Valeggio & Borghetto sul Mincio
Together with a tourist guide discover the inland south of lake Garda along the river Mincio, its emissary, one of the cleanest river in Italy. The area around the Mincio has been declared natural park.
A guided tour of Borghetto and Valeggio allows you to get to know two of the most charming places in the province of Verona. You will find a rich and ancient history, enchanting landscapes, stories of ghosts and fairies, a refined and tasty cuisine. The guided itinerary lasts about 2 hours, and can be extended to the Sigurtà Park or other destinations such as Peschiera, Sirmione, or completed with a taste of the famous tortellini di Valeggio (stuffed pasta) in one of the many restaurants of the area.
Info and Bookings:
+39 333 2199 645 email@example.com P.I. 03616420232 C.F. CPPMHL74L13L781C
Valeggio sul Mincio
The guided tour can start from Valeggio.
Lake Garda Itineraries
The village is dominated by the presence of Castle built in the 14th century by the Scala family, perched on a hill overlooking the Mincio valley, preserves intact all its impressive architecture. The part that can be visited today is the ancient fortress, which back in the days was accessible by means of drawbridges, now replaced by a cobbled path.
The tourist guide of Valeggio can meet visitors at the bottom of the access road. The bus that accompanies larger groups can briefly stop and the bus stand on the opposite side to let passengers get off.
A short walk will take you to the entrance to the partially ruined perimeter walls of the Castle of Valeggio. The central courtyard of the castle is characterized by a distinctive round tower, the oldest structure of the fortress. It is a horseshoe-shaped construction dating back to the 10th century, when a small fortress was already standing here to control the strategic passage over the Mincio river.
The rest of the castle of Valeggio dates back to the Scala family period, when it was a fundamental outpost of the "Serraglio", that complex system of fortifications that protected the south-western border of the territory controlled by the Lords of Verona. The keep, the highest tower of the castle, is in a good state of conservation and accessible, although it is normally closed and only opened by volunteers on special occasions. From the parapets of the courtyard you can enjoy an incomparable view, both to the east, towards Verona and the Po Valley, and to the west, over the Mincio and the morainic hills of Lake Garda.
In 1387 the castle passed into the hands of the Visconti, the lords of Milan, when, after defeating the Scala family, they took possession of all their lands. Now overturned the front, the Mincio river became the defence of the south-eastern borders of the Duchy of Milan. Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the duke of Milan, connected the castle of Valeggio to Borghetto, which lies further down the valley, by means of a wall that extended over the river Mincio and became the famous bridge. In Gian Galeazzo's plans, if necessary, the bridge could have turned into a dam, diverting the course of the Mincio river and draining the lakes surrounding Mantua, leaving its lords, the Gonzaga defenceless in the face of a Visconti attack.
The Ghost of the Castle
It is said that the castle is inhabited by the ghost of Andriolo da Parma. He was the lord of the castle of Valeggio when, in the tumultuous struggles for power in the old Scala family territories, after 15 years of Visconti's domination, the area passed under the control of Giacomo da Carrara, lord of Padua. Andriolo was falsely accused of treason, his sword broken and, transferred to Verona, executed.
Many swear that they saw his evanescent silhouette wandering around on full moon nights within the walls and battlements of the castle in search of his sword and lost honour..
In Valeggio there is Parco Sigurtà, one of the most beautiful parks in Italy. Its history dates back to the beginning of the 15th century, when, putting an end to the continuous struggles for control of the old Scala family territories, the Republic of Venice finally took power. A large portion of agricultural land passed to the Venetian nobleman Gerolamo Nicolò Contarini. At the centre of his possessions he built a villa, as was then the fashion among the Venetian nobility, and part of the land was used for a garden. The estate and the villa changed hands several times, continuing to grow and expand. In 1699 the right to supply the water of the Mincio was granted, still in existence today, which allowed the garden to be enlarged to its current size of 22 hectares. In the 19th century it was transformed into a romantic English garden, with lotus and water lily ponds, romantic groves, artificial caves and decorative structures reminiscent of Arcadia and literary games.
Today the Sigurtà garden is open to the public and can be visited. Depending on the season you can enjoy spectacular blooms of tulips, irises, roses, hydrangeas and many other species.
A visit to Sigurtà Park can be the perfect complement to a guided tour of Valeggio and Borghetto, for a day immersed in nature and relaxation. For further information please refer to the official website of the park.
