The next time you visit Italy take the time to visit the charming and ancient town of Soave, just 23 km east of Verona in north-eastern Italy. If you thought you had to travel to Tuscany to see a walled hilltop village you are mistaken – Soave has all the necessary attributes and more!
Most people will be familiar with the name Soave – the wine of the same name, produced all around the town, is world famous and probably the best known Italian wine after Chianti.
Soave is a white wine produced from predominantly Garganega grapes grown on the many hillside vineyards all around the town of Soave, and has been awarded DOC status.
Soave is produced in large quantities and in the past few decades the quality has been a little inconsistent. The introduction of stricter requirements for a Soave Superiore (minimum of 70% Garganega grapes, minimum alcohol content of 11.5% and at least 8 months maturation) has resulted in the production of some very fine Soave wines with much more character and flavour than was the case in the past. Some of the very best wines from the region are produced on family-owned and operated wineries and some of them are open to the public for cellar tours and tastings.
What to see and do in Soave
At the very top of your to-do list should be a cellar tour and tasting! Three of the foremost Soave wineries that you can visit and tour are:
Rocca Sveva: A visit to this winery is an experience you should not miss even if you are not a wine lover. You will be amazed at the sight of hundreds of meters of tunnels that have been excavated into the hills of the countryside – these tunnels are filled with thousands of oak barrels lined up along cool underground walkways. At the end of your cellar tour you will be treated to a tasting and both lovely Soave and other local products such as Olive Oil and honey are on sale in the winery shop
I Stefanini: A completely different experience awaits you at Il Stefanini where the last generation of the Tessari family, who have farmed the land since the 1800’s, have decided to combine elements of the old traditions and modern technologies. No Oak barrels here…(traditional Soave was never matured in oak)
Instead expect massive stainless steel tanks; not as romantic perhaps, but their wine is gaining acclaim in all the major guides and reviews.
Coffele Winery: This is one of the oldest wineries in the area and is situated right in the heart of the town. Their Soave Classico is a very well-balanced wine with an exceptionally mild acidity making it a perfect accompaniment to fish and risotto dishes. They also make two other complex Classicos and are well worth a visit.
After you have toured a couple of wineries, it is time to explore the town of Soave. The Castle and Medieval Walls are superbly intact and are the main attraction in the town. The castle is a traditional elevated defensive structure and dates from around 934. The medieval walls were a much later addition; they surround the town and lead up to the castle. On your visit to the castle you can see the remains of a 10th century church, visit the various castle rooms and the museum.
Also worth a visit are the Palace of Justice in the centre of town and the Palazzo Cavallli and the Scaliger Palace. There are also a few churches where you can see examples of 16th and 14th century art.
When it comes to food, you will not be disappointed. There are several good restaurants serving regional cuisine with plenty of emphasis on Risotto (Italy’s best Risotto rice is produced in the area) and Polenta, rather than Pasta, the more well-known Italian basic.
Make sure to accompany your meal with a glass of Soave made just around the corner!
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My boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed the Foodies Tour, which included stops at producers of cheese, balsamic vinegar and cured meat. Paolo was an amazing tour guide – he's extremely knowledgeable, kind and a great communicator. We learned so much! It was really nice to be in a smaller group and most of the producers we visited were small so we were able to get a close up view of the processes. We'd highly recommend Emilia Delizia as this tour was truly authentic and a highlight of our trip!
thank you for the kind review
The tour of the Parmesan Reggiano cheese dairy, Balsamic Vinegar farm, the Parma ham and lunch at the organic vineyard was thoroughly enjoyed by our family of 4. Paolo was a gracious and knowledgeable host for the day and provided us with insights to the production of the cheese and balsamic vinegar which was enhanced due to his chemistry background. We would thoroughly recommend this tour to those interested in the specialities produced in the Modena region.
We had a wonderful tour, best part about visiting the Modena region!
The tour was perfect. I think Paolo would be a splendid ambassador for Italy in the EU. He knows how excellent Italian food and eating together can solve many major problems, and can stop aggressive behavior. Not the hunt for more money, but the well being of family and friends counts. Paolo shows us the products of ages of civilization and he did this like an artist. So after the tour we really love Italia more and we'll come back. We will call you Paolo, Thanks!
Following two tours with your guides this week I would like to express my thanks for some wonderful experiences.
Monday we did the tour of cheese making, balsamic and Salami which was very good and the guide Paolo was very knowledgeable.
The truffle hunt tour today was absolutely amazing, the guide Stefano is pure gold and the tour was built with much thought. Our best experience so far, by far.
Looking forward to more tours and fun next time we are in Italy.
The group (and me) was VERY satisfied. We really enjoyed the Parmegiano Regiano which was interesting and we got to buy some delicate and cheap cheese, the same with the balsamico. The Ferrari driving was off course an experience for life. The Winery lunch felt very genuine and the people there was really welcoming and nice people. The genuine feeling there was however the big plus for us.
Paolo was excellent as our guide. He also felt very genuine. He did not talk just for the sake of talking, but when he had something to say he did it in a respectful and nice way. Everyone in the group really liked him.
I wanted to let you know what a great day we had this past Friday on our tour with Jacamo. (Probably not spelling it right) He was very nice and explained everything to us. It sure gives you a new appreciation when you are slicing cheese. 🙂 Our tour ended with him taking us to the vineyard for a tour and lunch and there, Paolo, the owner could not have been more nicer. It was a perfect ending.
Please let Jacamo know what a great job he did and how much we really appreciated it and his knowledge
The website is well structured and we received a prompt answer to all questions. Gabriele supported us with all information we needed and the organization before the trip was excellent.
We had an air conditioned van, which was very relaxing through the whole tour. The first stop was the parmigiano production, which was very impressive and interesting. We could learn and especially see all the different steps and even taste the various aged parmigiano. The second step was the balsamic vinegar tasting. Finally the meat part was interesting in the museum but we hoped that we also could see more about the production and their work, but the tasting was delicious. In overall we had a very informative and well accommodated half day with our guide
It was great experience! We visited Parmesan cheese production, Balsamic vinegar farm, Ham museum and Farmer's lunch. Our guide gave us a detailed explanation, we were very satisfied. An excellent tour for a reasonable price, highly recommended.
Nous sommes une famille de cinq et nous avons adoré notre expérience. Les trois endroits étaient choisis judicieusement. Notre guide était très généreuse et super gentille. Nous recommandons ce tour ( parmesan, vinaigre balsamique et jambon de parme).