castelli del Garda

The castles of Garda: what to see on an itinerary between Lazise and Malcesine

Lake Garda is beautiful and full of things to see. And almost all of us, sooner or later, have dedicated a day or a weekend to traveling through them the shoresto enjoy the villages overlooking the lakehis spas while the sportier ones enjoyed a bath, a bike route or were dedicated to windsurfing. But the largest lake in Italy also has another feature that makes it special. It has a rich history and castles of Garda they reveal it with their ancient stones. So let’s set off to discover its fortresses, its towers and its most romantic views.

The castles of Garda: however, let’s start from the Mincio

The starting point is actually still a bit far from the lake. But worth the detour. We are talking about Hamlet of Valeggio sul Mincioon the border between Veneto And Lombardy where is one of the «Most beautiful villages in Italy». Here stands what was once a control point on the ford that was here and which allowed the two territories to connect.
castles of Garda
Now it’s a kind of wedding favor made of old restored mills and small houses transformed into places where, curiously, you eat what are the typical local tortellini called Love knots. The reason? Hard to tell. But they are a good excuse for a stopover. Then she recovers admiring the Visconti bridgebuilt in 1393 by Gian Galeazzo Viscontiduke of Milan to then move to I’m worth it for a dutiful overview from the top of the castle that dominates the Mincio valley and soars with the sun three towers left. There is also a drawbridge and the whole is reminiscent of a castle built with bricks by a child full of imagination.

But the journey among the castles of Garda has just begun and we are heading north. After touching Fishpondwhich deserves a separate visit, let’s go in the direction of Lazise which represents clear proof of the fact that Lake Garda has been a magnet for people since prehistoric time.

Sul Garda between history and prehistory

In fact, here are the remains of a great one Neolithic stilt house village found in the hamlet of Pacengo while the name derives from the Romans: that using the word Lacus were referring to a lakeside village. A village that has grown over time becoming an important locality as evidenced by the fact that Lazise is surrounded by a ring of walls and towers which embrace the historic center made up of medieval alleys – which according to Venetian usage are still called calle – where you meet shops and pleasant clubs while an elegant square opens onto theancient port and on the promenade that leads to the beaches.

castles of Garda

And it is right on the port that the Venetian customsa 14th century building which was the control point for the Venetian territory but also market and arsenal as evidenced by the fact that at approx 500 meters from the port modern of Lazise, ​​between the 24 and 26 meters of depth gods are found ship wrecks sunk in combat. The muddy and dark bottom protected them and from the 1509 have come, at least in part, up to us.

Castles, olive groves and lemon groves

Obviously not everyone can see them – it is a matter for expert divers – but there is no shortage of natural and historical beauties. Following the shore in fact, passing through olive groves, lemon groves and green spotswe arrive at Towers of Benacoone of the towns that dominated the lake area in 1400 when the Most serene. The traces are evident even if the castle that dominates the town is a legacy of the Scaligeri from Verona while in the streets of the center they can be seen archaeological finds and ancient maps. A dutiful stop then in Calderini square before going down to the port, with the typical fishermen’s houses and the beautiful church.

And if you have time, consider taking a look at the lake from a different perspective: from Towers of Benaco many ferries depart that allow you to go to nearby municipalities and admire the villages and shores by moving comfortably.

Malcesine, Klimt and Goethe

If, on the other hand, you want to keep your feet on the ground, get back in the car and face the last stage of our little journey through the castles of Garda which takes us to Malcesineone of the most famous towns on the lake also because it hosted the painter Gustav Klimt and the big one Goethe.

castles of Garda

The historic center is an intertwined ups and downs of small cobbled streets which on the one hand lead tothe castle and on the other at shores of the lake where there are also pleasant beaches. But after some relaxation let’s take a look at the castle built between 1277 and 1387 on a rocky outcrop and which today houses a Natural history museum of Monte Baldo and Garda with geological and botanical finds, as well as illustrative tables of the flora and fauna of the area. In addition, one of the halls hosts an exhibition dedicated to Goethewhere some drawings made by the poet during his stay are exhibited.

Near the marina is the palace of the captains, ancient seat of the Captain of the lake, with the architecture of Venetian era but the most beautiful view is obtained very high up. Just get on Malcesine Monte Baldo cable car with its rotating panoramic cabins, to have a unique view of the lake. There are the castles, the blue and the patches of olive trees. And a sweet wind that smells of oleanders.

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