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Lazise

Lazise is situated at 64 m above sea level on the South-Eastern shore of the Lake Garda in the Province of Verona. Together with Colà and Pacengo, the municipality has approximately 6500 inhabitants. The lovely village is still almost completely surrounded by medieval walls and steeped in history as is proven by prehistorical, roman and medieval findings: “palafitte” pile dwellings, a roman military port, remains of a Venetian galley, the San Nicolò church of the XII century, the castle of the XI century, the customs building of the XV century, the san Zeno parish church, the elegant villas of the XVIII century like Villa Bagatta, Villa Bottona, Villa Pergolana. The small fisherman’s harbour, the bulwarks on the lakeside promenade and the city walls with the three entrance gates give Lazise an almost medieval atmosphere. Lazise is known as Italy’s first independent community thanks to the city rights granted to its families by emperor Otto II of Saxony in the year 983: in the month of May this event is recalled with the Medieval Festival. In August during the Guest Festival, guests are entertained with the traditional Palio della Cuccagna, in October are held the Honey Exhibition and the Olive Oil Fair. Market day is on Wednesday.

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Colà di Lazise

With Pacengo, Colà is one of the two hamlets of Lazise, grown in the XV century around magnificent palaces and castles: Villa Moscardo, Villa Dei Cedri, Villa Monteraso, Villa Da Sacco which is also called the Castle. In August is held the traditional Madonna Della Neve Festival. THERMAL PARK VILLA DEI CEDRI During excavations in the eighties for an irrigation well in the magnificent park of the Villa Dei Cedri, 13 hectare of grounds, a thermal spring was discovered with a natural temperature of 37°C. The water is used to feed a natural lake with water massage systems. The Villa, the park and the lake are open all year around, in summer also with discounted evening tickets.

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Pacengo di Lazise

Pacengo is a small village on the South East shore of Lake Garda positioned between Gardaland and Movieland. Which makes it an ideal base for guests who wish to visit the themeparks and also enjoy relaxing in the sun.  Pacengo itself is only very small but has a wonderful pizzeria nearby called Gallehus on the main lakeside road.   It also has a small but attractive marina and wonderful views of the lake.  What also makes it unique is that it has a large beach area for sunbathing.  The beach consisting of small white pebbles rather than sand, but still very good for relaxing and sunbathing. The main towns nearby are Lazise, Bardolino and Garda to the North and Peschiera and Sirmione to the South.   Attractions in the area include Aqua Paradise Park, the Thermal Spa at Cola, Sirmione and Garda, the Zoo, motor museum,  Jungle Adventure, Parco Sigurta Giardino (one of the most beautiful parks in the world), Go karting at Benacus, boat rental and the Waterfall Park at Molina. 

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Bardolino

Although Bardolino is a walled city, it retains very little historical rests and it has a rather modern and mundane atmosphere. From the city walls of the IX century, only the Southern entrance gate remains and one of the towers. The fame of Bardolino derives from its beautiful red DOC wines (wines with certified origin) Bardolino, Bardolino Classico e Bardolino Chiaretto. Between the main road en the city centre, the San Severo church from the XI century. Near the Southern gate, the Villa Rizzardi Guerrieri with its wine cellar. Between Bardolino and Garda, the monastery of Monte San Giorgio of the XVII century, still inhabited by the Camaldoli monks. In June, the International Triathlon is held and during the first weekend of October the well-known Grape and Wine Fair. Market day at Bardolino is Thursday. Near the ancient train station of Bardolino (near Hotel Nettuno) we find one of the access points, with ample parking space, of the lakeside walk of 20 km between Loc. Fornaci at Peschiera and Punta San Vigilio, which allows is to admire the villas and palaces on the lakeshore from their best side. After the first hairpins on the road from Bardolino to Albarè, a cross-road on the left leads to the Tusini Institute where we find easy parking space. Continuing the road on foot in Northern direction we reach the so-called Caval della Rocca, where we take the rather steep left-hand path that brings us to the top of the table mountain, with a lovely view on Garda and Bardolino. The right-hand path instead brings us to the monastery of the Camaldoli monks; in front of the main entrance gate we follow the road for approx. 300 m and take a beautiful path to the right through meadows and vineyards back to the Tusini Institute.

