Located in north-eastern Italy, Veneto is among the largest wine-producing regions, both for DOC and IGT wines. It made Italian wine popular around the world with its Valpolicella, Soave, Amarone, and Prosecco. The importance of winemaking in this region is emphasised by the creation in 1885 of the very first Italian school for vine growing and oenology. In addition, Veneto was the first region to constitute a "strada del vino", or "wine road.” This first winetouring road featured special road signs providing information on vines and the wines they were made into, and joined the Valdobbiadene and Conegliano DOC zones crossing a series of hilly vineyards. The Po Valley covers 57% of Veneto. This valley consists of a plain extending from the mountains to the Adriatic Sea, the lower section being a mainstay of agricultural production. The rich soil in this region is full of silt and sand, with clay and calcareous debris. Veneto is protected from the harsh northern European climate by the Alps, the foothills of which form the region’s northern extremes. These cooler climates are well-suited to white varieties like Garganega while the warmer Adriatic coastal plains and river valleys are where the renowned Valpolicella, Amarone and Bardolino DOC reds are produced. Veneto's growers are among the most modernised in Italy. While most of the classic wines from this region are based on native grape varieties like Glera and Verduzzo, high demand for Veneto wines in the European and US markets has prompted the region's producers to experiment with Cabernets, Chardonnay and Pinot varieties.