Veneto villas & wines: the best wineries in centuries-old villasGallery
As true insiders, we will never tire of repeating it: Venetian villas are not only museums but precious treasure troves of many surprises, including famed time-honoured wineries where the most famous wines of the Veneto were first introduced and are still produced: Amarone, Prosecco, Merlot , Raboso, Pinot Noir just to name a few.
We are talking about renowned Amarone wineries in Valpolicella such as Allegrini, Bertani, Serego Alighieri but also famous wineries producing Colli Euganei wines, such as the Emo Capodilista family, or coveted wines produced in Vicenza at Villa Angarano, Palladio’s Villa di Maser, Villa Sandi and the prestigious Tenuta dei Baroni Ciani Bassetti in the province of Treviso.
Wine production, in fact, is an ancient tradition in Venetian villas because each villa was established as the hub of both the agricultural and wine making activities in the landholdings of the Venetian nobility. In the large arrangements of structures that composed a Venetian villa, a winery was always present and in some cases it was even of a much bigger size when compared to other buildings dedicated to agricultural functions.
Over the centuries the villas have generally maintained their wine vocation, especially in the areas that later became the cradle of DOC or DOCG wines, and some of these mansions have further distinguished themselves for quality and excellence and, deservedly, can today be counted among the best Veneto wineries.
Throughout Veneto, it is mainly in Verona’s Venetian villas that most of the historic wineries can still be found today. Indeed, if you want to taste Amarone, the king of Valpolicella’s wines, the best Amarone wineries to visit are precisely the historic noble residences on the foothills near the city of Verona. Worth mentioning first is Bertani winery, Italy, still housed at Villa Novare (nowadays called Mosconi Bertani) in Arbizzano di Negrar: from here, in the sunny heart of Valpolicella, the Bertani family was the first to use the name Amarone for the fine Veneto red wine that is today famous all over the world. The historic eighteenth-century winery, with its huge original barrels still being used and on show, is open to the public and can be visited by appointment, as are the striking villa and its romantic park with pond. On the back of the main body, the ancient brolo (enclosed garden) still houses the centuries-old vineyard. A tasting of Amarone Bertani in this place is certainly one of the most fascinating and sensory experiences you can indulge in when in Veneto!
The province of Treviso, however, is not far behind because Prosecco sparkling wine is undeniably another first-class produce of the region known at every latitude. This wine is also produced in some of the most beautiful Venetian villas in the region, the best example being Villa di Maser, designed by Palladio. The great architect had planned the 'wine making places' exactly beneath the elegant side loggias of the villa, and that’s where they remained for three centuries until around 1850, when a new winery was built next to the villa to house the production of wine. Even today the owners of the villa continue this ancient winemaking tradition in an area that has recently acquired the denomination of DOC Montello and Colli Asolani.
A few kilometers away, the seventeenth century and elegant Villa Sandi is another centre of production of the famous Prosecco sparkling wine and has opened its underground historical winery to visitors. This is housed in part of the secret tunnels dug and used during the Two World Wars by soldiers headed towards the battlefront on the River Piave. Villa Sandi Prosecco is known all over the world thanks to the international reputation of the Moretti Polegato family who is today continuing its production.
However, Treviso’s wine tradition is not limited to Prosecco brands: in Roncade, on the flat land that stretches towards the sea, the Baroni Ciani Bassetti family were first to start, almost one hundred years ago, the production of a renowned Bordeaux blend red wine in the Castle also known as Villa Giustinian. You can taste this wine in the historical agricultural wing buildings of the villa where the wineries are still in operation. The Tenuta dei Baroni Ciani Bassetti is today one of the best prosecco wineries near Venice and the villa is a rather unusual complex: it is also called 'castle' for the walls that enclose it, a feature characterizing some of the old villas built before Palladio’s time.
Finally we turn our attention to the province of Padua, in an area well known for Colli Euganei wines. Here, one of the top Veneto wineries is housed in nothing less than one of the most spectacular villas in the Veneto region: Villa Emo Capodilista in Selvazzano Dentro. A visit to this villa is truly an exceptional event in itself that allows you not only to discover one of the most beautiful places in the world – a sixteenth-century villa with almost baroque shapes and spectacular loggias overlooking the landscape of the Euganean Hills Regional Park - but also get to know the ancient wine production of the Emo Capodilista family who have long lived in and farmed this area.
As you have seen, the wineries of our Timeless Villas hold many surprises! We are not talking about a straightforward Veneto wine list, but top-rated experiences that are not available anywhere else, combining art, taste and the best produce!