Lake Garda: The Greatest italian lake


Lake Garda or Benaco (Benaco in pronunciation locally diffuse Lach de 'Garda in in Brescian dialect, Lago de Garda in the Venetian dialect), is the largest Italian lake, with an area of about 370 km ².

It lays among three regions:

  • Lombardia (Brescia)
  • Veneto (province of Verona)
  • Trentino-Alto Adige (Trento)

It is parallel to the Adige, which is divided by the massif of Monte Baldo. To the north is narrow funnel while to the south it widens, surrounded by moraine hills which make the landscape more sweet.


The lake is a major tourist destination and is visited each year by millions of people. The majority of the tourism, however, comes from Germany. Dutch people visit the lake from march to october. Despite the cold water, it's not unusual to see a dutch family swimming in the lake on april and march.

History of the lake

The prehistory

The history of the Garda begins with the first people who inhabited Italy, on the shore of this lake, in fact, are primitive caves and substantial remains of piles is under the Rocca del Garda, as well as in Lazise, ​​Peschiera and Pacengo.


Prehistoric times are still not clear. It seems that the first inhabitants were the Aboriginal people, but certainly there was the settlement of the Umbrians who came from Central Europe. Around 1000 BC, the Etruscans settled on the lake which then split into two strains: the Rezi and Toschi. They who occupied the areas north and west of the lake. On the eastern shore were instead allocated the Venetians.

The Romans

In 225 BC Roman armies crossed the Po, defeated the Gauls, subjugated the territory and founded their first colonies. By this time we have no information safe. The earliest records belong to the 15 BC, when Augustus gave instructed his lieutenants to subdue the networks Trentino who had rebelled. In that year the Romans transport ships crossed the lake. With the new political-administrative, Brescia, the Valtrompia, Val Sabbia and the Riviera until Arco, were assigned to the tribe Fabia, Verona was assigned to the tribe Poblilia. Under the dominion of Rome was given new impetus also the economic and social life: the Romans, in fact, they built roads: the main among all the Gallic and Claudia Augusta. From these major arteries branched off other ways, perhaps secondary, but either way such as to allow traffic and transportation. Important were the ways of communication on the river Po and the Mincio, and the internal lakeside. It is believed that, in the Roman period, the main points of life has been to Garda on the eastern shore towers and the western Toscolano. Conspicuous is the heritage of Roman civilization emerged in recent excavations, present in plaques or coins especially in the countries of Peschiera, Lazise, ​​Garda, Malcesine and Torri. At the end of the century. IV the people of the lake, especially through the work of San Vigilio, Bishop of Trent, were converted to Catholicism. i.imgur.com_ndgd4wy.jpg

The invasions

With the decline of the Roman Empire, also the territory lakeside suffered the vicissitudes of invasions and wars. Before Odoacer and Theodoric, both, afrid to lose their sovereignty, opposed to the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines. In 568 the Lombards led by King Alboino took possession of much of the Italian territory, which was divided into 36 ducats, and among them the one that included the cities and territories of Verona, Brescia and Trento. In 774, with the defeat of Desiderio, the last king of the Lombards, replaced the rule of Charlemagne, king of the Franks, who divided the territory of Verona in judicial districts ruled by a judge or “gastaldione”. In Verona, placed his palace Pipino, the eldest son of the emperor, who visited the Lake going so far as to Malcesine.

With the new subdivision given by Charlemagne, the area of Garda was detached from Verona and erected as county. After the death of the glorious emperor, failed the central government, among the Veronese and the inhabitants of the lake discord arose. It was fought - it seems - also a tough battle (between 829 and 856), in which the people of Verona, following the advice of the Venetian captain Giustiniani Maffeo, after equipping a fleet, reduced to obedience the people living in the area of Garda.

