Isola Della Scala
Leaving Borgogelsi and heading towards Verona, you come across the town of Isola Della Scala.
If you go there in September or October, you will find a lot of activities going on, because this is the period of the rice fair.
It is surely worth stopping by one of these enormous warehouses to taste a steaming hot plate of rice.
There is something for everyone, but you absolutely must taste the traditional risotto with “Tastasal”.
Moving North East towards Trento, you cross the sunny Valpolicella, and can immerse yourself in the view of the vineyards where, with the diligent and patient work of the local winemakers, the precious wine that gets its name from this valley “Il Valpolicella” is born.
If you want, you can stop in one of the many cellars that are spread out around the area and taste precious sips of Recioto or Amarone.
Borghetto, Parco Sigurtà and Parco Natura Viva
Along the way, a stop at Borghetto sul Mincio is mandatory. There, you must see Ponte Visconteo.
Just above, in Valeggio sul Mincio, we must spend an afternoon visiting the Parco Giardino Sigurtà. I guarantee it will be a unique experience, both for the tour and for the spirit, with all the beauty and serenity the place emanates.
Not far away, just outside the town of Bussolengo, we can stop to visit the Parco Natura Viva. It is a great, modern and important centre for the protection and conservation of species that are under threat or risking extinction.
We leave Mantua behind us, crossing a long bridge separating the middle lake from the lower lake, and we take regional road 10, also called the “Padana Inferiore”, crossing several towns, including Castel d’Ario.
This town, in addition to being the birthplace of famous motor racing driver Tazio Nuvolari, is also famous for a highly appreciated culinary dish: the “risotto alla Pilota”.
The ingredients of the recipe include: rice – strictly vialone nano, the condiment: butter, ground pork and Grana Padano cheese. The dish is particularly substantial, but absolutely gratifying.
Next, we reach the town of Nogara. Here the aforementioned Padana Inferiore road crosses state road 12 of Brennero.
Nogara is a very important railway junction for the Brennero railway line. Goods and passengers arrive from central Europe through this artery, directly into the heart of Italy, passing through Verona, Bologna, Florence and Rome.
With the high-speed upgrade, the importance of this railway line has become even more important. From Verona to Rome the travel time is just over three hours.
Tavanara in the vicinity of Nogara, on the border with the Municipality of Sanguinetto that I have already mentioned, is a hamlet which, divided between the two towns, formed around a small country church.
Continuing along the Padana Inferiore you reach Legnago, often called the capital of the Bassa area.
Legnago was part of the fortresses of the square, and as evidence of this historical memory there is a turret in the historical area of the town.
Legnago is the birthplace of Antonio Salieri. For those who saw the 1984 film by Milos Forman, the unpleasant figure of the musician from Legnago, Mozart’s bitter rival.
And the municipal theatre of Legnago is named after this musician.
The Adige river cuts the town of Legnago in two perfect halves, and on that river, there is quite an important river port – in terms of trade – in the municipality of Legnago.
An important road which reaches Legnago from Verona, before continuing to Rovigo, is the state road 434, referred to as the “Transpolesana”. This road, built in the 1980s, made motor vehicle connections between Verona, the Bassa Veronese and the Rovigo area very quick.
Using the Transpolesana, you quickly reach Ferrara.
The family that made Ferrara important were the Estensi who, in the Renaissance period, made it an important political, artistic and cultural centre.
Of this happy period, we can still admire the Castello Estense.
To this day, there is a heated culinary debate between the inhabitants of Ferrara and Mantua over who created the typical dish of the two areas, tortelli di zucca [pasta with pumpkin filling].
Without entering the dispute, we – as eaters – are only interested in discovering how the culinary culture in these two areas created such a precious and tasty dish.
The first town in the province of Padua located along the Padana Inferiore is Montagnana.
A walled city whose walls are still in excellent condition, making it one of the best-preserved walled cities of the Veneto region.
Continuing further, you reach Monselice, which lies at the feet of the Euganei hills. The stations of cross that start with the first station at the bottom of the hill, with the last one at the top, is very beautiful.
In Monselice, the Padana Inferiore road – which we have followed so far – comes to an end. But let’s not get lost, we can now take the A13 Padua-Bologna motorway and continue to Padua.
Padua, also referred to as “la Dottissima” [the erudite], is home to the oldest university in Italy.
But above all, it is a city full of monuments:
- The basilica of Saint Antony of Padua, known as Il Santo, is a pilgrimage destination for believers from all over the world.
- Caffè Pedrocchi, one of the most famous cafés in terms of architecture, history, and literature in Italy.
- The Scrovegni chapel, with its marvellous frescoes by Giotto.
- Prato della Valle, the largest historical piazza in Italy, with a surface area of 88,620 m2.
From Padua, you can reach Venice along the Brenta riviera with a traditional Venetian boat – the Burchiello – admiring the beautiful Venetian villas of the riviera during this mini cruise.
I could write about Venice for hours. I could talk as long about the Venetian villas, or of Cortina, the pearl of the Dolomites, but my purpose here is not to bore you with lists of monuments.
My purpose is to help you follow an itinerary which, from Sanguinetto, took us around an area that abounds in history, tradition and culture, and in this voyage, raise your curiosity and stimulate you to go and explore the individual aspects of this so deeply varied territory.