Roman sites, churches, hermitages, historic villas, castles ... soul places, lake genius loci, to know its origins and get in touch with what flows through time. We will move from the Brescia’s side to the Veneto’s side, without forgetting the hinterland.
Let's start from Tignale in the high lake, descent toward Sirmione and then rising to Malcesine. Every day we describe 2 must-see places, but all others sites are worth seeing.
This stands on an outcrop of limestone rock overlooking the lake. Built on the ruins of an ancient temple, then transformed into a castle, it contains the "Holy House", a small temple said to date back to the ninth century. Its richly frescoed interior (frescoes of the school of Giotto) contains the largest ex-voto in Europe, dating from the early seventeenth century. Its location offers spectacular views, from the high peaks of Monte Baldo to the peninsula of Sirmione. Recently restored, it is one of the most popular and well-known sacred sites of the Garda because of its architectural beauty, art and landscape.
>Santuario di Monte Castello, Via Chiesa, 11 25080 Tignale S/Garda (BS) +39 036573020
The island of Garda, also known as the Isola Borghese, is the largest island of Lake Garda. The Island is situated on the Brescia’s side of Lake Garda, a short distance from San Felice del Benaco.
Today it owes its fascination to the extraordinary Venetian neo-Gothic style villa, designed by the architect Luigi Rovelli at the beginning of the 20th century; an imposing harmonious building, rich in surprising architectonic details. Below, the terraces and Italian gardens slope down to the lake. All around the vegetation is luxuriant and intact, rich in local, exotic plants, rare essences and unique flowers
From the end of March to October the Borghese Cavazza family opens their home to guided tours: a path in the untouched nature, the Italian and English gardens and inside the harmonious and impressive Venetian neo-Gothic style home of the beginning of the 20th century.
Dating back to the Scaliger era, it is considered one of the best preserved castles in Italy as well as a rare example of a lake fortification: it is easy to notice how it looks directly out over the lake. Another impressive feature is that it is the only access point for the centre of Sirmione. Adding to the charm of this fairytale castle are the legends handed down over the years, the most beautiful and romantic being that of Ebengardo and his beloved Arice.
Visitors can cross the drawbridge and enter the tower of the keep to stroll on the walkways. The castle was built around the thirteenth century on a pre-existing one.
Opening times: March to October 08:30 - 19:00 - October to February 08:30 - 17:00
Viale Guglielmo Marconi 2 25019 Sirmione, Brescia +39 030916468
The Grotte di Catullo are the most impressive testimony of the Roman villa in northern Italy: they are the remains of a building dating back to the period between the end of the first century BC and the first century AD, on the southern shore of Lake Garda in Sirmione. The name “Grotte” or caves dates from the fifteenth century, when some commentators found the remains of these "caves", which were mostly in ruins and grassed over. The archaeological site is located at the end of the peninsula and is accessible only on foot or by the electric train that runs from the square in front of the thermal baths of Sirmione.
Admission: € 6,00, Reduced: € 3.00 - Tickets can be purchased up to one hour before closing
Winter openings hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 8:30 to 17:30, Sunday and holidays: 8:30 to 14:00
Summer openings hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 8:30 to 19:30, Sunday and holidays: 9:30 to 18:30
Closed on Mondays
Piazzale Orti Manara, 4 Sirmione BS, Italia
Don’t forget than at 30/40 km you have the city of Brescia and Mantua, both with sites of Unesco Heritage.
Inside the museum in the mediaeval castle of Torri del Benaco you can visit rooms dedicated to fishing and fishing equipment, shipwrights, the cultivation and processing of olives, prehistoric stone engravers and the castle’s lookout towers.
Opening hours: 01 April to 15 June: 9.30 - 12.30 and 14.30 - 18.00 - 16 June to 15 September: 9.30 - 13.00 and 16.30 - 19.30 - 16 September to 31 October: 9.30 - 12.30 and 14.30 - 18.00
Viale F.lli Lavanda, 2, Torri del Benaco (VR)
This mediaeval castle in Malcesine, on the north-eastern shore of Lake Garda, owes part of its fame to the drawings and descriptions of the German poet Goethe in his book “Italian Journey”. It is an impressive site perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake, and you can also admire the view of the beach below. Inside the building is a museum dedicated to Goethe, as well as a natural history museum and a museum of fishing. It has been a popular location for weddings in recent years.
The date of its origin is uncertain due to a lack of relevant documentation before its conquest by the Scaligeri family; however, there is evidence of its use as a refuge for local farmers and fishermen. The first building here was probably destroyed in the year 509. In 899 Berengar strengthened the walls in face of the Hungarians. It is possible to see remains of the two city walls in a concentric position with respect to the fortress.
Opening hours April to October open daily from 9:30 to 19:30
November / March Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 11:00 to 16:00
Adults: € 6,00 , Children: € 2,00, Children under 6 years: free
Via Castello 39, 37018 Malcesine (VR)