Best times to stay in Negrar:
January and February
Skiing in Lessinia and on Monte Baldo, about 40 minutes' drive from Negrar, but check for snow conditions first.
Sledging in the Lessinia hills and ice skating in Bosco Chiesanuova
Carnival in Verona and Venice .
March and April
One of the most beautiful times in Negrar when the valley is filled with cherry blossom and early flowers.
Vinitaly, in early April, is the most important Wine Fair in the world and all accommodation is booked up months in advance. Maybe not the best time for wine lovers unless you are going to the Fair as the producers are away from their vineyards and only arrange visits for clients attending the Fair. If you would like to get to know the area without having to deal with the crowds, it's a good idea to come before or after Vinitaly. Contact Mario for details.
At Easter Negrar hosts the Palio del Recioto, a festival with prizes for the best Recioto wine. Guests in Negrar can make their own minds up about which wine they prefer by visiting the stands which line the streets of Negrar offering wine tasting of the range of Valpolicella wines from Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Superiore, Ripasso, Amarone and red and white Recioto. The individual wine producers each have their own stands and celebrations continue from Good Friday to Easter Monday.
The International Junior Cycling Championship is held on the Tuesday after Easter following a route from Negrar through the Valpolicella hills.
May and June
For many people May and June are the best months to visit Negrar – it is usually not too hot and a great time to visit the parks and gardens as well as the nearby towns.
June is cherry time, and time for the Verona jazz festival. The opera season in the Arena in Verona starts towards the end of the month.
July and August
The opera season continues in Verona
Concerts of classical music in the villas in Valpolicella
Country festivals in many local towns and villages with food, drink and dancing.
Lake Garda is warm enough for everyone to swim, although hardy northerners often swim much earlier.
Canevaworld – a wonderful water park near Lake Garda .
The charming town of Ala , in the Adige valley north of Negrar, holds its annual Velvet festival. In mid July the whole town goes back to the 18 th century and celebrates the time when silk and velvet production and trade made the town famous. The inhabitants wear period costumes and serve food and drink in many of the courtyards in the old 'palazzi' and there is a wonderful range of street entertainment and concerts. Check for dates before planning your trip.
September, October and November
Grape harvest and autumn colours. Wine and food.
Christmas in Negrar
Santa Lucia market in Verona (10-13 December) – Santa Lucia is more important than Christmas for the children of Negrar who leave milk and a carrot out for the saint's donkey.
Exhibitions of cribs in churches throughout the area.
Concerts of Christmas music in the churches
Christmas markets in the towns of Trentino and Alto Adige – just a few miles up the Adige valley
Things to do and places to go any time of year
Horse riding in the Lessinia hills above Negrar
Fossil museum at Bolca in Lessinia
Thermal baths at Sirmione, Caldiero, Aquagarden, and Villa dei Cedri near Lazise, a wonderful place for a day out with a beautiful park, pools and a lake with warm thermal water - ideal for total relaxation.
Gardaland – the most popular theme park in Italy with entertainment for all ages
Natura Viva – a zoological park with 7 km safari trail (by car only) and dinosaur park
Botanical gardens on Monte Baldo
Cable car to the top of Monte Baldo (in 2 stages to 2200 metres asl) – walk down or hire a mountain bike if you're energetic or just take a stroll at the top. Skiing in winter, but check snow conditions first – it may be better to go a bit higher!
Parco Sigurtà – 'one of the world´s most extraordinary gardens'
Terra dei Forti – the land of fortresses where you can see the ancient fortifications dividing Italy from Austria until the 1 st World War. This area also produces excellent wines and has some wonderful restaurants.
Walks in the area – if you enjoy walking, Mario will be delighted to share some of his maps and local knowledge with you.
Ponte di Veja – Europe 's largest natural bridge in a wonderful setting ideal for picnics.
Molina Waterfall Park – a fairly easy walk down to the waterfalls with swings which are enjoyed by children and older people alike, quite a steep climb back up afterwards but there's a good restaurant at the top.
Golf –Verona Golf Club in Sommacompagna , Villafranca Golf Club, Marciaga di Costermano overlooking Lake Garda, Garda Golf Country Club on the west side of lake Garda
Days out near Verona:
• To the east
Venice - We recommend travelling to Venice by train - it is easier than driving and you arrive in the centre of town with the number 1 waterboat waiting to take you down the
Grand Canal to St. Mark's Square.
On the train line to Venice , Vicenza (Palladian architecture) and Padua (Giotto and the Santo Basilica of Sant'Antonio)
• To the south Mantua ( Ducal Palace , the Gonzaga family and Palazzo Te) and Modena (Romanesque cathedral)
Bologna ( Italy 's oldest university, Basilica of San Petronio).
• To the west
Brescia (Santa Giulia museum, IKEA)
Bergamo (historic centre on hilltop, Orio al Serio airport).
• To the north Rovereto (war museum) and Monte Pasubio (1st World War trenches), Trento (Castello di Buon Consiglio, cathedral) and Bolzano (Christmas market, flower festival in April, views of Dolomites from the river Talvera, cable car to San Genesio).
There are many excellent restaurants and pizzerias in the Negrar area and in the Valpolicella hills, but the ones we have selected are special to us.
Pizzeria/Ristorante Alle Vigne in San Peretto, 20 minutes' walk through the vineyards, or 5 mins by car. We recommend this as the best value for money in Negrar. The food is excellent and prices reasonable. Booking usually not necessary (or possible) – you may have to wait a while at weekends, but it's worth the wait – ask for a 'prosecco from the bar in the meantime. Closed on Tuesdays.
Ristorante Valpolicella in Torbe di Negrar, 4 km up the hill from Negrar, is a large restaurant with a terrace overlooking the valley of Negrar . When it's not crowded, it's delightful and the self service vegetable and salad table is a major attraction. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Ristorante al Tesoro in Corrubbio, 9 km up the hill from Negrar. A reasonably priced family run restaurant with some interesting dishes. We like to walk there ( 3 km uphill) from Ponte di Veia on a warm summer evening for dinner, then walk back down as the sun sets to have coffee in the restaurant at Ponte di Veia. For those with less energy it's worth driving the extra 3 km after visiting Europe 's largest natural bridge and surrounding park area.
Trattoria al Sole in San Rocco di Marano, 10 km from Negrar in the next valley. Lots of good food and reasonable prices. Booking necessary – phone 045 7755000
Ristorante 'Groto de Corgnan' in Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella, 12 km from Negrar. A special treat for food lovers who want to treat themselves. Giorgio Soave, the owner, prides himself on growing his own nettles for his delicious ravioli and picking his own mushrooms for his tagliatelle. Don't miss the homemade ice cream with chestnuts in honey. Booking necessary – phone 045 7731372. Closed Sunday and Monday lunchtime