Driving to a vineyard for lunch will always rate as one of life’s nicer experiences, but a visit to the renowned Allegrini Estate in Veneto makes even the most extravagant repast seem like a soggy Gregg’s steak bake.
This is a chance to live like a bloated and fantastically rich Veronese merchant with gout – and take a nice Sideways-esque meander through Italian wine country at the same time.
Lucy Sweet is a writer and journalist from Hull (2017 City of….oh, you’ve already heard that one?) who now lives in Glasgow. She has contributed to Glamour, The Guardian and Sabotage Times and can cut the top off a bottle of wine with a sword.
August 1, 2014
The Allegrini Estate, which has been making wine since the 16th Century, is only 15km northwest of Verona – towards Lake Garda – in La Valpolicella. Valpolicella isn’t just what you yell at a waiter in a pizza restaurant when you’re thirsty – it actually means ‘land of many cellars’. It’s also the land of many beautiful undulating vineyards, the Lessini mountains, dry stone walls, endless cypresses and terracotta roofs.
You could take the relatively dull SP12 motorway and be there in about 20 minutes, but it’s worth taking a bit more time to investigate the back roads of La Valpolicella – even if you might find yourself face to face with donkeys and confused looking farmers. (Yes, there’s the odd donkey, just hanging about being rustic and charming.)
As you drive up to the Allegrini Estate, which takes up 100 pine-scented hectares of the Fumane area, you’ll find the rather breathtaking blonde Villa Della Torre, which is still used as a party pad by the younger members of the Allegrini family. It’s a beautiful Medieval copy of a Roman villa, complete with courtyard, outrageous lion’s mouth fireplaces, Murano chandeliers, frescoes and gargoyles wherever you look. (Kimye would LOVE it.) It also has a devil’s folly, traditionally used as a place to hide your sins and dirty books. Walk into its spooky hideyholes and think about what you’ve done – or what you are about to do.