Dominated by its elegant castle, Malcesine is an enchanting village that offers unforgettable panoramic views. A romantic hamlet, lying on the eastern shore of Lake Garda - better known as the "Riviera of Olives" thanks to the abundance of these centuries-old trees that can be seen almost everywhere – inspiring famous personalities of the past, such as Goethe who stayed there while he was in Italy. The medieval alleys that lead up to the Scaligero Castle, the lakeside lined with shops and restaurants and the magical atmosphere that one can sense in the air during every season, continue to fascinate thousands of tourists who choose Malcesine as a holiday resort every year. Considered to be the "pearl of the lake", this Veronese village is located in an ideal position that can satisfy a wide variety of requirements. Built between 1277 and 1387, the Castle is clearly visible because it stands on a rocky spur with its tall tower. Today it houses an interesting Natural History Museum with numerous geological and botanical finds pertaining to Mount Baldo and the Garda area. Taking the modern Malcesine Monte Baldo cable car with its rotating panoramic cabins is an excellent way for visitors to enjoy breathtaking views of the Lake area from a height. The young and old enjoy the ski slopes of various levels during the winter season, but the Lake is dotted with the colourful sails of sailing boats, and also kite and windsurfers during the summer. The dirt tracks of the hinterland become a destination for hikers and mountain bikers during any season of the year.
Brenzone sul Garda
Located on the Venetian side of Lake Garda, Brenzone is one of the largest municipalities in the province of Verona, covering a territory of over fifty square kilometers. Dating back to the Roman era, Brenzone includes sixteen hamlets. Castelletto, Magugnano, Porto and Assenza, which still have the characteristic layout of the fishing villages gathered around the port, are the largest inhabited centres overlooking the lake. If the economy of the past was based on modest fishing occupations, tourism is the main resource today. The Riviera degli Ulivi is the beautiful location where numerous hotels, residences and campsites are situated, and where you can also have delicious lake fish dishes in the many restaurants in the area. Famous for its production of excellent DOP extra virgin olive oil, Brenzone rises from the gentle shores of Lake Garda to a two-thousand metre height of Mount Baldo, in just a few kilometers, offering various recreational and interesting sports proposals. Prada, a contrada of Brenzone, is located in the heart of the Mount Baldo area. The crystal clear waters of the lake and the constant winds make Brenzone the ideal place for water sports, such as sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Worth a visit is the Romanesque church of San Zeno in the hamlet of Castelletto, the small church dedicated to San Nicola in Assenza and the evocative, uninhabited, medieval neighbourhood in Campo.
San Zeno di Montagna
From its 600 metre altitude, the mountain locality of San Zeno di Montagna offers beautiful views ranging from the lake to the mountain landscapes. It is characterized by its ancient chestnut trees, but above all it is famous for its delicious mountain fruit, the Brown Chestnut of San Zeno D.O.P. The main features of this mountain locality are the small and ancient villages with their particular identities. The first sight the tourist will see on arrival in the San Zeno di Montagna area is the San Zeno contrada with its parish church and its main square with the same name, where the local, traditional market takes place every Monday.
Worth visiting is also the contrada Cà Montagna with its fifteenth-century palace that houses the municipal seat nowadays, as well as Pora, Baitei and Corrubio on the slopes of Mount Baldo, which are rural districts where peasant life with crops and pastures is still active. San Zeno di Montagna is the ideal place for many sporting activities, especially trekking and mountain biking. From spring to autumn the mild climate opens the door to magnificent walks to discover the most hidden corners of the area, but there are also more challenging paths that push up towards the peak of Mount Baldo for the more adventurous hikers.
The tourist will find a good number of hotels that can guarantee a comfortable stay, enlivened by the now consolidated food and wine attraction of the Verona area.