The feudal period and municipal levels

With the end of the Carolingian dynasty, Italy and also the various counties, tried to regain their independence and elected their king Berengario, Duke of Friuli which put the seat in Verona. In this period, there was the terrible invasion of the Hungarians.This increased the need to raise new fortifications and strengthen existing ones. After Berengario, the crown of Italy passed to Ugo of Provence and then to that of his son Lotario in 947, married Adelaide of Burgundy. Lotario was poisoned by his legal guardian, Duke Berengario of Ivrea. He even imprisoned Adelaide in the fortress of Garda because she had refused to marry Albert, son and heir of Berengario himself. With the descent of Ottone (953) the kingdom of Italy was over, and the Rocca del Garda was dismantled (963).

As the imperial authority went hand in hand in absenteeism due to weakening of the emperors, it was replaced by that of the feudal lords and the ordering of the free commune. In the twelfth century the lands of the Verona side changed frequently. In 1160 they were under the jurisdiction of the Verona Turrisendo of Turrisendi who opposed Barbarossa.

The freedom - that little by little the towns of the lake had gained - however, were confirmed in the Peace of Costanza (1133) and continued up to the spread of the rule of Verona (1277-1329). In this period, was established on the western shore the “Magnifica Patria” (which included 33 community lands): purpose of the community - which had as Maderno capital first and then Salò - was the defense of their autonomy against the Visconti and Scaligeri.

In parallel, on the eastern shore, 18 municipalities Federated established the “Gardesana” but Ezzelino Romano and. The Scaligeri contrasted any tendency of autonomy. The domain of the Scaligeri lasted until 1387, when the Visconti, allied with the Gonzaga and the Carrara defeated the Della Scala, and took possession of the Verona area of ​​the lake. The “Gardesana” was governed by a Captain or Prefect who resided in Malcesine. The Captain in charge, in first a period, lasted for five years and then for three months and was assisted by a Council, which met in Torri. The Captain's task was to prevent smuggling and to ensure the security and policy of the area. The Sommolago followed different paths: the feud of some great monasteries at Brescia, belonged to the “comitatus” of Trento and the March of Verona. Is was then entrusted to the Duke of Bavaria and that of Corinzia. The 1004 marked the beginning of the Bishopric of Trent. He managed to maintain its independence against the counts of Tyrol and the Habsburgs until its annexation to Austria in 1803.

The Venetian period

The dominion of the Visconti lasted seventeen years and - after a brief period of Carrara's - in the year 1405 began the Venetian rule, which lasted uninterrupted for almost four centuries (1405-1797). It was the golden period of the history of the lake: the political wisdom and the administrative ability of Venice, property development and economic and social life received a strong impulse. Many rivers were dammed, many land quenched. In the land it were introduced vine, olive and fruit trees. New foundries and workshops for the manufacture of iron arose in Gardone and Toscolano; on Verona's side of the lake the wool industry flourished. In the whole area began the silkworm and the production of silk.

The Nineteenth Century

The Venetian domination came to an end when the lands of the lake were occupied by Napoleon's troops (1796) who took over the Austrians. After the “Treaty of Luneville” (1801), the 'Gardesana Water “was incorporated in the Cisalpine Republic and then in the Italian Republic (1802). Various events followed until the “Treaty of Paris” (1814) by which gave rise to the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia under the rule of Austria. The province of Verona was divided into 12 districts including the one called “Caprino” (it means Goat) which also included the villages of the shore. A few years later - for administrative reasons - was added to the existing district of Bardolino which centralize the lives of all the municipalities of the lake.

Verona and the Garda's eastern shore were now moved by the desire of independence and to rejoin Italy Iin 1848 it seemed that the ardent hope would become a reality soon, when Carlo Alberto entered Peschiera. In reality, the enthusiasm of the patriots and populations was finally satisfied only in 1866.

Morphology of the land

The landscape is conditioned by the lithographic characteristics of rock, tectonic structures and partly by human action. The importance of the tectonic structure in the modeling of the lake landscape is particularly evident on the Monte Baldo mountains, whose backbone coincides with the culmination of an anticlinal fold. The depression of the lake, however, comes from a fold dug by the waters and shaped by glaciers.

