Situated between Lombardia, Veneto and Trentino, Lake Garda (or Benaco), is the largest Italian lake.
Unlike the other PreAlpine lakes, Garda's origins are uncertain glacial tectonic.
The design of the lake, similar to a fjord, is long and narrow and passes though the Brescian and Veronese Apls. Here, between Riva and Torbole, the principal affluent - the Sarca - is let in though the homonymous plain.
The emissary, the Mincio, lets out a Peschiera in the southern part of the Lake where the basin opens into a semi-circular form reaching the Padana expanse.
Always a popular tourist destination, Lake Garda has a particularly auspicious climate due to the imposing mass of water, its low level in respect to the sea, and its protected geographical position.
These aspects have favored the formation of a Mediterranean type of vegetation with cultivations of orange, lemon, cedar and bergamot, and dating back to antiquity, olive trees and vineyards.
Already inhabited during the Iron Age and the Bronze Age, the shores of the Lake saw quite a turn-over of Ligurians, Venetians, Etruscans and Gauls until the Roman conquest which started the rational exploitation of the surrounding territories.
A city rose and with it a series of agricultural cultivations which intensified the traffic on the Lake. For centuries Garda has been a strategic point of passage between Northern Europe and the Padana Plain.
The control of the Lake signified the management of the traffic between these areas - this brought on a succession of almost uninterrupted conflicts. After the Barbarian invasions and the Longobard occupation, came the reign of Charlemagne and later the period of communes and feudalism.
In the '300 the Lake was governed by the Scaligeri and the Visconti. This predominance was opposed by the Garda Commune (formed by Communes of the Brescia Riviera) who placed Garda under the protection of Venice.
After a series of bloody battles with the Visconti, the "Serenissima" (Venice) succeeded in obtaining and managed to hold it through the '400. Then with the Cambrai League its prestige diminished, but the rights of navigation remained in its hands until 1797 when the zone was conquered by Napoleon.
Some years after, in 1815, Garda became property of the Hapsburgs and entered the Lombardian-Venetian Kingdome. With the renaissance, the Lake was reconquered by the Italians. Only the Northern part remained under the Austrian control, annexed after World War I.
how to reach
Lake Garda is easily reached from the Padana Plain. Desenzano and Peschiera are connected by way of railroad along the Milan-Venice line which in Verona becomes a connecting point with lines from the south-center of the peninsula and with those coming from Central and North Europe. By car, the two towns may be reached with the Milan-Venice highway and with the State 11 from Verona. Coming from the north you arrive in Riva del Garda from Rovereto with the State 240; from Trento with the State 45 "bis" and from Brescia with the State 237 and 240. Salo', on the Lombardian shore, may be reached with the State 45 "bis". The State 236, which will take you from Mantova to Desenzano and Peschiera is connected also by the route which passes from the Town of Valeggio sul Mincio.
||Highway VERONA-BRENNERO A22 – exits of Affi, Ala Avio, Rovereto Sud
Highway MILANO-VENEZIA A4 – exits of Desenzano, Brescia Est, Peschiera, Sirmione
Railway Station of DESENZANO
Railway Station of PESCHIERA
||Airport of BRESCIA MONTICHIARI
Airport of VERONA
||ATESINA - Trento
APTV d- Verona
TRASPORTI BRESCIA NORD - Brescia
what to visit
BARDOLINO: Church of St. - Olive Oil Museum
DESENZANO: Cathedral – Civic Archaelogical Musem Roman Villa
GARDA: Captain's Palace – Hermitage of the Camaldolesi
GARDONE RIVIERA: The Vittoriale of the Italians – Hruska Botanic Gardens
LAZISE: Scaligera Fortress - Church of St. Nicholas
MALCESINE: Scaligero Castle – ascent by cableway to Mount Baldo
PESCHIERA DEL GARDA: Scaligera Fortress
RIVA DEL GARDA: Torre Apponale - Rocca Palace – Varone falls
SALO': Cathedral – Palace of the Magnifica Patria
SIRMIONE: Scaligera Fortress - Roman Villa with the Caves of Catullus
TORRI DEL BENACO: Scaligero Castle – Churcjh of the Holy Trinity