Parco Sigurtà was born as a brolo (field enclosed by a wall) of Villa Sigurtà, designed in the mid 1600s by the architect Pellesina, influenced by Palladio. The villa, still in perfect condition, is characterized by a Renaissance facade on which, however, Baroque influences are already felt. Some of the most important personalities of the 19th and 20th century have been guests in its rooms. The villa is not normally open to the public but can be used for private events. Here is the official website.
From the Castle of Valeggio sul Mincio your tour guide can take you along the path that leads to Borghetto passing through a steep forest. The road is not too rough, but for you don't feel like walking, you can take the car or bus and in a few minutes you can reach the parking lot of the village passing over the old Visconti's middle age bridge.
Borghetto is literally built above the river Mincio and is made up of the old water mills that in ancient times relied on the current of the river. Many of the mills have now been converted into restaurants, bars or holiday apartments.
The hamlet preserves a medieval atmosphere, with its Ghibelline battlements, the bell tower of the little church of San Marco, and the wheels of the ancient water mills, some of which are still running. The views are dominated by the famous Visconti's bridge, a fortified dam built in 1393 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, to protect the eastern borders of his possessions. The bridge was joined to the overhanging Scala's Castle by two crenellated curtains so as to form part of the so-called Serraglio, a formidable fortified system that stretched for 16 kilometres in the plain between Lake Garda, Verona and Mantua.
The bridge is 650 metres long and 25 metres wide.
Borghetto has been included in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
The Tortellini of Valeggio
Valeggio and Borghetto are also famous for tortellini. Tortellini is a ring-shaped pasta dumpling stuffed with a filling typically made of meat, cheese and ham. It is a dish typical of Italian Northern regions like Emilia Romagna (Bologna and Modena in particular), but those made in Valeggio and Borghetto are particularly famous for the extra thin sheet of pastry that wraps the filling. To make such a thin dough you need a lot of eggs. The official recipe speaks of 6 eggs for every kilo of flour, but it is said that some famous restaurants use many more and have many other craft secrets to obtain an almost transparent but, at the same time, resistant sfoglia.
Traditional tortellini of Valeggio and Borghetto are usually served in broth or with butter and grated Parmigiano cheese.
In Valeggio there are many fresh pasta shops that produce and sell tortellini and other types of egg pasta, as well as many restaurants, both in Valeggio and Borghetto, where you can taste them. Which is the best is the subject of great debate and divides gourmet connoisseurs into ferocious factions.
The Love Knot
A romantic legend is linked to the Tortellini di Valeggio.
During the period of the Visconti occupation one evening Malco, captain of the local garrison, saw a group of river nymphs dancing in a clearing. As soon as the fairies realize they have been discovered they flee into the river Mincio. Malco, however, reaches on of them and the two fall in love at first sight. The nymph is called Silvia and at dawn she must return to the Mincio. As a love pledge she gives Malco a knotted silk handkerchief.
The following day there is a party in the presence of the Duke of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Some maidens dance to entertain the guests. Among them Malco recognizes Silvia. The languid looks between the two do not go unnoticed to Isabella, who loves Malco. Isabella is the Duke's cousin and when she unmasks Silvia denouncing her as a witch, only Malco's intervention allows the nypmh to dive back into the river. Malco is arrested. Later Silvia emerges again from the Mincio to make Malco escape from the prison where he has been locked up. They are discovered and chased by Gian Galeazzo and his soldiers. But Isabella, repentant for what she did, stands between the pursuers, allowing the two lovers to dive into the river where, thanks to a spell by Silvia, Malco can live with her forever. Behind them they leave the knotted handkerchief that Malco had received in pledge.
Since then, the women of Valeggio, in order to remember this romantic story, prepare the tortellini that resembles a knot in the shapes and has a sheet as thin as the silk from which Silvia's handkerchief was made.
Love Knot Festival
Every year, on the third Tuesday of June, the Visconti bridge is closed to traffic, set up with tables and chairs, and becomes the setting for an outdoor Guinness Book of Records dinner. This is the Festa del Nodo d'Amore (Love Knot Festival), attended by more than 3,000 people who will be served a total of 13 quintals of tortellini "knotted" by hand by the pasta shops and restaurants of the Associazione Ristoratori, paired with local wines: Custoza and Bardolino.
At the end of the dinner, an extraordinary fireworks display will light up Borghetto, the Mincio and the Ponte Visconteo.
Informazioni e visite guidate:
+39 333 2199 645 firstname.lastname@example.org P.I. 03616420232 C.F. CPPMHL74L13L781C