Other forms have been defined by fluvial erosion, glacial and karst. In particular, erosion of river is really evident in the northern part of the basin, while the glacial erosion is visible throughout the area. It is particularly evident the large moraine created by hundreds of hills to the south of the lake, formed by giant stones, pebbles, sand and silt. The action of advance and retreat that has undergone the glacier is visible in the alternation of hills circles. The karst processes are mostly found on Mount Baldo, as evidenced by the numerous sinkholes and basins, and these are facilitated by the erosive process Triassic limestones of the mountain, easily breakable.



In the region of Lake Garda just the olive fails to dispute the supremacy of the vine. Here there are in fact the climatic conditions and soil suitable for the growth of the vine, which is present in particular in the southern and central areas of both banks. It is not known neither who introduced the plant in this environment nor when, but some evidence shows that in the first century wine Garda was well known. In fact, you could easily find it in the banquets of the Romans under the name Rhaetian wine (uva retica). The Rhaetian was one of the favorite wines of the Emperor Augustus, at least according to what brings us back to Suetonius. Even Pliny praises the Rhaetian grapes, stating that it was quite in vogue in Rome.


The wines of Garda, in particular the Verona side, are still quite valuable and sought after. Especially well known is the wine called Bardolino, produced from Peschiera to Malcesine, of which Goethe speaks in his “Travel in Italy”. Red in color, it has a delicate aroma and a pleasant flavor.

Olive trees and its excellent oil


The cultivation of the olive tree in the neighboring Lake Garda has ancient origins. The introduction into the territory of the olive is owed to the Romans if not, according to some theories, even to the Etruscans of transition from the Garda on the street that led them from the Mediterranean to the Rhine. The development of the cultivation is noteworthy in the post-medieval period, up to the present, with about 2000 hectares of olive trees. Among the cultivated varieties, as well as those spread throughout the Italian territory as Leccino, Frantoio, Pendolino and Moraiolo, there are native types, first of all the Casaliva, the Gargnà and other minor as Miniol, Trep, Baia, Regina del Garda and Mitria.

On the lower slopes of the mountains, the hills and the plains along the lake, the olive tree has the more favorable conditions to grow: the mountains protect it from cold northern winds while the lake is a vital source of heat. Particularly suitable for the cultivation of the olive tree is the land: usually gravel, sometimes covered with a layer of clay mixed with sand. On both sides, the western shore of the eastern, the olive tree dominates the land. The olive tree was cultivated in ancient times in Asia Minor and Egypt, where it seems to have then spread to Greece and then to Italy during Roman rule. It is not know with certainty the timing of the introduction and spread in the basin benacense because, in spite of the first documents that speak of this crop at Garda date back to the eighth century, almost certainly this culture was already in the country for several centuries, but not with the extension. The most common varieties of olive trees on the western shore of Lake Garda are the Gargnà, the Casaliva and Miol, while on the eastern shore is paramount the presence of Raza, even if there are even the Favarol, the Gargnà and Casaliva, the Trep and the Miol. Along the shores of Lake Garda is produced Garda oil, DOP extra virgin olive oil of excellent quality, that they can compete with the olive oils of other Italian regions, even if the production is quantitatively rather low. That is why the price can be 3-4 times the normal price you can find all around Italy.


In the Garda region, especially on the Brescia side, are planted with different citrus species, probably introduced by the maritime Republic of Genoa after having been imported from the East: lemon, lime, orange, mandarin and bergamot.


The local popular tradition attributes the introduction of the lemon to the friars of the Franciscan order in the thirteenth century who lived in a monastery still existing (even if today is used for different purposes) in Gargnano, in whose courtyard there is a porch on whose columns are carved oranges and lemons. In Maderno there is a former convent where tradition has it that the brothers have planted lemon for the first time, a hundred years after the introduction in Gargnano. It is not possible to know with certainty who and when has introduced citrus on the lake. According to other documents, it seems that already in the fifteenth century their cultivation was widespread and thriving.

