San Giorgio Valpolicella: an hidden gem near Verona


San Giorgio Valpolicella is located in one of the most famous wine production areas of Italy, near Verona. The whole Valpolicella zone is characterized by tiny villages, sumptuous villas, little churches, olive trees and of course vineyards, which produce: Valpolicella, Valpolicella Ripasso, Recioto and Amarone.

Locals also call San Giorgio Valpolicella Ingannapoltron, meaning lazybonescheater because, when you see it from below, it seems close. But it’s not. Obviously this is a memory of ancient times, when people had to go on foot or by wagon. Don’t worry! Nowadays it is easily reachable by car, as Matteo and I did.

We arrived on a Sunday when there was no one around. It seemed a ghost town. And I liked it. The only people we spotted were two policemen talking to a villager regarding some wood piles not properly tied. The wood provisions for next winter were already set, so. Despite being near Verona, I gather that winter must be icy here.

In fact, San Giorgio seemed in every way a mountain village. Stone houses, narrow streets, potted plants and flowers and also those white stoned fencing that I only ever saw in mountain villages. We spotted an elderly lady climbing one of these paths carrying a bucket. And I have to tell you: she was more agile than me!

The lady climbing
The lady climbing

The main attraction, other than some hiking tracks to reach the ancient marble caves, is the Pieve, the Romanesque parish church. It is in fact one of the most ancient examples of Romanesque architecture in the province of Verona (dating back to VII century but partially reconstructed in XII after an earthquake).

This church is interesting first of all for its architectural structure (three apses), then for its cute little cloister, a ciborium (inside) and the frescoes. About the frescoes, you have to insert a coin to turn on the light and admire them properly. We inserted a coin and the light didn’t last much 🙁 plus to see the freescoes on the other side, another coin (we were out of small change so no more frescoes and no more photos- it was too dark. I post the only pic I could take that is not blurred 🙂 Sorry!

We stopped at Rosa Alda restaurant to have lunch. The owner was super polite. The food was quite good. Especially the home made tagliatelle with beans. All the dishes were simple traditional specialities. The only flaw were the desserts, but just because they were too simple for me (I’m a glutton and I love elaborated and creamy desserts): we ordered a slice of pissota con l’oio (a sweet focaccia made with flour and olive oil). It was good but it seemed more a breakfast kind of cake (to dip in caffelatte or milk).

They have a huge terrace to eat al fresco or, as we Italians actually say, all’aperto (outdoors). It was cold the day we went but if you end up there on a hot day don’t miss it!

San Giorgio Valpolicella is worth a short detour if you’re nearby, in order to taste ancient aromas and enjoy a wonderful view of Lake Garda and the Valpolicella hills. It must be astounding on a sunny day… So let me know if you go!


San Giorgio Valpolicella

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