The tiny village on the river was founded and grew in Lombard times (7th-8th century) at one of the safest and most popular crossing points on the Mincio river. For centuries the ford at Borghetto was the main access gateway to Veneto lands. The river could only be forded between Lake Garda and the lakes that surrounded Mantua – the crossing at Peschiera del Garda having fallen into disuse during the middle ages – only at Borghetto.
Construction of the Church of Santa Maria with small adjacent cenoby.
The fief of Borghetto belongs to the Benedictine monastery of San Prospero in Reggio Emilia. It was probably part of the vast lands controlled by Countess Mathilda of Canossa.
The order of Knights Templar takes over the Borghetto fief and founds its own Preceptory to control the ford and assist the many pilgrims that cross the Po Valley to travel to the great spiritual destinations of the Middle Ages: Jerusalem, Rome, Sant’Jago de Compostela. The templars built the first wooden bridge, a river port, the first mills, a permanent fish shop and a first inn. We have no absolute documentary proof that the first inn that was built was on the same site where we now find the Antica Locanda Mincio. We can, however, claim that an inn is always mentioned an all subsequent changes of the fief ownership in all the lists we know although the exact location of the inn is only know in the 16th century. It is quite pobable that the remains of the walls of the thaberna templare are to be found below the foundations of today’s restaurant.
After violent suppression of the Order of the Templars the Borghetto fief passes, by desire of the Pope, to the Knights of Malta and then, subsequently, to the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of San Zeno in Verona. The Scaliger Seigniory purchased the fief in 1331 and included it in the Serraglio fortifications, a defensive establishment longer than sixteen kilometers. In 1393 Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, created the great fortified bridge and dam that permanently transformed the Mincio valley and decreed disappearance of the ancient ford.
The Republic of Venice extends its powers to include Verona and its territory. In 1407 Gerolamo Contarini, a Veneto patrician, purchased the Borghetto fief from the Verona Tax Chamber. An inn is specified in the deed of sale.
The heirs of Contarini sell the Borghetto properties to messer Pace Guarienti, for the substantial sum of 6000 gold ducats. The Veronese Guarienti family had the right to collect tolls on the wooden bridge and rent from the inn situated nearby.
The Veneto Government puts the Borghetto jus tabernae up for sale to the best bidder. The Guarienti oppose the Doge’s order.
The inn, called Hospitium in the document, is rented for 45 ducats per year.
Giacomo Guarienti, in his will, notes down the costs sustained to raise the walls of the Borghetto inn courtyard: “…because the innkeepers did not want to stay there because they did not feel safe in their home.”
In his bequest Guglielmo Guarienti, who died without legitimate heirs,gives property rights for the Borghetto fief to the Veronese Maffei family.
Venice recognizes the rights of the Maffei family and waives selling the inn: “…by the authority of this Council order is given to the competent person to cancel from the list of sale of inns on the Mainland the inn located in the land of Borghetto, a Veronese territory come to the ownership of Count Carlo Maffei by legitimate title.”
Brothers Agostino and Carlo Maffei rent to Messrs. Tacconi di Valeggio: “…all their goods,houses,lands,tithes,inn,butcher’s shop,bridge and gate”, subject to payment of 700 ducats per year.
The Maffei, to meet impelling financial obligations, subdivide and sell ownership of the Borghetto fief. The Imperial-Royal of the Government of Austria takes over collecting tolls on the bridge and sells ownership of the inn to private parties.
The right bank of the Mincio, where the Antica Locanda is situated, is annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.
Valeggio and the Veneto lands become an integral part of the State of Italy.
Cesare Farinelli – Valeggio sul Mincio