A Quick Tour Of Italy - Lake Garda

Let's see what Lake Garda offers tourists...

Bardolino View

Bardolino view

All this, and wine too

If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider Lake Garda in northern Italy. Italy’s largest lake, it was formed by glaciers some ten thousand years ago. The nearby terrain tends to be mountainous in the north and flat in the south. Lake Garda is part of Lombardy but spills over into neighboring Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. Be sure to read the companion articles in this series that present Milan, small town Lombardy outside of its capital Milan, and the Lake Como district.

Riva del Garda is the area’s best-known resort and is less expensive than many competitors. You’ll find a castle with a moat. Its Civic Museum is part of a medieval fortress on the lake. The Thirteenth Century Apponale Tower defended the city from invaders and held prisoners. Look for Riva del Garda’s symbol, Anzolin, the little angel on the top of the tower.

Gargnano, population about three thousand, is great for fishing, snorkeling, and sailing. The town’s major attraction is the Cloister of Saint Francis and its bell tower.

Gardone Riviera, population twenty-five hundred, is best known for the mansion The Shrine of Italian Victories and the major Fascist Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzio who lived there from 1922 until 1938. Be sure to visit the relatively small Botanical Garden Andre Heller with thousands of exotic Alpine, Mediterranean, and subtropical plants.

The little town of Salo, population ten thousand, was the capital of Mussolini's Nazi-backed puppet state, the Italian Social Republic. Its main sights include a Fifteenth Century Cathedral, the Sixteenth Century Palace of the Magnificent Fatherland with a historical museum, and a Palace hosting an archeological museum. Every Saturday morning there is a great outdoor market.

Bardolino, population about six thousand, sits on Lake Garda’s eastern shore. It’s the biggest resort on the lake with numerous shops and historical sights. Bardolino’s main claim to fame is its wine, discussed below. Every fall it hosts a Grape Cure Festival.

Fish forms a major part of the local cuisine. Indigenous fish include the rare Lake Garda carp, whitefish, and lake trout. Our companion article I Love Touring Italy – Lake Garda provides a sample menu and more information on local wines plus an in-depth examination of tourist attractions. Increase your dining pleasure by including local wines with your meal. The best-known wine comes from east of the lake near Bardolino, part of Veneto. Wines are produced all along Lake Garda. See which one you like best.

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.

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And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Lombardy or other Italian wines.

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