Santa Maria Valverde, the rural lookout church of Fumane’s Valley
The ancient rural church of Santa Maria Valverde is one of the most fascinating places and richest in history of the entire Fumane’s Valley .
It is not very far from Tenute Ugolini and it is truly worth visiting , both for the panorama looking over the entire Valley, and for the historical value of the site where it is collocated.
Santa Maria Valverde rises delicately from an ancient underwater volcano and, during the Eocene period, its inflamed summit used to emergefrom a coral reef in a tropical see. That’s exactly how, a long time ago, Fumane’s Valley and all the other valleys of the Classic Valpolicella used to be: shores of the deep sea coming up to the surface between atolls and calcareous white beaches.
The ancient rural Church of Santa Maria Valverde stands out at the top of Monte Castelón reaching 580 meters. It has the typical conical shape of a small volcano, with a severed and plain summit. If observed from Pozzetto’s vineyard , it is possible to perfectly see this shape and, most of all, the long lava flow which today corresponds to the long eastern side of the valley called Monte Sant’Urbano.
The name Castelón is a dialect term defining an ancient fortress or castle, commissioned, according to tradition, by the consul Caio Mario after being defeated by the population of the Cimbri; the castle, later inherited by the Scaligeri, was destroyed in 1325. Before the Castle, this ancient hill was worshiped and visited by the Arusnati population (the ancient pre-Roman population of Valpolicella), as this was the place where Minerva’s Temple used to rise, the ruins of which are still open to visit.
A centennial and prestigious history
The history of Santa Maria Valverde is surprising and rich of anecdotes of great value for its territory. First of all, in the beginning it used to be called Santa Maria of Minerbe, taking its name from the ancient temple dedicated to Minerva, the ruins of which are still visible today. The site appears in the archives since 1184 as Menervii.
The first texts regarding the church of Santa Maria Valverde date back to the beginning of the fifteenth century. In the oratory, the presence of a laic fraternity of marian devotion is documented and it was remembered for the first time in the Gibertinian’s pastoral visit in 1530. Inside, the miraculous wooden statue of Virgin Mary with clasped hands and the baby laying on her knees, dating back to 1516 and with a text on the back of the pedestal saying: ” This Virgin Mary has become company for Santa Maria de Valverda of the Castle from Maran of MDXVI”, is worshiped.
How to get to Santa Maria Valverde
Starting from our winery, once you’re back on Strada Provinciale 33, turn left and arrive at the town center. Then, at the intersection, take the road on the right, the SP33b, leading to the town of Marano di Valpolicella. Once you have passed Monte Santoccio, there you find another intersection for Purano and then you get to the intersection of the Crocetta. From there, turn left on SP34 until you reach Pezza and then, on the right hand side, go up towards Santa Maria Valverde.