Tourist Attractions around Lake Garda
Lake Garda (Italian: Lago di Garda [ˈlaːɡo di ˈɡarda] or (Lago) Benaco [beˈnaːko]; Eastern Lombard: Lach de Garda; Venetian: Ƚago de Garda; Latin: Benacus) is the largest lake in Italy. It is a popular holiday location in northern Italy, about halfway between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan on the edge of the Dolomites. Glaciers formed this alpine region at the end of the last Ice Age.
The lake and its shoreline are divided between the provinces of Verona (to the south-east), Brescia (south-west), and Trento (north). The name Garda, which the lake has been seen referred to in documents dating to the eighth century, comes from the town of the same name. It is the evolution of the Germanic word warda, meaning “place of guard” or “place of observation.”
Lake Garda Italy
- Battle of Lake Benacus, in which Roman forces defeated the Alamanni on the shores of Lake Garda, in the year 268.
- The battle between Milan and the Venetian Republic in 1438 following the military engineering feat of galeas per montes.
- Battle of Rivoli, in 1797 during the French campaign of Napoleon I in Italy against Austria.
- Battle of Solferino in 1859, during the Italian Risorgimento. The terrible aftermath of this battle led to the Geneva Convention and the formation of the Red Cross.
- The lake was the site of naval battles in 1866 between Italy and Austria.
- As persuaded by the Nazis, Benito Mussolini established the capital of his Italian Social Republic in late 1943 in a villa in the town of Salò on its shores. It served as a nexus for military operations and communications for German troops who occupied northern Italy in late 1943 during World War II.
The northern part of the lake is narrower, surrounded by mountains, the majority of which belong to the Gruppo del Baldo. The shape is typical of a moraine valley, probably having been formed under the action of a Paleolithic glacier. Although traces of the glacier’s actions are evident today, in more recent years it has been hypothesized that the glacier occupied a previously existing depression, created by stream erosion 5 to 6 million years ago.
The lake has numerous small islands and five main ones, the largest being Isola del Garda wherein 1220 St. Francis of Assisi founded a monastery, in its place now stands a nineteenth-century building in the Venetian Gothic style. Nearby to the south is Isola San Biagio, also known as the Isola dei Conigli (“Island of the Rabbits”). Both are offshore of San Felice del Benaco, on the lake’s western side. The three other main islands are Isola dell’ Olivo, Isola di Sogno, and Isola di Trimelone, all farther north near the eastern side.
The main tributary is the Sarca River, others include the Ponale River (fed by Lago di Ledro), the Varone/Magnone River (via the Cascate del Varone) and various streams from both mountainsides, while the only outlet is the Mincio River (79 meters (259 ft), at Peschiera). The subdivision is created by the presence of a fault submerged between Sirmione and Punta San Vigilio which is almost a natural barrier that hampers the homogenization between the water of the two zones.
If the water level of the Adige river is too high, excess water is diverted to the lake through the Mori-Torbole tunnel.
Castle Of Lake Garda
The only entrance to Sirmione’s old town is through the Scaliger castle. It was commissioned by Mastino Della Scala, then Lord of Verona, in order to protect the town from attacks.
The arcade, in which memorial stones with inscriptions from Roman age and medieval times are exhibited, as well as the mural gangway, are open to visitors.
The wooden stairs which lead to the tower spire have been restored and allow for a splendid view of Lake Garda.
Sirmione Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Italy and also one of the rare moated castles.
The medieval Scaliger castle Malcesine was probably erected on the ruins of a Lombard castle. Over the centuries, the castle has been inhabited by the Visconti, the French and the Austrians – as well as the noble Scala family.
Inside the castle, there is a museum dedicated to Goethe. The writer made the castle famous when writing about it in detail in his travel essay “Italian Journey”.
The castle also hosts a museum of natural history and one of fishing.
The castle was built in the 9th century, at a time when the fishing village had to protect itself from the warlike Huns. The castle had seen many reconstructions and changes in overlordship of castles over the centuries until it became a true fortress of the Western Verona. Only a few parts of the original castle still stand today.
In 1796, it was nearly completely destroyed by the French, who used the castle to produce saltpeter and gun powder. Later on, the Austrians sold the castle to a private citizen, who went on to use it as a stone quarry and to build new houses.
Thanks to the intervention of Lord Buri who bought the castle and renovated it, we can visit it in its current form.
Torri del Benaco Castle
The first archaeological evidence of the fortification can be dated back to the year 15 B.C., although castle Torri enjoyed its heyday under the rule of the Scala family.
In the following centuries, the building deteriorated with the castle eventually being demolished in the 18th century in favor of a lemon house. This lemon house can be visited to this day and is open to the public. The defense tower can also be visited, the so-called death room; which gained notoriety because of the spikes prisoners fell onto through the trap door.
Are There Beaches In Lake Garda?
Lake Garda is a stunning holiday destination in northern Italy. Perhaps more importantly, Lake Garda is also an exceptional beach destination. There may be no ocean, but the lake itself offers some wonderful beaches for swimming and sunbathing in the Italian summer sunshine.
What Can You Do In Lake Garda?
- Sirmione and Castello Scaligeri. Sirmione and Castello Scaligeri.
- Grotte di Catullo: Ruins of a Roman Villa. Grotte di Catullo: Ruins of a Roman Villa.
- Desenzano del Garda. Desenzano del Garda.
- Gardaland and Nearby Theme Parks.
- Bardolino and the Southeastern Towns.
- Riva del Garda.