The rural villages of Calto and Gazzo
Villaga, Zovencedo, Grancona
Tel. 0444 320854 (IAT Vicenza)
Calto as a village is mentioned in notarial deeds since 1400 and is reported in the first maps of Vicenza from the beginning of the seventeenth century. Its territory belongs administratively to three areas: Villaga, Zovencedo and Grancona, on the border of which there is a characteristic triangular capital with the statues of three saints: St. Nicholas of Bari facing Zovencedo, Saint Lucia facing Pozzolo and Sant'Agnese towards Grancona.
The name "Calto" indicates "scaranto", a steep place where, if necessary, the water flows (in the Euganean Hills it is often synonymous with "torrent"), and it was originally to be the name of the deep gorge with almost sheer walls, rich in water, which goes towards Pozzolo.
The rural village clearly visible from the capital is Zovencedo, consisting of buildings facing south, built in succession, one leaning against the other, over the canal of the mills, the Liona. The rustic elements (porch and barn with stables, pigsties, chicken coops) were mostly lined up in front in parallel with the houses, or joined at the back with a development on the west side.
Until 1960 this village had a mill, a bakery, a tavern, a food store, a carpentry shop and a primary school, with one section of fifteen students attending the five classes.
The Valley of Gazzo, however, one of the most intact of the Berici Hills, with its nearly four kilometres of longitude, is the longest inland valley of the Berici, and due to its orientation of NE-SW it is variously exposed to sunlight during the year.
Its ancient history is evidenced from the name of medieval origin (from 'Gagium' or 'gahagi', Latin form of Lombard Wald = wood), meaning "protected forest reserve".
A significant boost to the economy of the district took place in the last two centuries, from the exploitation of its resources in the ground: the white stone of San Gottardo, extracted from the numerous priare (stone quarries) open in the sides of the valley, and lignite, excavated in the mine near the present capital of Santa Barbara, patroness of quarrymen and miners, erected in 1949.