Val D'Adige and Terra dei Forti

The itinerary starts from Volargne with beautiful Villa del Bene, bought in 1538 by Del Bene family who were originally from Rovereto. Constructed along the ancient Strada Tridentina and at just a stone’s throw from the Adige – both of which were important trade and communications routes between Trento and Verona - the villa enjoyed a period of great splendour during the XVI century. A monumental gateway attributed to the Veronese architect Michele Sanmicheli provides access to the villa. The gate carries a symbolic head of Jesus and a sun disc with the inscription of its date on the back, 1551. The oldest part of the villa was built in Renaissance style and its most noteworthy features are the frescoes above the stairs, the loggia, the main hall and selected rooms on the upper floor. The works are by famous Veronese masters of the period and show landscapes, religious scenes, poets and poetesses. The villa was acquired by the State in 1956.

As we follow the river the scenery of the Valdadige becomes truly beautiful, with it sheer cliff walls which enclose the Ceraino Lock. This is the last part of the valley, and in the glacier age there was a huge wall lying across it, blocking off the rest of the valley. When the glaciers retreated, the river started its slow but continuous erosion of the rock and finally opened a breach towards the plains. The Ceraino Lock is the result of this long process that continues on even today. Along the road, the remains of the first Austrian fortress can be seen, balanced on the steep rock face. It was built between 1849 and 1851 and then dismantled to allow for widening of the road.


In Ceraino, there is another fort, clinging to the rocky peaks, which can be reached by a pleasant, leisurely walk. There is a large parking lot near the church where you can leave your vehicle. The structure you see while looking up towards the right is not the Fort of Ceraino, which is not visible from the road, but that of Monte, which you can reach along the same path.
Cross the road, and follow the trail upwards for a few meters then take the path on the right. After a few upward turns you will reach the Ceraino Fort at 236 metres above sea level. This is an authentic work of military engineering, constructed between 1850 and 1851, dedicated to Fieldmarshal Lieutenant Jahann von Hlavaty. The fort is in an excellent state of conservation with a wide moat still surrounding the walls and sentry boxes (1.5 km – about 25 minutes).


The mule track, partially excavated in the solid rock, continues onwards, reaching Monte Fort which was built by the Austrians between 1849 and 1852, and is dedicated to General Anton von Mollinary. Unfortunately, only the ruins of this fortress remain because the German soldiers, before abandoning the site, set fire to the gunpowder stored inside, destroying most of the building. Entry to the public is forbidden because of its dangerous physical state.
However, we recommend continuing this pleasant walk which takes you along some winding mountain paths (a further 2 km – about 45 minutes or by car from the village of Monte) for the splendid views it affords of Valdadige. Upon looking down into the valley you can see that the river finishes it course before reaching the plains that bring it to the sea. On the other side of the river you can see two more forts. The round one is that of Rivoli, while the one in the distance is San Marco.

By car, follow the road to Trento with cliff face on the right and the Valdadige vineyards on the left, until you reach Peri, where there is the “Peri-Fosse” bike run. It is a tough route of 8.9 km up the turns of State Road n° 57. A automatic timing system is available.
By crossing the bridge over the Adige and heading back towards Verona, you will reach Canale, where there are ruins of another fort.

If you turn right at the crossroads in Zuane you can walk to the San Marco fort, whereas by turning left takes you towards Rivoli, where the Wohlgemuth Fort is located. The fort was built between 1850 and 1851 on top of Monte Castello.
The main part of the fort consists of a cylindrical, two-floor casemate which was once guarded by 17 cannons. Within its walls, there were the prisons, gunpowder store, infirmary, officials’ and soldiers’ lodgings, deposit and stores, all connected within so that there was no need to leave the complex, meaning that if they were attacked they could move around in complete safety. The artillery was positioned above, facing Valdadige. A military museum has recently been opened in the fort, with a great number of relics from the First World War.


While in Rivoli, it is worth visiting the Museo Napoleonico, a private structure built in remembrance of the battle fought close to the town on January 14, 1797, when General Napoleon led French troops to victory against the Austrians. The museum conserves documents, maps, a model of the battle ground and more information on the political situations of the era, the historical causes that provoked the clash and its consequences.


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