The way in which citrus fruits are repaired by large greenhouses made of local stone and wood is very particular: on one esplanade, generally south-facing, citrus fruits are grown in the north of this esplanade runs along a high wall generally more than ten meters closed the sides by two walls smaller in size but the same height. In front of the south are rather tall pillars about ten meters and placed four meters away from each other, upon which you rest the beams that form the skeleton of the ceiling, and these lie above the secondary beams that complement the roof. The spaces that exist between a pillar and another can be closed by windows designed to be easily removed in the moments when there is need of using them. This method of construction of greenhouses is started in the first half of the seventeenth century, although in the previous century were present forms most archaic of these greenhouses, then evolved into its actual one.


The streets are often irregular due to the lack of space and rugged terrain. In the fifteenth century Marin Sanudo gives an overview of the major towns of the lake: Peschiera, Lazise, ​​Cisano, Bardolino, Garda, San Vigilio, Tori, Pai, Brenzone, Malcesine, Torbole, Riva, Limone, Gargnano, Bogliaco, Toscolano, Maderno, Salo, Manerba, Desenzano, Sirmione and Rivoltella. This list of towns had an important role in military, commercial and residential. Even today the same list of town can be considered still quite the main center of the local economy, a sign that the geography of the lake is well established.

All these centers are allocated along the banks of the lake, reflecting the importance of the relationship with the water for the Benacensi's (name identifying local people). Before the arrival of tourism, centers were devoted mainly to fishing, trade and navigation, while inland ( in the hills or mountains) the small villages were pasture ground or dedicated to agriculture. The urban centers were in fact middle-class city in miniature, with a lot of churches, public buildings, squares, with a castle and its walls protectong the city from the outside world. Today these small towns are extended outside the ancient walls, and the function of division between the urban and the more natural it is today performed by the rapid slopes of the mountains and the hills that surround the coast. Among the centers, since ancient times, has always run a road surrounding the lake, into which flowed all those who came from the cities and the villages. The main centers, Desenzano, Peschiera, Lazise, ​​Garda, Malcesine, Riva, Salò, still make the idea of ​​being a reference point for large surrounding areas.

In places so inaccessible and with little space available, countries often arose, and arise, dotted along the coast, with houses close to each other and with roads, as a result, narrow and irregular, all without a rational view of the surrounding landscape.

The houses often arose directly on the shores, although many in the twentieth century have been partially torn down to make way for pedestrian streets along the lake.

Only the Scala's (the Scaligeri, as mention before in the section dedicated to the Lake's history) managed to rearrange the pattern of some urban centers. That was in fact the Scaliger domination that left traces all over the country, through the construction of castles and walls around the city, creating a well-integrated defense system: major transformations involved Sirmione, Peschiera, Lazise, ​​Bardolino, Garda, Malcesine and Riva . Sirmione, built on the peninsula south of the lake, saw the construction of an imposing castle with a military port, and defensive walls with towers around the town. Even Peschiera del Garda assumed an important function, since its walls were expanded by the Scala family, then torn down and rebuilt by the Serenissima, with a more modern type of fortification. Lazise underwent a drastic rationalization, coming to resemble a Roman city: the city, surrounded by walls, took on a rectangular plan and within the streets were plotted according to an orthogonal set. The walls of Bardolino were completely demolished in the nineteenth century, and also those of Garda and Malcesine (where it remains a perched castle) are now largely disappeared. Riva del Garda, strategically important for communication with the valley of the River Sarca, was equipped with walls and a castle.

