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The Lakes of Italy


Lake Garda

Lake Garda (or Benaco) is the largest Italian lake and is 144 km in circumference. To the south it is broad and without surrounding mountains, whereas in the north it is like a fiord, closed in by mountains. This is "the land where the lemon trees flower" which fascinated Goethe. It is famous for its Mediterranean climate, its blue waters, its abundant vegetation, its attractive villas and gardens, the variety of the landscape, and the efficiency of the tourist services around its shores which permit a long tourist season.

Our tour begins at
Sirmione, heading west and then turning north along the Brescian shore, in a succession of spectacular panoramic views on the Gardesana Occidentale road which is cut into the rock, and then descending on the eastern side from Riva del Garda to Peschiera on the Gardesana Orientale road.

Sirmione is the "pearl of all islands and peninsulars"Sirmione according to the Roman poet Catullo. It is wrapped in a luminous atmosphere, between the blue of the waters and the green of the olive trees, with picturesque streets full of elegant shops. Make a visit to the Rocca Scaligera castle, with its collection of Roman sculptures and its curious dockyard. The archeological site, known as the Grottoes of Catullus, is on the very end of the peninsular, and consists of the remains of a grandiose Roman villa, within natural surroundings of great beauty.

Desenzano del Garda is an attractive town. Its 16th century Cathedral church has a marvelous canvas by Tiepolo. The Archeological museum and the excavation of a 4th century BC Roman villa with rich polychrome pavements are worth seeing.

Salò is an important holiday resort with two museums and a late Gothic Cathedral with splendid works of art. There are interesting excursions to be made, above all to the picturesque Valtenesi.


Gardone RivieraGardone Riviera is an elegant and popular health resort, famous for the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio's monumental villa, the "Vittoriale degli Italiani ". Here there is an open-air theatre, the poet's mausoleum and tomb, the reconstruction of the prow of the "Puglia" ship and the "Prioria". You may like to visit the Hruska Botanical garden in the town and the Villa Alba, a continence venue, within a vast park.
Moving north through
Toscolano Maderno, Bogliaco, Gargnano, Tremosine (with a detour to Pieve) we arrive at Limone, famous for the cultivation of sweet-smelling lemons (called zardi de limu). It has an ancient town centre and Venetian buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries. Famous persons such as Goethe, Ibsen and Lawrence found inspiration and relaxation here.

Riva del Garda is the northernmost town on the lake, in the province of MalcesineTrento. In the town centre is the III Novembre square, surrounded by porticoes and with a view over the lake. The Castle houses an interesting Town Museum with remains of the ancient lake village on piles from Lake Ledro.Moving on east towards the Venetian shore of the lake we pass through the attractive Torbole and arrive at Malcesine, a popular holiday resort dominated by the medieval Scaligero Castle which houses a Museum with natural history collections and historical curiosities. The Goethian room is particularly interesting. The 15th century Palace of the Captains of the Lake is attractive and a visit by cable car to the nearby Monte Baldo gives one the chance to admire an incredible wide panoramic view.

Brenzone is a pleasant and welcoming town on the lake-shore. The medieval village of Campo and the Romanesque churches of San Zeno and San Nicolò are worth a visit.

Torri del Benaco is in an attractive position within an olive-growing zone. The 15th century Scaligero Castle and the Church of the Trinità are worth visiting.

Garda derives its name from the Longobardic Warte, or fortress. The 18th century Parish Church is attractive and a walk in the old town centre and on the lake-side promenade is advised. The nearby Punta di San Vigilio is certainly one of the most attractive and romantic sites on the lake, with its high cypress trees. The Villa Guarienti and the ancient Chiesetta di San Vigilio are also very interesting.

Bardolino has very good tourist facilities, with tLazise - The Castlehe possibility to play various sports. It produces highly esteemed wines and possesses two fascinating medieval churches, San Severo and San Zeno.

Lazise is ringed round by ancient walls and has a well-preserved Scaligero Castle. The Parish church of Pacengo, the Church of the Madonna della Pergolana, the Dogana Veneta (Venetian Custom) and the Church of San Nicolò are all of interest.

Peschiera, is full of historical interest, hemmed in between two ancient fortifications.
If the visitor wishes to tour the waters of the lake there is a very efficient navigation service, with comfortable boats and swift hydrofoils.

For more information: 

Sirmione, Desenzano sul Garda, Salò, Gardone Riviera, Toscolano Maderno, Gargnano, Campione and Limone sul Garda

APT Brescia (Local Tourist Board)
Corso Zanardelli, 34
25100 Brescia


Riva del Garda

APT Garda Trentino
Giardini di Porta Orientale, 8
38066 Riva del Garda


Torbole, Malcesine, Torri del Benaco, Garda, Bardolino, Peschiera del Garda

APT Garda
Lungolago Regina Adelaide, 3
37016 Garda


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