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Peschiera del Garda

Peschiera is situated at the South-Eastern tip of the Lake Garda, on the river Mincio which is the only effluent of the lake. The historical city centre is completely surrounded by imposing bulwarks forming a star with five points, surrounded by a navigable moat. The first city walls of Peschiera date back to the year 101 B.C.; during the centuries they were destroyed and rebuilt many times until they were englobed in the XVI century by Sanmicheli into an imposing defence structure with several detached forts. After the fall of Napoleon in the year 1815 and the subsequent transfer of the zone to Austria, Peschiera became one of the main elements of the defence quadrilateral Verona – Peschiera – Mantua – Legnago. Together with the surrounding villages of Custoza, San Martino and Solferino, Peschiera saw many battles of which the last one, the 1848 siege by the Piedmont army of Peschiera occupied by the Austrians that ended with the surrender of the city, is recalled with a “Rievocazione” festival in the month of September. In the city centre, the garrison command building, now town hall, and the parish church dedicated to San Martino built in the XVIII century on the rests of a pagan temple. A few miles to the South, the pilgrimage Sanctuary of Madonna del Frassino, built in the XVI century after the appearance of the Madonna between the branches of an ash-tree (frassino). The territory of Peschiera produces a aromatic white wine, the Lugana DOC. Monday is market day at Peschiera; an antiques market is held on the first Sunday of the month. CYCLING ROUTE TO MANTUA The river Mincio offers an interesting cycling route almost all the way to Mantua. We park at the soccer court in Peschiera and descend to the path along the defence moat with which we reach the river Mincio. The path along the right river bank is tarred for 6 km until the Salionze water dam, which we cross: on the left bank a spring with wonderfully cool drinking water. The tarred path on the left bank continues along Monzambano (weekly market on Sunday), Borghetto (15 km from Peschiera) and Pozzolo (20 km from Peschiera). At the water dam in Pozzolo, the cycling route leaves the Mincio and continues to Marengo along the left bank of a channel (Canal Bianco). With a mountain bike, the Mincio can be followed between Monzambano and Pozzolo on the right river bank which is not tarred, crossing a beautiful agricultural zone called “Basse dei Bonomi”. The path ends at an island with a historical mill that serves a particularly delicate pizza. Instead of following the left channel bank to Marengo and then the normal roads to Mantua, we can cross the bridge at Pozzolo (or remain on the right bank) and take the road to Goito (7 km, weekly market on Sunday), cross the city centre and the historical bridge, and at the beautiful Villa Giraffa take the road to Maglio, Soave and Cittadella di Mantova.

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Sirmione

The thermal city of Sirmione has 25,000 residents, mainly living in the hamlet Colombare. The historical city centre is situated on the tip of the peninsula, well defended by the castle, the moat and the stone slabs all around the tip that made an invasion by boat impossible. The biggest Roman villa of Northern Italy has been built here in the I century. The Della Scala family of Verona built the beautiful castle, completely surrounded by water with a drawbridge and stone walks along the walls, with a magnificent view of the military harbour where the fleet found shelter. The castle has been completely restored and is open to visitors. In the city centre, the parish church of Santa Maria Maggiore of the XV century. Sirmione is well-known as a thermal centre with sulphur water that originates at a temperature of 69°C from the Boiola well, which is piped to the thermal centres Catullo in the historical city centre and Virgilio at Colombare di Sirmione. When the water level of the Lake Garda is low, the tip of the peninsula can be rounded on foot walking on the stone slabs forming its base. We leave the car on the big Montebaldo parking at 700 m from the castle and enter the historical centre: the walk begins behind the parish church. At the small beach, in front of the pizzeria, the Boiola spring is situated under water at approx. 100 m distance. The walk around the tip, under the Villa Catullo, is not easy but awesome and interesting. At the farthest point a beacon warns passing speedboats not to come too near. The walk ends at Punta Staffalo where we return into the city centre. THE STONE SLABS When the water level of the Lake Garda is low, the tip of the peninsula can be rounded on foot walking on the stone slabs forming its base. We leave the car on the big Montebaldo parking at 700 m from the castle and enter the historical centre: the walk begins behind the parish church. At the small beach, in front of the pizzeria, the Boiola spring is situated under water at approx. 100 m distance. The walk around the tip, under the Villa Catullo, is not easy but awesome and interes-ting. At the farthest point a beacon warns passing speedboats not to come too near. Halfway the slab walk, a low wall with an iron fence can be easily climbed over by means of an impro-vised ladder put there on purpose. The walk ends at Punta Staffalo where we return into the city centre. ROMAN VILLA “GROTTE DI CATULLO” Along Via Catullo in the historical city centre we arrive at the Roman villa built between the I century B.C. and the I century A.C. Only ruins remain of this magnificent private dwelling of approx. 20,000 square meters, he most imposing Roman villa of Northern Italy. Near the entrance of the archeo-logical site, the interesting Antiquarium with a map of the building, photo-graphs of the excavations, mosaics, bronze objects and stoneware.

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Just some suggestions Sirmione

Polpenazze (Padenghe)

Polpenazze del Garda is one of the central zones in the Valtenesi area and owes its fame to its historical characteristics. On an island situated at the centre of Lake Lucone (drained between the 15th and 18th century) the remains of a lake-dwelling village were found, demonstrating that the area was already inhabited in the Bronze Age by a population which lived from hunting and fishing. Fragments in the tower of Bottenago and the Church of San Pietro in Lucone testify to the passage of peoples such as the Celts, Etruscans and the Romans. Its name is thought to derive from the derogatory form of the Roman name Pomponius, Pomponocius. The people of Polpenazze were considered to be very determined, to the extent of being described as Polpenazze, warlike people, farmers. The statutes of the commune of Polpenazze, proposed by the residents, were approved by the assembly of 38 heads of families gathered together in the castle in 1454. Among famous people from the town, in addition to the Filippini family, we find Giovanni Omodeo, who implemented innovative reforms, creating an artificial lake, introducing the use of intensive cultivation and bringing the electricity supply and running water to the countryside.