Even the Brescia side had villages bearing, in particular Salò, but also Manerba, Desenzano and Maderno. During the rule of the Scaliger villages were characterized by the city walls and castles. In contrast, with the ruling of the Venetian, in different villages it was given a new order to the streets. Palaces and churches were built at the same time, even outside the medieval city walls. Both on the western than on the eastern shore of the peace under the Serenissima gave him the impetus to building, so much so that in Salò and Garda walls were demolished to make way for new buildings. Peschiera del Garda was the only city that saw its military role be strengthened: in the sixteenth century the Venetians demolished the fortress Scala and built strong walls to test the new artillery, and later expanded the Austrians military facilities, built a fortified external camp. This feature became a heavy burden for the city's economy, which recovered only really with the birth of mass tourism. The Austrian domination left signs of its past presence in Riva del Garda.

Noteworthy cities by the Lake Garda


Even today, walking around the center with the watchful eye of the observer, it is possible to make a long journey into the past. The city's origins are unknown: the legend it was founded by Queen Salmodia or by the Etruscan Lucumone Saloo, the son of Osiris of Egypt. One thing is certain: Salò was home to an important Roman settlement, attested from the necropolis of Lugane (via Sant'Jago) from the many artifacts and stone exhibited in the local archaeological museum.


During the Middle Ages the city shared the fate of Lombardy. The autonomy against Brescia can be dated towards the end of the century thirteenth or early next. The most ancient statutes of the town that are preserved are of 1397. Regulations and municipal regulations have been preserved almost entirely in the historical archives of the town, then ruled by councils and represented by the general and special console. Various deputations, similar to the existing departments were responsible for the ordinary and extraordinary. Before 1334 it was made with the thirty-four municipalities Community of Riviera, commonly referred to by the nickname “Magnificent Motherland,” which was under the protectorate of Venice from 1336 to 1349, then ruled by the Visconti of Milan and from 1426 the Republic of Venice.

In 1377 Beatrice della Scala, wife of Bernabò Visconti, wanted Salò capital of the Magnificent Motherland (and that the city remained until the end of the Venetian Republic in 1797). That is why She ordered the building of solid walls, built a castle, which today unfortunately nothing remains. The General Council of the Land and the other institutions linked to it were then based in Salò. Even the rector sent from Venice in this province always resided in Salò with just the title of “Superintendent of Salò” and “Captain of Riviera”. Civil justice was assigned to the mayor of Brescia, which also had its headquarters in Salò. From the beginning, Salò based its economic on trades and businesses, although among the crafts had a significant importance is the whiteness of the linen, which was exported across Europe. On 1 st of January 1797 the Provisional Government established the brescian canton Benàco with capital in Benaco , even called Salò (this name was retained for a short time). After the Napoleonic period, Salò was part of the Austrian Kingdom of Lombardy and Veneto from 1815 to 1859. Salò was awarded with the title of City in 1860, after the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia and before the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. From the late nineteenth century, it began the great development of tourism in the city, which is still the primary sector of its economy. From September 1943 to April 1945, while World War II raged, Salò took on the status of the capital of Italy, although Italy divided in half. In October 1943 it was born between Salò and Gargnano the Italian Social Republic, also known as the “Republic of Salò”, the last attempt of Benito Mussolini to reorganize the fascist party.


There are items from the Bronze Age (2000-1800 BC) . It is possible, in the morainic amphitheater Benacense human settlements, identify the presence of the so-called “Culture of Polada.”

Between the first and the second century A.D. the lake shores were elected as the country seat of many wealthy Romans, as evidenced by the villa discovered in Desenzano in 1921 on the place where it was located the ancient Via Emilia (Emilia Route) linking Brescia to Verona. During the Lombard period, Desenzano was part of a district that stretched from the southern shores of the lake until the campaigns of Mantua (Mantova).

