Lugana: Origin of the place name

Philology — the study of words and their origins — is an inexact science. And the origin of the place name Lugana is a classic example of toponymic (place name) philology where we will never have a precise answer to the question where did the name Lugana come from?

Most scholars of Veneto toponomastics (the study of place names) believe that the name Lugana comes from the Latin lucus meaning a wood, grove, or thicket of trees sacred to a deity.

The name of Lugo, a hamlet (frazione) in Grezzana township (Verona province) lies not far from Lugana and is also believed to come from lucus.

There are also ancient references to Lugana as Lugana silva, in other words, Lugana wood (in the sense of woods). This is another indication that lucus is the probable origin of the current-day name.

Neighboring Valpolicella (where Lugo is found) was already a famous area for fine wine production in Roman times and it’s not unlikely that the Romans considered Valpolicella and Lugana, the area lying to the southern coast of Lake Garda, to be sacred spots — because of the excellent wine and olive oil produced there.

Lugana is also a immensely beautiful place with mild weather thanks to the maritime influence of the lake — another reason the Romans may have considered it a special place or lucus.

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