Torri del Benaco
Nestled at the foot of Mount Baldo, along the Veronese shore of Lake Garda, and surrounded by pine woods, olive groves and lemon orchards, Torri del Benaco combines the charm of a medieval village with the liveliness of a modern tourist centre. The town is dominated by the Scaligero Castle dating back to the fourteeth century, which houses an interesting ethnographic museum with sections dedicated to prehistoric rock engravings, fishing and olive growing and an eighteenth-century lemon growing greenhouse. To welcome the tourist, this lakeside locality offers various types of accommodation, including hotels, apartments, residences and campsites, all of which guarantee a pleasant stay. There is also an efficient ferry service from Torri del Benaco that takes tourists to the nearby towns and villages around the Lake, which are worth visiting from a historical point of view and can be admired from a different perspective. In addition, there are numerous routes and paths for mountain bikers that lead to the hills and Mount Baldo, amidst woods of hornbeam, hazels, ash and oaks. A true paradise for sailing and windsurfing, Torri del Benaco is also a popular centre for scuba-diving enthusiasts who will have the chance to see a curious underwater crib during particular festivities. History makes this place even more fascinating. The first settlement was of Roman origin, the ancient Castrum Turrium, but the discovery of rock carvings, dating back to about 4,000 years ago, bears witness to the presence of man in these places since prehistoric times.
Elegant Venetian style buildings, one of the most extensive beaches of the Riviera degli Ulivi, a network of narrow streets full of tourists make Garda a charming holiday destination. The gulf is enclosed to the north by Mount Luppia, which forms the enchanting Punta San Vigilio and to the south by the Rocca Hill, which can be reached by going along an arduous path surrounded by typical Mediterranean vegetation. In the Middle Ages, the castle of Garda stood on the Rocca, which was so important that the ancient Latin name of the lake "Benacus" was changed to the current "Lake Garda". An easy walk of about three kilometers leads to the romantic promontory of Punta San Vigilio, an oasis of peace and poetry that has inspired prestigious guests and which gets its name from a monk who lived in this place in the thirteenth century. The alleys of the centre of Garda, once inhabited by fishermen, now host elegant shops and welcoming restaurants that prepare lake fish, a basic ingredient of the local gastronomy. Numerous hotels and residences and a modern congress building complete the offer of this renowned tourist destination. An ideal place for nature loving sports enthusiasts, because the Lake offers sailing, windsurfing, swimming and other outdoor disciplines, such as mountain biking, golf, tennis, horse-riding or free-climbing. Interesting cultural visits can be made to the small church dedicated to San Vigilio on the marina, to the splendid Villa Brenzoni Guarienti, built in the first half of the sixteenth century, as well as to Villa Albertini and to the Pieve with its ancient cloister.
Most people associate Bardolino with its world famous DOC wine that bears the same name, which is as appreciated on home ground as it is abroad, fruit of its fertile and rich soil and its mild climate. Located on the Veronese shore of Lake Garda, this enchanting locality has kept its territorial characteristics and the typical architecture of the fishing villages, revealing its past and the activities that typified its economy before the advent of tourism. The remains of the Scaligere walls with their massive towers, the traces of the ancient castle, the elegant buildings and the beautiful churches of San Severo and San Zeno, bear witness to a succession of emperors, monks and noble families. Bardolino and the nearby hamlets of Cisano on the lake, and Calmasino in the hills, are ideal holiday places with many new facilities and campsites available to tourists. A lively stroll along the lakeside promenade and through the narrow streets of the town centre with its local and elegant shops, animates the summer of this magical locality. Olive trees, cypresses, oleanders and vines thrive in this area thanks to the mild climate, colouring the moraine hills. A realm for water sports, mountain biking and triathlon, this Veronese district is also the ideal place for relaxing walks and adventurous excursions in the hilly hinterland.
Turning to the pleasures of good food, the cuisine and gastronomy in Bardolino is provided for by the traditional agricultural economy and its typical products can be tasted in the refined restaurants at the port or in the cosy, traditional trattorias.
Lazise, a prestigious holiday resort on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, is characterized by its fascinating history which has its roots in ancient times. This is borne out by its name that derives from the Latin "Iacus", meaning a lakeside village, and the remains of a large village of stilt houses from the Neolithic period that were found in the hamlet of Pacengo. Dominated by the fascinating Rocca Scaligera, Lazise is entirely surrounded by a circle of turreted walls that enclose the historical centre, now full of elegant restaurants and craft shops. Medieval alleys intersect it, while an elegant square opens onto the old port and onto the promenade that leads to the beaches.