The Pieve of Desenzano, one of the first Christian churches in the Garda area, at the beginning dependent on Verona, passed under the civil jurisdiction of Brescia in 1192, and in 1220 it became a fief of the Confalonieri family. Around 1170 Niceta these places the Cathar heresy: Sirmione and Desenzano, which had also a Cathar theologian and bishop, became centers of this worship till the Inquisition in 1276. In the struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines, the latter found refuge in the castle of Desenzano but were eventually overwhelmed. From 1426 (ruling of Venice) Desenzano entered the “Magnificent Motherland” and became an important commercial center, mainly due to its grain market and cultural reaches. In 1449 it were already held public teachings in Desenzano, and even an Academy was founded in 1500. During the French invasion of the League of Cambrai, Desenzano refused to yield to the Cardinal d'Amboise and put itself under the protection of Mantua. Eventually it had to submit itself to Louis XII. From 1512 to 1516 there were looting by German troops. During the century other misfortunes damage the city: plindering of mercenaries and the plague of 1567. In 1772, Desenzano was able to obtain, after nearly 350 years of conflict, independence from Salò. Following the Jacobin revolution of 1797 became the seat of the Department of Benaco. With the Restoration, under the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia Desenzano town was elevated to first-class municipality in 1816. In 1821 it received the visits of the Austrian Emperor Francis I.

In 1859 the Battle of Solferino and San Martino (Napoleon III and Victor Emmanuel II against the Austro-Hungarians), saw the birth of the Red Cross by Henry Dunant (the Museum is unique in the world, located a few kilometers from Desenzano in the village of Castiglione delle Stiviere). This gave the opportunity to Desenzano to create a large hospital.

The tourist or a resident finds it easy to trace the crucial moments in the history of this lovely town. It can be just enough to turn our gaze on some buildings, monuments and archaeological sites, which still remind us of the life of the past.

We could begin our tour getting through the eastern gate of the ancient village. A few steps from the lake, in what was the cloister of S. Maria de Senioribus is located the Archaeological Museum, whose visit allows us to trace the origins. It is named after John Rambotti, scholar to whom we owe the discovery of the prehistoric settlement of Polada culture (2000 BC). Here you can find what it considered the “jewel” of the entire archaeological exhibition: the world's oldest wooden plow, dating back to about 2000 BC, extracted in good condition in the area of ​​Lavagnone (south Desenzano), thanks to the environment without oxygen, characteristic of peatlands, where it was found.


If we continue along the lake towards the western part of the historic center, near the lake, on a visit to the archaeological complex of Roman Villa, whose owner “Decentius” would most likely gave the name to our city. The remains of the villa back to different periods between the end of the Republican period (first century BC) and the end of the Imperial period (V sec. DC). It extends itself for about one hectare, representing the most important witness in Northern Italy of a large, late-Roman villa. It is undoubtedly a complex building of large extent, residential alternated with rustic structures. The large villa was overlooking the lake: this had to be the determining factor in the distribution of different environments, designed to allow multiple points of view towards the lake. The main routes of the villa were arranged in sequence from the lake to the inside and oriented at right angles to the shore. The villa had doubtless its offshoots on the lake, formed by piers and docks and perhaps pools (piscinae) for fish farming. The Villa was designed to permit the complete enjoyment and exploitation of the lake environment. Observing the mosaic floors depicting various scenes of pagan character, you will be enraptured by their beauty and variety of colors of the mosaic stones.


The Roman Age ended with the Germanic and Eastern invasion, which contributed mainly to the destruction of the villa. To cope with the looting and destruction, around the tenth century it was built the Castle, situated on the top of the hill overlooking the harbor and a large part of the surrounding area on the foundations of a Roman “castrum”, having a quadrangular shape. The interior part of the building was occupied by a real small town with its streets, the square, the bell tower, and its church dedicated to St. Ambrose. Of this structure today remains only the defensive rampart and a building used as a military barracks (built in 1883).

Walking down the street castle we end up in the central square of the town of Desenzano: Piazza Malvezzi. Here everything speaks about the Venetian rule. In this square for centuries it took place before every Monday and then each Tuesday what it was considered the most important corn market in Lombardy, under the strictest control of the Venetian authorities.

