Belfiore

GEOGRAPHY

The town, with its surface of 26.45 km², is located at an average altitude of 26 m above sea level. It is about 20 km east of Verona. The town is placed on the left bank of the river Adige. Its flat wedge-shaped territory well represents the typical landscape of the Po Valley. Belfiore borders the Comuni of Albaredo, Arcole, Cladiero, Colognola ai Colli, Ronco all'Adige, San Bonifacio, Soave, Veronella, Zevio.

ETYMOLOGY

The town was formerly called Porcile, from the imperial roman road Via Porciliana on which it was built. The legend claims that its name was changed into Belfiore after the visit of an important personality.

The Via Porciliana connected the Via Postumia to the Via Emilia Altinate at the time of the Roman Empire, and its course crossed Isole Belfiore, Isole Desmontà, Isola Strà, Isola Olmo, Isola Presana, Isola San Zenon and Montagnana. It is possible to assume that the Via Porcilia followed the course of the river Adige through its several meanders, and that was travelled until the feudal age, when a substantial rearrangement of the Adige's former riverbed was arranged.

HISTORY

The land surrounding the town was already inhabited in the pre-Roman age, by paleovenetian populations, whose presence was evidenced by discoveries around Gombion and Castelletto. The three main urban centres developed during the Middle Ages: Porcile, Zerpa and the parish of Bionde. They grew on the course of the imperial road Berengaria, placed in the 10th century by King Berengario I. Soon enough the road took the popolar name of Porciliana, because it crossed the town of Porcilia.  An instance issued by the main wealthy families of the area to the Consiglio dei Dodici di Verona on 13 January 1547, demanded to change the name of the town in Belfior, as one of its districts was called. The proposal was only partially approved, and the name changed to Belfior Porcile. The quarrel over the name continued until the arrival of Napoleone Bonaparte, between 1796 and 1812. Napoleone reformed the administration, dividing the land into districts and since the town remained under the Adige district, the name became Belfiore d'Adige, finally losing "Porcile". The name change was made official by a Royal Decree on 11 August 1867, signed by King Vittorio Emanuele II, after the proposal of the minister of internal affairs, who received the resolution of the town council in May that year.

ART

There are several historical landmarks on the lands of Belfiore, starting with the Sanctuary of Madonna della Strà, a monument of 1143. Many other wayside shrines dedicated to the Madonna or other saints are found all around the Belfiorese countryside. Also worth visiting is Villa Cipolla, widely known as Panterona, just like the name of the area where it was built in 1692.

Moreover, there is Palazzo Moneta, an impressive building of 1563 praised by Giorgio Vasari. Worth seeing is also the peculiar "Scala dei muli", a spiral staircase built with characteristic stonework. It was used to lead the loaded mules to the granaries. It is currently undergoing restoration. More interesting buildings are Cà Tadini Banterle, Corte Bova, the oratory of Santa Croce and the old parish of 1492 dedicated to St Vito, St Modesto and St Crescienza. Finally, the church of Natività, built in 1947, commissioned by Monsignor Luigi Bosio presents a modern Roman structure and internal disposition. It holds admirable bas-relief that decorate its main and side altars, as well as the baptistery.

ECONOMY

The economy of Belfiore is based on the cultivation and the production of pears and apples. Great part of the handicraft and trading activities revolves around agriculture.