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Garda

The city of Garda is situated between the Rocca and the San Vigilio headland. Only a very small part of its medieval walls has been conserved and two of its entrance gates. The romantic central square, which once was the fisherman’s harbour but has been filled up, ends at the beautiful Palazzo Dei Capitani in gothic-Venetian style of the XV century. On the lakeshore, the Palazzo Fregoso of the XVI century and the Palazzo Carlotti with a loggia, called La Losa, designed by Sanmicheli. The parish church was built on the site of a IX century church dedicated to Maria. North of the village, splendid palaces of the XVI century: Villa Degli Albertini, Villa Carlotti, and Villa Guarienti at San Vigilio built by Sanmicheli. At the first full moon of June, a traditional party called “Sardellata al Pal del Vo” is held in the middle of the lake with fireworks and fish barbecue. Market day at Garda is Friday. BAIA DELLE SIRENE – SAN VIGILIO 3 km North of Garda we can park at the San Vigilio headland and admire the romantic harbour with antique café which is part of the Guarienti Villa together with a small luxury hotel and the San Vigilio chapel. On the Northern slope of the headland, the small bathing establishment Baia Delle Sirene can be used at a fee, with sun beds, bar and playground. MONTE LUPPIA Walking along the lakeside boulevard in the direction of San Vigilio, the path gets progressively narrower and rougher. To the right, a sign with “Monte Luppia” indicates a path that brings us up to the main road, which we cross in order to continue North through an olive grove which is also used as a car parking.. The path brings us straight over the Baia Delle Sirene with a lovely view. At the first crossroads, to the left an easy trail leads to Torri del Benaco, to the right a rather steep trail leads to Albisano along the famous prehistoric rock drawings; halfway to the right a path that leads up to the Monte Luppia. We can reach Monte Luppia also from Albisano: we park at the soccer court and continue on foot taking the first climbing road to the left. This panoramic tarred road finishes after approx. 500 m and we can choose between two trails, one climbing to the left that leads through woods and cypresses to Monte Luppia with its dizzying view on Garda, one down to the right into the direction of S.Vigilio. PREHISTORIC ROCK DRAWINGS The glaciers that moulded the Lake Garda ten thousand years ago smoothed rock slabs on which the prehistoric inhabitants drew scenes of ordinary life, battles, hunts, people, symbols. The oldest date back to the bronze age 1500 years ago and are found all over the slopes of the Monte Baldo between Garda and Malcesine. THE “ROCCA” TABLE MOUNTAIN ACCESSED FROM GARDA From the parish church in Garda we cross the San Bernardo quarter and follow Via Degli Alpini up to the big Madonna Del Pigno statue with a lovely view over Garda. Continuing the path that gets steep and rather rough, we reach the Caval Della Rocca. The path to the right leads up to the Rocca. The mountain is crossed by defence tunnels dating back to Longobard times, that can be visited with a torch light. On top of the table mountain, rests of a castle from the X century are being excavated where in the year 951 Adelaide of Bourgogne was imprisoned; a year later she became spouse of emperor Otto I of Saxon and mother of emperor Otto II who gave Lazise it’s city rights in the year 983. THE “VALLE DEI MOLINI” MILL VALLEY The path follows the course of the river Tesina. From the centre of Garda we drive up Via Don Gnocchi until the Tesina roundabout, where we take the path to the left, indicating Restaurant La Val, that follows the (mainly dry) river bed. We can park at the beginning of the path, or farther up at the restaurant. The trail crosses the river in several places until it reaches the restaurant and it’s rather rough driving, we advise to go on foot. After the restaurant the river gets bigger, a beautiful renovated rustico on the right, a trout farm, two 90° curves with rests of ancient mills on the left hand, and a group of ancient dwellings to the left crossed by a path that leads up to Loc. Campagnola at Marciaga. From Campagnola a comfortable trail to the right leads down again into the valley where we take the same path back.

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Just some suggestions Garda

Costermano sul Garda

This area abounds with places of great beauty and charm. The Valley of the Mills and the German Military Cemetery both merit a visit, the latter a final resting place of 22,000 German soldiers and the third most important in Italy in terms of size. In Marciaga the seventeenth-century Santuario della Beata Vergine del Soccorso and the evocative "senge", where, in addition to a beautiful view of Lake Garda, you can admire ancient petroglyphs. In Castion, highlights include the Romanesque church of San Verolo, the elegant Villa Pellegrini Cipolla and the Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene, which houses a beautiful Brusasorci painting. Albarè is the birthplace of Adolfo Consolini, Olympic discus thrower, and home of the 12th century churches of Saints Fermo and Rustico as well as the charming Villa Torri-Giuliari with its expansive park where you can find two oaks recorded as the oldest in the province of Verona.

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Just some suggestions Costermano sul Garda