The economy of Desenzano, the square was closely connected with the port, now called “old”, created in the late fifteenth century with the carry-over of huge masses of rocks and stones. Some buildings rose for residential use with roomy warehouses for the storage of grain. This large and fortified port was able to accommodate the merchant boats from the northern part of the Riviera carrying olive oil, citrus fruits, wine, wool cloth, and coming back with the ships loaded of grain.

To the south of the harbor, about half of the arcades, makes a fine show the unfinished Palace of the superintendent, overlooking the main square, next to the beginning of Via Castello, a testimony of the conflict that arose between five villages of the coast (Desenzano , Rivoltella, Padenghe, Pozzolengo and Bedizzole) and Salò. They asked on several occasions between 1532 and 1588 to be released from the jurisdiction of the Salodians and to obtain their own independency. For this reason the community of Desenzano commissioned the project mentioned above to the architect Todeschini and began working on construction. But the Venetian Senate did not agree, and the building was never completed, remaining mutilated of the third arch.

During the second half of the sixteenth century, Desenzano put its hand to the construction of “granarolo”, a large porch that surrounds it on two sides of a series of warehouses, overlooking the harbor, and where, the upper one, would have to be the “House of the City,” which instead it was never built. This project was made by Todeschini, and corresponds to today's Palazzo del Turismo (Palace of Turism).

The Venetian domination ended with the Napoleonic invasion of 1796 . On May 20 of that year 1797, the local Jacobins pulled down the statue of the Beata Angela Merici, raised in the middle of the main square in 1782, and to the local Church. In its place they placed “the tree of liberty”, that was nothing more than a pole painted with the French national colors, surmounted by a Phrygian cap, a symbol of the revolution. However, the statue of Beata Angela Merici was put back in place three years later, on 1 May 1800, when the Austrians, taking advantage of the absence of Napoleon Bonaparte, occupied during the Egyptian campaign, reconquered all the territory of the former Venetian.

An other historically important place is San Martino, a village south of the territory of the Municipality of Desenzano. The French troops gave their tribute of blood to the independence of our country. The tower over 65 meters high that was erected in 1893 reminds us that tragic day on 24th June 1859, where for 15 hours (from six in the morning until nine at night) clashed Franco-piedmontese armies on the one hand and the Austrian on other side. The battle was extremely bloody and the cost in human life more than 25,000 soldiers. 15,000 were wounded.

Today, if on a clear day you go up the tower, it offers a fascinating view: the lake, the mountains that surround the sides, the moraine hills cultivated with vineyards and olive trees, and the plains seem to embrace each other with an unforgettable effect.

Limone sul Garda

Thirty-four years after the discovery in the blood of a citizen of Limone sul Garda of a molecule can dissolve fat from the arteries, is now studying a drug that would exploit its potential. In 1979, a railway employee of the State, a native of Limone sul Garda, a small country with less than a thousand inhabitants on the western shore of Lake Garda, but living in Milan for over 20 years, was admitted to hospital for tests and examinations routine. The doctors are amazed at the results of the analysis, since the patient has cholesterol and triglycerides with very high values, but can enjoy perfect health and no damage detectable coronary artery disease. This curious about the whole scientific community and Prof. Cesare Sirtori, director of the Chair of Chemotherapy, University of Milan and Director of the Center Paletti in Niguarda Hospital. He discovers the patient's blood along with the father and the daughter, had an abnormal protein , called Apolipoprotein A-1 Milan. This discovery was considered the “elixir of life”. It has been discovered the presence of the protein in the blood of about fifty inhabitants of Limone sul Garda. The protein is able to dissolve the plaques in the coronary arteries caused by cholesterol, responsible for atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke, the primary cause of death worldwide, with similar efficacy in dissolving thrombi. It has anti-inflammatory properties and repairs vascular lesions. The fat of the arteries are dissolved and conveyed to the liver, which then receive instructs to delete them. The current problem 'that the drug derived from' A-1 Milano 'and' product of biotechnology difficult to produce because of the high costs.


