Around 20 kilometres outside of Verona, lies one of the main historical/monumental hearts of the area of Verona: Villafranca di Verona
. Although it is likely that its origins stem from Roman settlement on the ancient Via Postumia, Villafranca was officially founded in 1185 through the work of the Board of Chancellors of Verona, which promoted the population of the city thanks to the affrancamento (freeing) of fiscal charges
(from which it derived its name). The city possessed many important features during the medieval period, starting with the Castello Scagliero
with its characteristic perimeter wall and towers. History mostly remembers the city for the "Peace of Villafranca
", the treaty signed on 11th July 1859 by Napoleon III of France and Francis Joseph of Austria which concluded the second War of Independence and was the prelude to the Unification of Italy.
Not far from Villafranca is Valeggio sul Mincio
and the charming hamlet, Borghetto
: places renowned for the quantity of their monuments and for glimpses of rare beauty. Here it is possible to admire the XIII century Castello Scagliero
and the fortified dam, Visconti Bridge
, as well as the remains of the defence walls known as Serraglio
, which link Valeggio to Villafranca. In Borghetto it is possible to see the characteristic windmills of Mincio.
A visit to the Parco Giardino Sigurtà
is not to be missed: a spectacular garden measuring 50 hectares near to Mincio. Villa Maffei
, the 1690 Veneto villa famous for having been the general headquarters of the Austrian Emperor, Francis Joseph, rises up from within it.
The territory surrounding Verona offers innumerable and characteristic places of great historical and landscape interest.