If you fancy exploring the region in search of wonderful scenery and unforgettable places, Valeggio sul Mincio and the little hamlet of Borghetto are the places to go.
They lie either side of the Mincio river, south of Lake Garda, just half an hour from Verona. The name Valeggio is said to mean “flat place” but legend has it that it is derived from Vale Dium, valley of the Gods.
Destination paradise: Parco Sigurtà
Valeggio, with its majestic hilltop castle, is best known for the Parco Sigurtà, a magnificent park which is open to the public from March to November, a fabulous place to get away from it all, immersed among the rich variety of plants and flowers. The Park, which was recognised as one of Italy’s best parks in 2013 and which won the European Garden Award in 2015, hosts numerous nature and history related attractions. It was laid out alongside Villa Sigurtà, a neoclassical 17th century mansion which later became the headquarters of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph and, later, of Napoleon Bonaparte.
he Lover’s Knot
Valeggio sul Mincio has an illustrious history and the town is also notable for its most famous delicacy: tortellini. If you pass this way, do not forget to stop off at a restaurant to try a dish of Valeggio tortellini, the masterpiece of local cuisine, which must be made by hand from a thin sheet of pasta with a tasty meat filling. This dish is connected to a fascinating legend from the end of the 14th century, written and illustrated by master goldsmith Alberto Zucchetta. Known as the legend of the lover’s knot, it tells the story of two lovers, the nymph Silvia and captain Malco, who left a knotted yellow silk sheet on the banks of the Mincio as a token of their forbidden love.
Borghetto, one of Italy’s most beautiful villages
Before leaving, you must visit Borghetto, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. A visit to Borghetto is like going back in time, into a beautifully preserved mediaeval village straight out of a fairytale, with water mills that used to grind grain and cereals, the fortified fortress of the Ponte Visconteo bridge, the old stone houses and the castle.
My advice is to take some time to relax and enjoy your surroundings whilst drinking a coffee or a spritz in one of the delightful local osterie, particularly in spring when the flowers are in bloom. The province of Verona has so many hidden gems to be discovered off the beaten track, in the form of villages, stories, people and local produce rooted in the traditions of the past.