The peculiarity of the residents could have genetic origins environmental and food, attributable to the unique climatic conditions and a healthy Mediterranean diet, based on fish from the lake, citrus and extra virgin olive oil. Due to the geographical isolation of Limone del Garda, the protein has been able to pass on from generation to generation to the inhabitants, from the first pair of carriers in 1700 to date and the number of actual carriers is estimated today at around 40.

Riva del Garda

The earliest records show that safe Riva (Ripa) was united in Roman times to the Municipium of Brescia. About the pre-Roman period, in spite of the significant findings, no one knows for sure how and when the town and its people even if they were to Rhaetian origin or Gallic. Etruscan influence, probably coming from the Po Valley after the fall of the Gallic tribes through the valleys of Lombardy, influenced the future of the city. Important excavations in the vicinity of Monte San Martino (or Moon) are bringing to light a village-shrine fortified during pre-Roman and Roman times. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Riva suffers the domination of the Goths, Lombards and Franks, then it finishes to be under the sphere of influence of the Prince Bishop of Trento. The following stages of domination are: Scaliger of Verona, Visconti, Venetian, interspersed with periods of domination of the Prince Bishop of Trento. From the seventeenth century Riva del Garda will be uninterrupted part of the Prince Bishop of Trento, Trentino accompanying the fortunes of the Napoleonic rule to the Habsburg until the union to Italy in 1918.



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Thanks to its natural position, the peninsula of Sirmione was privileged place for settlements since ancient times. It still maintains many vestiges of its long and uninterrupted history, with a density that is rarely found in other towns. The oldest evidence of human presence dating back to the early Neolithic (second half of the sixth and fifth millennium BC). During the Bronze Age (III-II millennium BC) dwellings are documented along the banks of the lake (Maraschina, port of Galeazzi, San Francesco), but finds blocks of the same period also occurred in some parts of town (“Caves of Catullus, “lido Delle Bionde, via Antiche Mura, gardens at St. Salvatore).

Like other areas of the lake, from the first century BC the tip of the peninsula becomes to be a place of residence chosen by rich families in Verona, including that of Valeri. It belonged to the poet Catullus (87-54 BC), who sangs the beauty of Sirmione and the house that had here.

At the end of the first century BC - early first century A.D. date back to the two great Roman villas, one known as “caves of Catullo” and that found in recent years between Mosaics square-Via Vittorio Emanuele-Via Antiche Mura. At the base of the peninsula ran a road that connected the Roman cities of Verona and Brescia at Sirmione, probably in the area of ​​Lugana Vecchia. It was a stopping place for travelers, the Sermionese monsio, documented in the Itinerary Antonio (third century AD).

In late Roman (IV-VI century AD) Sirmione became a fortified area of ​​control of the lower lake: it is built a wall of defense along the peninsula A small inhabited center is established within the fortified walls. Even in the Lombard period, starting from the last quarter of the sixth century, there is a settlement documented by the remains of huts and a necropolis.

The district Sirmionese loses its autonomy with Charlemagne, but Sirmione continues to maintain even after a privileged relationship with the rulers, getting special exemptions.

In the thirteenth century Sirmione became one of the points of the system of fortification with the construction of the Scaliger Castle by probably Mastino I della Scala. During the same period it becomes a refuge for the Patarini, a group of heretics, then condemned to the stake in Verona (1278). The function of control and defense, taken in late Roman, will continue until the sixteenth century, when in the role of fortified center of the lower lake is replaced by Peschiera. The castle will remain in use of the military garrison until the mid-nineteenth century.

Sirmione is located in a strategically important position between the plain and the southern part of the lake, a territory of the Scala seigniory and then, from the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Venetian Republic. It will be linked to Venice until its fall in 1797.

In the nineteenth century the population was dedicated to inland fishing and agriculture, with crops typical of the area, the olive, the vine, the mulberry tree. The development of mass tourism and the consequent large urban transformation of the area dates back to World War II. This phenomenon has been incentivised significantly by the presence of sulfur waters, known for its healing power.


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