Villa della Torre
Valpolicella Sights Guide
Villa della Torre in Valpolicella is a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance architecture, a reinterpretation of the Romandomus, the typical patrician house. Its interior conceals a complex symbolism probably linked to mysterious initiatory rites of which the immense grotesque fireplaces are the most evident element. A visit to Villa della Torre is one of the things to do in Valpolicella.
Inquiries & Bookings:
+39 333 2199 645
Villa della Torre is today the property of the Allegrini wineries of Fumane which have made it the heart of their promotional and wine tourism activities. It is open to the public and it can be visited. The villa is surrounded by vineyards used to produce the famous Palazzo della Torre wine, inside you will find a wine shop and an elegant tasting room. It is also possible to stay overnight in one of the finely restored rooms of the villa and to organize dinners and private events.
The History of the Villa
It was commissioned by Giulio della Torre, a member of a rich and powerful Venetian family, an intellectual and humanist, friend and collaborator of the greatest personalities of the time. It was completed around 1560, but the authorship of the project is still debated. Many stylistic references seam to lead to Giulio Romano. In the same years he was in Mantua and realized for the Gonzagas Palazzo Te, with which Villa della Torre has a lot in common.
Another possible author could be Michele Sanmicheli, the main Veronese architect of the 1500s, or Bartolomeo Ridolfi, or even Giulio della Torre himself. As good Renaissance man he cultivated architecture amongst his many interests.
The building is characterized by great originality and complexity. In fact, it was not only a country residence, a center of agricultural activities and land management but, like all the so-called Venetian villas, it was also a place for the peace of soul and body according to the canons of the Latin authors so loved by the Italian Renaissance and humanistic tradition.
And maybe it also hides something more mysterious.
Villa della Torre Structure
Inner courtyard (Atrium) and Porch (Peristilium)
In the center of the building is a courtyard (atrium) around which develops a peristyle, the portico supported by columns typical of the domus, the Roman patrician residence. In the center of the peristyle is a large stone basin that serves as a symbolic impluvium, the rainwater collecting basin of ancient houses. From the peristyle you access the rooms. The peristyle was the place that welcomed Giulio della Torre's guests, who came here to spend their literary leisure time, dedicated to poetry, reading the classics and contemplating the nature of Valpolicella.
The characteristic that has made Villa della Torre famous are the immense fireplaces of the various rooms on the ground floor, gigantic sculptures carved from a single blocks of stone inside which is placed the fireplace. They represent respectively a lion, two sea monsters, a demonic giant. Much has been discussed about the meaning of these grotesque works, more unique than rare, which however remains surrounded by mystery, to be sought in the complex symbolism that pervades the very structure of Villa della Torre.
The Pond (Peschiera)
In front of the facade of the villa there is the fishpond, a series of tanks used to irrigate the vegetable gardens and the Italian garden that once stood in front of it, and to amaze visitors with water games. The similarity with Palazzo Te in Mantua is evident. It is one of the elements that have convinced some scholars to attribute the villa to Giulio Romano or at least to his school.
At the bottom of the villa is one of its most mysterious and fascinating place. A octagonal grotto with a vaulted ceiling supported by a central pillar. It is accessed through an opening in the shape of a monstrous mouth. The walls are decorated with sea shells, river pebbles, crystals, fossil sponges. Inside the cave, which could be closed by sliding stone doors now lost, there are some narrow slits along the walls. The use or symbolic meaning of this place is still unclear.
In the upper part of the property, slightly detached from the rest of the building, there is a small church with an octagonal plan which, according to Vasari, was designed by Michele Sanmicheli. The small temple is completed by a characteristic bell tower perfectly preserved.
Some interpretations of the complex symbolic structure of Villa della Torre consider it a place where to follow an initiatic path of elevation from the profane to the sacred, from the primordial to the spiritual. The structure is in fact articulated on three levels.
Starting from the bottom, from inside the cave that represents the primordial viscera from which man originated, we follow an upward route that ends with the church in the upper part of the property. In the middle the 4 elements: the earth of the cave, the water of the fishpond and the impluvium, the fire of the fireplaces. The latter would also represent the tests that man must face and overcome in order to elevate himself: the bestial instinct and the temptations of the devil.
This halo of mystery around the true meanings of Villa della Torre only adds to the charm of this extraordinary place.
Guided Tours and Tastings
After a long period in which it was closed to the public, Villa della Torre has finally been restored and has become a place of representation and hospitality for Allegrini wineries. Guided tours are available upon reservation, both for individual tourists and for small or large organized groups. During the guided tour all the various rooms of the villa are illustrated: the rooms with fireplaces, the peristyle, the fishpond, the small temple.
At the end of the guided tour of Villa della Torre it is possible to organize guided tastings
of Allegrini wines, also accompanied by tastings of local products.
During the course of the year the villa hosts numerous cultural events such as concerts, conventions, presentations
. It is available for the organization of private events and activities such as parties, weddings, receptions, company meetings, cooking classes, etc..
Villa della Torre is the representative place of Allegrini winery. The wine, however, is produced and aged in the nearby operational headquarters, in the village of Fumane, one of the five municipalities of Valpolicella Classica.
Allegrini is still a family-owned property, even though it is one of the most important and recognized brands in Valpolicella. Allegrini's philosophy has always been to not renounce to innovation if the result is a better wine. Alongside traditional methods, they were among the first to limit yields in the vineyard, favouring guyot training systems, experimenting with French oak barriques, producing single-varietal wines (La Poja) and building modern drying lofts for drying grapes in a controlled environment. Allegrini's wines over the years have obtained a great success, both on a national and international level. In the US and Asian markets they have become ambassadors of Valpolicella. Grapes are cultivated in some of the best production areas of Valpolicella such as Grola, the last western hill of Valpolicella.
IGT and Tuscan Wines
In addition to the most typical Valpolicella wines such as Valpolicella Classico, Amarone and Recioto, to the exclusive Amarone Riserva Fieramonti, in the Villa della Torre wine shop you will find a wide range of wines including and innovative IGT. Wines born of the creativity of winemakers who want to go beyond the limits imposed by strict DOC and DOCG regulations. Allegrini's flagship wine, for example, is Poja, an IGT made from 100% Corvina Veronese grapes grown on the top of the Grola hill, one of the best areas in Valpolicella. In the last decades Allegrini has also acquired some estates in important Tuscan production areas such as Montalcino and Bolgheri. The wines from these estates are all available for tasting and sale in the wine shop. You will be spoilt for choice.
The Wine Shop
Villa della Torre's wine shop is open for informal tastings and purchases.
It is possible to buy wine online.
The Allegrini cellars with the historical barrel cellar can be visited upon reservation.
Villa della Torre is about 30' drive from the center of Verona.
To contact the villa directly: +39 045 683 2070.
For inquiries and more detailed information about guided tours, visits to wineries, or to the various monuments, villas and churches or to organize a guided tour in Valpolicella do not hesitate to contact us.
Info & Bookings:
+39 333 2199 645