Lake Garda and the popular villages in the South

Verona is not that far from Lake Garda and along the southern coast of the lake there are many popular villages you can discover.

First of all, once entered in the wide open bay you can find Peschiera and Sirmione. The first one is a fortified town, surrounded by river Mincio, which flows into the lake after passing under the walls that protects the town. Probably built between 1500 and 1100 b.C this town was called Arillica after the Roman domination. Started as a military and commercial centre, Peschiera became also an important link towards the nearest towns of Mantova, Bergamo and Brescia, thanks to Via Gallica. If you like to enjoy the beauty of nature you can have a walk in Parco Cavour or take a ride towards the surrounding camping area; otherwise, for a bit of shopping time you can get yourself lost in the busy narrow lanes of the town centre. Then, if you are passionate about the history you could visit the ex Military prison park, where sometimes public events take place in the summer.

But when the weather is too hot for you, a short walk under the maritime pines can lead you to some enchanting beaches outside the town walls; in addition, for a bit of breeze, you can also book a boat trip or a windsurf activity. Walking around outside the centre, you can discover many little wooden piers for jumping into the water or for some nice panoramic photos. If you continue walking towards east you can also arrive to one of most famous amusement Park in the North of Italy: Gardaland. As Peschiera is often visited by tourists in the summer, be aware of the busy high season times, even though this town is still a very characteristic one.

Sirmione, is another jump into the past and its location is very unique; it rises on a particular peninsula which makes the little village completely immersed into the water. As located at the bottom top of the Lake, it is completely opposite to Riva del Garda. It is a medieval town which was also built for military and strategic purpose, with a Castel and a tower. Therefore, walking from the entrance of the moving bridge (‘ponte levatoio’) this unique old village has an internal harbour for boats. If you are brave enough you can have a walk to the top of the tower, where the view is something very memorable; from that point, you can also take a walk along the narrow corridors, where in the past military guards used to march up and down to check for enemies arriving from the lake. This is very suggestive to see. Once outside you can also decide to visit the tiny Museum, located at the entrance of the town. Finally, after crossing Sirmione bridge, you can explore the pedestrians streets inside the village, maybe stopping for some local ice-cream or a nice coffee, or getting into a tiny shop bottega for some typical souvenirs. Take your time and you will certainly have a good memory. In particular, remember to find the house with the beutiful pinky flowers of Bouganville; this is just pure pleasure for your eyes. And if you are bit sportive you can walk a bit further outside the centre and find the little hilly road towards Villa Maria Callas. Lastly, before heading back to the road, you might want to enjoy the near Termal Centres. This area, in fact, is well known because of the use of its waters, for wellbeing and health purposes. You can hire a car to reach this SPA or ask for a private tour with us.

Then, not that far from Sirmione there is another typical lake village, Lugana. Its territory is mainly divided in two parts. The first one is more flatty and goes towards the outback, spreading between Desenzano, Sirmione and Peschiera; the second one is more hilly and leads to San Martino della Battaglia, which is a very historic place to visit for memories from I World War. Lugana used to be called ‘selva lucana’ for the humid wooden area which the Serenissima started to use for its wine production since ‘400. But the origin of the vineyard goes back to very old times, such as Bronze Age, from which old grapseeds, like Vitis Silvestris, were found in the stilts of Peschiera del Garda. In fact the name of this village comes from the local white wine locally produced, Lugana, which you probably have the chance to taste in one of the wine cellars but also during our Food&Wine Tours. The particularity of this area is given by the soil of the hills, which is rich in minerals and limestone; however this is also a very difficult soil to work with for its sandy structure. In spite of this, the perfect microclimate of the lake and the old tradition make Lugana wine something very special.

However, if you have time to move a bit further away from the lake coast, you can also visit a very eno-gastronimic town, Valeggio sul Mincio. This is the heart of Tortellino, the symbol of Verona, for its love story’ s origin. In fact, the traditional ones are made every day by hand with pasta eggs and meat filling, and they are called ‘nodo d’amore’ because of their knotted shape. Then, if you take a bike ride or a short walk, you can reach a small cosy and magical medieval village called Borghetto. This place hosts a very unique dinner along the Bridge Visconteo or Ponte Visconteo. But for everyone to enjoy you might visit this old town during food intinerary Fairs; here you have the chance to taste the typical tortellino, together with other local products and wines, while walking between the lanes and old streets.

Going back to the lake, there is another town, which is well linked to the highway and the train station: Desenzano.  Because of a very busy town centre, it is similiar to Peschiera; in fact many live music shows occurr in this village. If you are passionate about shopping, there is even a modern Shopping Centre called Le Vele. You can discover these coulinar gems during our Cooking Class.

However, in order to combine the modern with the antique, during a nice walk you can discover the Castle, the Museum and the ex Calermitani monaster, or you can get suprised by the little Square of Duomo of S.Maria Maddalena with a front face in Barocco style. Lastly, remember to stay till sunset, and admire the houses’ colourful walls, reflecting the light coming from the water. Magical.





by Matteo Pasqualotto

17 August 2017