The churches and religious buildings of Valpolicella (in the province of Verona) are testimony to a history of popular worship which stretches over many centuries.
The itinerary to discover some of the most important sites leaves from the town of Fumane, where the shrine dedicated to the Madonna of La Salette (Santuario della Madonna de Le Salette) stands. It was built in 1860 by the people of Fumane in order to thank the Madonna for having freed them from downy mildew, a serious disease which afflicts vines.
In the San Pietro in Cariano area, a hamlet of San Floriano, you can visit the precious Romanesque pieve, from the twelfth century. Its impressive tuff (volcanic rock) façade is almost completely intact, whilst the bell tower is constructed in the Veronese style of that time. The pieve preserves several artworks of considerable value, such as the wooden sculpture of the "Madonna in adoration of her Son", the canvas of the "Madonna of the Rosary", and the baptism font carved from a single block of red marble.
Going up the Marano valley you pass through the town of Valgatara, where the small rural church of San Marco from the thirteen century is found. The building has a simple façade in local Prun stone and a beautiful bell tower, which is testimony to an evident Romanesque influence. The interior single nave is decorated with preserved thirteen century frescoes. The final stage of the itinerary is the Marano di Valpolicella, where the Santa Maria Valverde church from the fifteen century stands.
Archaeologists for a day
The Grotta di Fumane is one of the major European prehistoric archaeological sites. It includes evidence of the presence of Neanderthals and Sapiens Sapiens. The most valuable feature is a rock painting in red ocher which is considered the oldest pictorial find in Europe.