There is one place I love always and never leaves my heart. Garda Lake!
The Garda Lake sits between Lombardy and Veneto Region. One side of this “Pear-shaped” lake belongs to Lombardy (West), and one to Veneto (East). While the tippy top—of the narrower part that is nestled on the edge of the Dolomites—belongs to the Trentino Region.
Spring Break Destination
It is the Spring destination “par excellence.” I can’t just say which of the towns that line up the coastline of the Lake is my favorite. Perhaps all of them, or no one is “favorite”! Why settle for only one when you can just drive-thru all the way around it and just stop where your heart commands. Or even bike it all around!
Starting from the highway exit (driving from east, or from Verona)—and then driving up north—the towns are (🔸 = Veneto; 🔹 = Lombardy; ◾️ = Trentino)
🔸Peschiera del Garda (Verona)
🔸Castelnuovo del Garda
🔸Bardolino (famous also from a wine with the same name)
🔸Torri del Benaco (old name if the lake)
🔹Riva del Garda (Trentino)
▪️Limone sul Garda (Lombardy)
▪️San Felice del Benaco
▪️Manerba del Garda
▪️Moniga sul Garda
▪️Padenghe sul Garda
▪️Lonato sul Garda
Taking a Closer Look
All of the above towns have their own charm. One can settle in one of them and just enjoy, sunbathing relaxing, hiking, biking, sailing, or windsurfing. Each of the towns offers something special. Windsurfing is spectacular in Riva, while there is a breathtaking bike lane that goes all around the lake. Strong muscles and good lungs are recommended before taking up the biking challenge! 😉
Its mild climate is welcomed in winter—the olive trees are testimony—making a favorite destination at the first signs of spring. While the peaceful-breezy temperatures make it a good choice for a summer vacation.
Sirmione del Garda
- Starting from the 1st century BC, the area of the Garda, including what is now Sirmione, became a favorite resort for rich families coming from Verona the Beautiful, then the main city in north-eastern Italy. The poet Catullus praised the beauties of the city and spoke of a villa he had in the area.
- In the late Roman era (4th-5th centuries AD) the city became a fortified strongpoint defending the southern shore of the lake.
- Around the year 1000 Sirmione was probably a free “comune,” but fell in the hands of the Scaliger family in the early 13th century. Mastino I della Scala was probably the founder of the castle.
- Sirmione was a possession of the Venetian Republic from 1405 until 1797, when it was acquired by the Habsburg Empire. It became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.
Catullus & Maria Callas
The Castle stands as a testimony of the above history. Then one can walk the narrow pretty streets of the cities and enjoy the boutiques, coffee shops, gelaterias, restaurants with terrace overlooking the lake, visit Maria Callas’ villa, who was just one of the many famous visitors thru the years.
Sirmione Thermae (Hot Spring, SPA)
As an added benefit to vacation in Sirmione, there are Thermal hotels with sulphuric waters.
Based on its chemical characteristics, the water of “Terme di Sirmione” is identified as “sulphurous salsobromoiodic.” In fact, it contains a significant amount of sulfur, in the form of hydrogen sulfide, sodium, bromine, and iodine.
The water of the Hot Springs is classified as mineral water, bacteriologically pure, and hyperthermal because it flows at a temperature of 69 °.