Lessinia Travel Guide

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This is a hillside and mountain zone located immediately to the north of Verona. It has the shape of a plateau cut by deep valleys and gradually sloping down towards the plains. This territory, as can be seen by its abundant marine fossil finds, was formed from the sea floor tens of millions of years ago. Today the highest part of the region has a tourist vocation both during the summer and for winter sports. The Lessinia hills, on the other hands, have a rich vegetation composed of olives and grapevines that yield excellent olive oil and superb wines. This part of the Lessinia plateau also offers tourists interesting possibilities for dining and for typical local products as well as interesting natural and environmental assets and a wealthy patrimony of villas and abbeys.

The mountains in the Veronese area with their valleys (vaj) exposed to the south, form a temperate environmental hinge situated between the Po plain and the Alps; the gradual inclination of their ridges (from 100 to 1800 meters in about 30 km), the abundant (autumnspring) rainfall of upper Lessinia, the deep grooves dug by streams, the karst aridity of their limestone and the millenary work of farmers, have given shape to a variety of environments.

The mediterranean olive groves and vineyards of the low hills gently fade into the orchards (cherry ond chestnut trees) of the middle Lessinia mountains and turn into the beech woods and grazing prairies of the plateau. Finally, volcanic and sedimentory rocks (sedimented in the lost 200 million years) make up the most ancient pieces of this rare environmental mosaic, of which the fossilized fishes of Bolca are the most famous attraction. Other historical activities, not practiced for many decades, such as the stocking and trading of natural ice and the production of wood coal, are now being brought back to life in the form of local museums and special interest sites. The natural pre-alpine environment thus provides a variety of points of interest for a new influx of tourists from all over Europe.

The recently constituted Lessinia Regional Natural Park, situated in the high altitude pasturelands (between 1200 and 1800 meters above sea level) emphasizes the importance of this plateau, which has witnessed, since the 13th century, the settlement of Bavarian-Tirolese speaking Cimbric (Tzimbar) communities. For more than 50 years, the Lessinia mountains have progressively developed both summer and winter tourism and have become, thanks to their geo-climatic variety the "No. 1 mountains" for many inhabitants of the Veneto and Lombardia plains; a regular bus service connects the railway station of Verona to the Lessinia area.

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