in a strategic position, which allows it to tower over the wide plains underneath. It makes for a strong visual impact, and it offers one of the most stunning views of the Monti Lessini and of the Pianura Padana. Considered the most lavish Castle of Veneto, it houses frescoes, expensive pieces of antique furniture, and original suits of armor and weapons.
The building sits at the heart of the historical center of the town, in Piazza dell’Antenna. Built in 1375 upon order by Cansignorio della Scala, the structure consists of a loggia with four arched entrances made of chiseled stone, and it has ogival windows. A small balcony sits at the center of the façade, and here rests a stone statue of the Virgin with Child, supposedly dating back to the 1500’s; beside it are two frescoes depicting Saint Lawrence and Saint John the Baptist.
The Church of Saint Mary of Monte Santo stands a short distance from Piazza dell’Antenna, along the steep slope that leads to the Castle. Built upon order by Pope Eugene IV in 1443 and given to the Dominican order for the construction of a church and cloister; it was then rebuilt within the century under the guidance of Fra Giocondo, known for the loggia by the same name in Piazza dei Signori in Verona. The inside consists of a single nave with chapels consecrated to Saint Lucy and Saint Apollonia. Several of the original frescoes have been restored, much to the pleasure and enjoyment of the church’s visitors.
The Strada del vino Soave was born in 1999 and it counts nearly 130 members, including wine-makers, organizations and associations, agriturismi and restaurants, hotels, olive mills, and societies producing, harvesting and selling local produce and foods. With its 50 kilometers of length, it’s the ideal itinerary to discover the surrounding landscape, to visit wine cellars, to taste wine and local dishes, and to experience the hospitality of the locals, first-hand.
Soave Superiore wine, produced in the hills of the Soave region, was granted the denomination of controlled origin in 2011. The wine has such an high quality thanks to the optimal combination of ideal grape plantations, controlled harvest and processing techniques, and excellent conservation of the wine before the bottling process begins.
Soave Superiore wine – or Soave Superiore Classico when produced from grapes grown in the so-called “classic” area of production – is only sold after a refining period in the bottle which lasts at least three months, so to safeguard and guarantee its characteristic maturity and complex flavor profile. The straw-yellow color is more intense compare to Soave DOC, while still maintaining the expect clearness of a young white wine; the olfactory profile carries floral notes, but deeper than one would expect, and the mouthfeel is full and slightly bitter.
The Recioto del Soave is the first wine in Veneto to achieve DOCG status in 1998. It’s produced from the best bunches of Garganega grapes, dried on lattices for a period lasting from 4 to 6 months, which are then crushed. Fermentation is slow and lasts a long time, and is carried out in small-sized barrels. Recioto di Soave wine has a brilliant, golden yellow color, and the intensity can vary; the scent is strong and fruity, with notes of vanilla; the taste is sweet, velvety and harmonious, full-bodied and with a woody aftertaste.
Produced from native Durello vineyards, and made with the classic technique employed for the best Champagne, the wine rests with its yeast, bottled, for 36 months. It produces a strong foam, has a straw-yellow color and a full-bodied taste, dry and with a balanced acidic and bitter profile. Very perfumed, it releases a refreshing and sapid sensation. Excellent when paired with baccalà alla vicentina, and with any type of fish; it also makes for a great cocktail wine, or aperitivo.
The traditional cuisine of this territory is characterized by its richness and in the variety of ingredients and native produce used, along with the local wine-making production.
Ever since ancient times, noble families from Verona and the very members of the Scaligeri family had been known for the incredible dishes they had prepared during luxurious receptions and banquets, where they entertained their guests with abundant libations and exquisite food.
This tradition was handed down to local restaurateurs and chefs, who know how to blend tradition and innovation, putting in the first place quality, excellent ingredients and hospitality above everything else. Here are a few traditional dishes that you can’t miss out on.
The recipe is one of the many and delicious ways to prepare the rice variety known as Vialone Nano, a typical ingredient harvested in the province South of Verona. The recipe calls for spring onions, olive oil and vegetable and chicken stock but the real protagonists are the soppressa di Brentòn (a type of cured meat) and Monte Veronese cheese; along with aromatic herbs, the dish transforms into a truly tasty and delicate risotto.
The Radicchio rosso di Verona is a type salad resembling an endive, and it’s widely used in the local cuisine; thanks to its slightly bitter taste and crunchy texture, it’s can be eaten raw or cooked, to achieve a tasty and colorful sauce that is perfect with fresh, homemade pasta (such as tagliolini) and paired with a glass of Soave Superiore DOCG.
Panmojo, a traditional rural dish protected by a Brotherhood by the same name, consists of a rich soup made with broth, potatoes, pumpkin, onion, lard and baked bread – the typical leftovers of a rural homestead. A reinvented version of the recipe is now a staple of the local cuisine, and it’s perfect to discover the simple but intense flavors of the past.
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