The famous Venetian Customs stands on the marina, a construction dating back to the domination of the Serenissima, which held a small fleet of boats for the control of traffic here. Some ancient shipwrecks lie on the bottom of the lake in the area overlooking the port. The church of San Niccolò, where you can admire splendid fourteenth-century frescoes, is of great artistic interest, while an aedicule exhibits an ancient Madonna dating back to the thirteenth century outside. Lazise is an important and popular tourist centre on the Riviera of Olives, with comfortable hotels and a well-equipped campsite. Sports and leisure facilities, as well as important music events and excellent cuisine made with top quality local products, such as oil, wine and lake fish, complete the tourist offer.
Castelletto di Brenzone
The little tourist and holiday village of Castelletto is the largest of the localities in the municipality of Brenzone.
The village is partly situated on the shore of the lake, along the eastern Gardesana main road, and partly on the mountain slope where the very old, two or three storey houses flank the medieval cobbled streets between ancient facades and private courtyards.
This part of the locality is particularly picturesque and it is the main starting point leading to the paths that go up Mount Baldo.
From there you can walk along the steep paths that farmers and woodcutters used in past centuries, making it a fascinating way to retrace those itineraries on foot or on a mountain bike, or go to the mountain peak using the Prada-Costabella facilities and enjoy the view of the lake from above.
These pleasant excursions among olive trees and through uncontaminated natural surroundings are not particularly strenuous and offer wonderful panoramic views of Lake Garda.
Castelletto offers enchanting lakeside walks and there are hotels, apartments, food shops, bars, restaurants and pizzerias in the village.
It is worth seeing and visiting the villages of the Biaza and Fasor contradas.
Peschiera del Garda
A pentagon-shaped fortress-town, Peschiera del Garda is a jewel of architecture, art and culture at the southern end of the "Riviera of the Olives", the name given to the Veronese side of Lake Garda.
It has been an important centre since prehistoric times because it was an important and vital crossroad connecting the Alps and the Po Valley, Veneto and Lombardy. Its name dates back to the Longobard period, when the plentiful fishing waters changed the Latin toponym Arilica into Piscaria. First it was a Longobard territory, and later it became the domain of the Scaligeri and Visconti. It was only during the Serenissima Republic of Venice that Peschiera del Garda assumed its characteristic urban form. In the second half of the sixteenth century, a number of architects elaborated an important urban conformation, such as the Fortress and the imposing pentagonal walls. Today the ramparts and alleys of the historical centre are home to shops, hotels and fine restaurants that delight the palates of tourists with dishes belonging to the Garda culinary tradition, to be enjoyed with the excellent Lugana Doc, a white wine produced in this area. When entering the village, there is a marina and facilities for sporting activities, such as motor boating and water skiing. The long cycle path that runs through the countryside in the midst of vineyards in the hinterland connects Peschiera del Garda to Mantua. The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Frassino is worth a visit. The Fortress becomes the venue of prestigious cultural events, concerts and theatrical performances during the summer.
Valeggio sul Mincio
On the border between Lombardy and Veneto, south of Lake Garda, Valeggio sul Mincio is located in the natural amphitheater of the morainic hills overlooking the Po Valley.
From the top of the hill, the Scaligero Castle dominates the village and the Mincio valley, with its three towers. Of its oldest part, razed to the ground by an earthquake in 1117, only the Round Tower remains, unique horseshoe construction. It was equipped with three drawbridges, of which only one is preserved.
In the historic center of Valeggio there are Palazzo Guarienti, in strict neoclassical style, where in 1796 Napoleon Bonaparte stayed, and the sumptuous Villa Maffei Sigurtà, seat in 1859 of the headquarters of the Emperor of Austria Franz Joseph. At the back of the villa lies the Sigurtà Garden Park, a botanical and landscape area considered one of the most beautiful garden parks in the world. Once a strategic ford point of the Mincio, Borghetto owes its charm to the harmonious relationship between history and nature and is one of the most visited destinations among those of the "Club of the most beautiful villages in Italy".
The medieval atmosphere is underlined by the fortresses of the Ponte Visconteo, built in 1393 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan.