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Art Cafè •
Activities and Leisure
Upon booking you can a guided tour of the historic part of Garda.
Garda is located in a beautiful bay between the Rocca and San Vigilio and surrounded by gentle hills.
Once a small fishing village it has transformed into one of the main tourist attractions of Lake Garda and offers much to the holiday- maker in the way of shops, restaurants, cafè-bars and the weekly market (Friday). It still retains the atmosphere of days gone by with the architecture of the buildings in the ancient streets and in the fishing boats in the port and tradition plays an important part. Every year in August there is the famous “Palio delle Contrade”, a boat-race between the nine different areas of the town, namely : Antiche Mura, Spagna, Rosa, Piazza, Losa, Corsetto, Borgo, Porto and Pio.
For lovers of history a visit to the museum “Museo del Lago di Garda” is a must where exhibits include artifacts and old-fashioned tools used in the traditional workings of the land and the water.
From Benàco to Garda, the origin of the name of the lake
In conclusion we would like to tell you a little about the history of Garda.
There are many theories as to how Garda got its name but the most authentic seems to be that the origin comes from the German word “Warte”, that is “guard”- thus alluding to the fortress on top of the Rocca del garda built to defend Garda from the first Barbaric invasions. It was in this period too, around the VIII Century, that the lake was also named Garda.
The Rocca of Garda and the Hermitage of Saint George
The Rocca, a 300m rocky mount was home to a church dedicated to Saint Colombano and also of an ancient castle, home to Queen Adelaide in the 10th Century. Queen Adelaide succeded King Ottone I who was the Emperor of the sacred Roman Empire.
You can reach the Rocca on foot and still visit St. George’s Hermitage which was founded in the second half of the 17th Century on the site of the ancient church of St.George. The hermitage was abandoned in 1810 following the Napoleonic atrocities and was later inhabited by local peasants. From 1885 and still today the hermitage is home to the Camaldolesi Monks.
Garda and the surrounding area
Palaces and Villas
Palazzo Fregoso is located in one of the most picturesque corners of Garda and dates back to the XV century and is a fine example of the Venetian architecture of that period.
Palazzo dei Capitani, looking out over the Catullo Square was built in the gothic-Venetian style during two different periods of the XIV and XV centuries.
Palazzo Carlotti is located next to our Hotel Alla Torre *** and is a beautiful grand villa built by the Carlotti family in the XVI century. The Carlottis hailed from the Veronese nobility and were the feudal rulers over much of the Garda territory.
Villa Albertini can be found just by the port, from where the steamer boats dock, on the way to San Vigilio. The Villa was built in the second half of the XVI century and is surrounded by a beautiful enclosed garden. It also has a small chapel which is dedicated to Saint Charles and is opened just once a year on the Saint’s Day of 4th November. The Villa is noted for having harboured King Carlo Alberto during the crucial days of the First War of Independence.
ChurchesThe Parish Church of Saint Maria Assunta, Patron Saint of Garda, is situated on the main road in the area of town known as “Borgo”, on the original site of an ancient church that dated back to the same period as the Fort on top of the Rocca, the VIII Century. There is no trace now of the ancient church and the oldest parts of the church today are the cloisters and the rectory. The main body of the church and the bell-tower date back to the XVI century. Saint Stephen’s church (XVII century) was the ancient parish church of Garda and is located within a stone’s throw of our hotels . The small ancient church of Saint Bernard dates back to the 1400’s according to pastoral writings from that time and is situated in a solitary location in the area of the same name. The church of San Vigilio is located at the extreme end of this beautiful headland and its origin dates back to the 13th Century according to scriptures documented at that time. Later in the 1500’s the surrounding land came into the possession of Agostino Brenzoni who built the villa and landscaped the park and also re-built the church according to the architectural trends of that period. From the lake, when passing by boat, you can see a statue dedicated to Saint John Napomenico, patron saint of navigators, in a recess of the church.
Sport in Garda and the surrounding area
The area around Lake Garda is fantastic for so many sporting opportunities: cycling, running, walking (great for dog-lovers !),horse-riding, canoeing, canyoning, tandem paragliding, mountain-climbing and many more.
Here are some ideas:
Not just on foot...
Garda is an ideal spot from where to start exploring all the main tourist attractions that Lake Garda has to offer – or by taking a pleasant cruise on the lake one of the steamer boats (www.navigazionelaghi.it ) or by road on one of the local buses (www.atv.verona.it ).
The romantic city of Verona is just 30K away.
The beaches are located a short stroll along the lakefront in both directions and you can easily walk to the villages of Bardolino and Lazise to the south and beautiful San Vigilio to the north. San Vigilio, the pearl of Lake Garda is enchanting and definitely worth a visit.
An uphill walk takes you to Monte Luppia where you can enjoy the views and the beautiful countryside and where you can also see some prehistoric etchings.
Other walks in the area include the Rocca and the San Giorgio Hermitage and the Molini valley where spring water rushes down through the gorge and where old water-mills still stand.
Towards the top end of the lake you find the mighty Monte Baldo, locally known as the Garden of Europe due to the great number of different species of flora. Monte Baldo can be reached by cable car from Malcesine (www.funiviedelbaldo.it) and is the ideal location for lovers of trekking, horse-riding, mountain-biking and in the winter months , skiing. For lots more ideas have a look at the section dedicated to “SPORT IN GARDA AND THE SURROUNDING AREA”.
Winter in Garda
Why come in the winter ?
During the winter season you can dedicate your time to the wonderful walks described on the “Not just on foot...” page and also take a look at the attractions listed below:
GARDA CHRISTMAS MARKET
The Garda Christmas market along the lakefront is so magical with the little wooden Alpine shops and kiosks selling handmade decorations and delicious Christmas goodies to eat and drink. The life-size nativity scene in the park beside the lake is not to be missed and during the Christmas period there are shows and events for children and gastronomic delights for everyone !
EXHIBITION OF NATIVITY SCENES FROM AROUND THE WORLD in the Arena of Verona
What about a visit to: