The province of Verona extends southward from the city to the Padana Plain, a vast panorama of lowlands dominated by the cultivation of cereals and rice, and interrupted only by the solemn flow of the Adige River and tributaries of the Po. The lowlands, or Bassa, have a melancholy charm that recall man’s relationship to the land, the cyclical nature of the seasons, and the vibrant colours of autumn, dimmed only by the first fog.
Many towns in the area have an impressive history. Romanesque churches are found in Belfiore, Isola della Scala, Erbedello, Cerea and Gazzo. Scaliger fortifications, seen in Valeggio sul Mincio, Villafranca, Nogarole Rocca, Isola della Scala, Salizzole and Sanguinetto, formed part of the unique and famous defensive systemcreated by the Veronese noble family dal Mincio at Paludi del Grezzanoknown as the Serraglio. Archeological museums of five local communities display many artifacts, and testify to a human presence in the area as far back as the Neolithic era.
One of the greatest expressions of local peasant culture can be found near Isola della Scala, where evidence of the area’s flouishing rice industry (Vialone Nano IGP), including the Pila Vecia, a 17th century machine used to husk rice, is ample. From the annual Rice Fair held each September/October, to artisan-made agricultural crafts used for rice cultivation and production, the importance of the local rice crop is abundantly clear. Other agricultural products, including Veronese chicory, Cologna Veneta potatoes, Castagnaro cabbage, and the apples of Zevio, are equally important. In addition, local furniture artisans have found great success. The area has also been a noted center of furniture design and production since the 1920s, and thrives today thanks to a vocational school, Scuola di Ebanisteria, in Bovolone. All of this and more can be found within a panorama of unlimited horizonsthe last remaining marshlands of the Great Veronese Valley, where cane, wild grasses, and rare species of flowers and fauna all flourish.