Valpolicella is situated to the north of the city of Verona, to the west of Lake Garda, and extends east and north towards the Lessinia mountain range.
The calcareous mountainous area of the Cretaceous period forms the Lessinia mountains, a range that is covered with meadows, pastures and beech and coniferous forests. The hills, on which most of the vineyards are located, are the southerly offshoots of the mountains, with rather long ridges that separate the three valleys.
On the sides of these hills the vineyards are laid out both on the slopes and on terraced areas that are supported by dry stone walls (“marogne”) and by embankments, up as far as a height of 500 m. The specific geology of this area has brought about different types of land formations.
The lands on which grapes are grown are of mainly red and brown soil on rock debris, calcareous marl and basalt, and are carved out along the smaller valleys. Each valley has its own slightly different geological layers, but all of which have in common a good concentration of clay and limestone, a feature that helps when summer droughts occur, and which guarantees an excellent microclimate for the ripening of the grapes.
The flat plain area is formed by alluvial deposits from the Adige River and the torrents (“progni”) which come down from each single smaller valley. Apart from grape-growing, there are other types of agriculture carried out on these lands, such as seeded crops, vegetables and fruit trees, in particular, cherry and peach.
Its geographical position makes the land an agriculturally important zone, so much so that today it is one of the most important red wine producing areas in the whole world.
Its importance is not only recognized for grape-growing, but also for its excellent production of oil, giving Valpolicella an important role in the production of DOP (protected designation of origin) Extra Virgin Olive Oil of high quality. The fortunate geographical position of this area also makes it famous around the world for its Lessinia marble mining and production.
The curve of the Adige River which cradles Valpolicella and its climate make the land perfect for fruit growing; the strip of land closest to the river is reserved for this purpose, especially for peach orchards and kiwi; the foothill area and the lower hills are taken up with vineyards; the higher hills host cherry orchards which, starting from the rows where the vines are interspersed, are on meadows and slopes that were once wooded; in the springtime other types of fruit trees can be seen, such as apricot and plum; and still further up are meadows and pastures, with more cherry trees and woods of chestnut trees.
This land is not only dedicated to agriculture, but it is also recognized for the production of a famous cheese, “DOP Monte Veronese”, one of the most well-known traditional cheeses in Italian cuisine.