Garda: stop on your journey you can’t miss
Garda, a town located on the Verona shores of the lake of the same name, has been awarded the title of a pearl of the Riviera degli Ulivi for its position overlooking one of the most beautiful bays of the lake coast. The town rises in the center of this marvelous gulf that stretches out to give life to a peninsula that embraces Punta San Vigilio and the Baia delle Sirene.
The beauty of this village is impressive. Admiring the waters of the lake in front of us the mind revives, suddenly a sense of lightness pervades us and the time seems to stop. Wandering through its streets, it seems that the curiosity grows and leads us to explore the new views and limits. The lights here repaint the landscape every hour, changing their perception. Retracing the places of daytime walks at the end of the day at sunset will seem to be in a new scenario.
The atmosphere is jovial. Every Friday the square market will invite you to discover the authentic flavors of biologically cultivated local products.
Cultural visits, panoramic walks, naturalistic excursions, events and the possibility of practicing different sports are all more than valid reasons to include a day dedicated to the discovery of this lively resort in the lake coast in your schedule. History, art, nature: these are the levers that move tourist flows from all over the world attracted by the particular beauty of the eastern region of the lake.
The history of Garda has its roots in a glorious past that still lives on through the elegant palaces, ancient churches and sumptuous villas that draw the contours of this precious village with a romantic charm. These are architectural complexes that wind along a historic center that appears to the visitor’s eyes like a treasure chest.
One of the oldest areas is the Pieve di Garda built in honor of Santa Maria Assunta and whose celebrations take place every year on August 15th. The first document attesting to the origins of this church dates back to the 12th century, although some elements reveal that it was built at a later time. Partially destroyed during an earthquake, the Pieve has been the subject of restoration works at the behest of the Cultural Superintendency, which has the merit of having restored prestige to this sacred place that represents an important page in the history of the population of Garda. The monastery dating back to the 15th century, the vicarial house and the loggia are the remains of the original structure. Also, some inscriptions with Gothic characters and headstones of the Carolingian ciborium withstood the weather.
Inside of the highly important chapel of the fallen of all wars dedicated to the Madonna della Pace, there is a fresco dating back to the fifteenth century depicting a recurring subject in the pictorial works of the place, Madonna with Child.
Walking along the left aisle, once reserved exclusively for women, you reach the foot of a sculpture depicting Jesus Christ crucified. Recent restoration works have brought back to life the ancient polychromy of Christ for a long time remained hidden under a dark tint that was ennobling the wooden work making it believe that it was in bronze.
Surrounded by the religious buildings, a place much loved by the believers, there is the Parish of Santa Maria Maggiore, built in the 18th century over the ruins of a previous religious building. Its 15th-century bell tower is remarkable.
The Clock Tower is the gateway to the ancient village of Garda, where the Palazzo Fregoso stands. Built at the behest of a noble family from the region, it was built in the 16th century. Authoritative sources attest that the idea from which the story of Romeo and Juliet originated was born here.
The Palace of the Captains of Garda is worthy of an in-depth visit, it is named so because it housed the Captain of Lake Garda, a magistrate who represented the authority of the government of the Serenissima on Lake Garda in charge of fighting the contraband and maintaining order. The palace of clear Gothic-Venetian style was built at the turn of the 14th-15th centuries located slowly descending directly to the lake. The remains of the rings on the wall below the portico where the boats were anchored bear witness to this and show that today’s square was built at a later time.
Among the villas that rise in Garda, on the road that leads from the town to San Vigilio, Villa Degli Albertini is one of the most representative for the elegance of its lines and because it is immersed in a magnificent green park enclosed by battlements dating back to the sixteenth century, when it was commissioned by the Becelli family of feudatories. Purchased by the counts Degli Albertini in the 18th century, it was subsequently the subject of restoration works that gave it its present appearance reminiscent of a medieval castle. During the first War of Independence, it is said that it gave shelter to King Carlo Alberto. Along a path that smells of magnolia blossoms, one reaches the small church dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo and the surrounding park, a series of avenues, caves with waterfalls, gushing fountains, towers, glades, small temples and a viewing deck where you can enjoy a suggestive panoramic view.
During your excursion to Garda, you cannot miss Punta San Vigilio, the small peninsula of Garda and one of the most symbolic places of the authentic charm of this area where Villa Guarienti stands, to which San Vigilio owes its fame. Built in the 16th century by the Venetian lawyer Agostino Brenzoni, the villa was born as a holiday and getaway place. Villa San Vigilio has a private beach. By booking in advance you can enjoy a heavenly setting overlooking the natural bay of Baia delle Sirene, relaxing on a green lawn in the shade of olive trees.
Regarding the villas, one of the most beautiful is the Villa Canossa, since it is a private villa, one can admire it only beyond the lake, from afar and reflected on the water. The villa is said to have been the guardian of the secrets, conspiracies, and torments of Countess Alessandra di Rudinì, a descendant of the Sicilian princes Paternò. Beautiful, cultured and passionate, widowed at the age of 23, she embarked on a dissolute relationship with Gabriele D’Annunzio with whom she lived crazy and rebellious days, so much that her father decided to disinherit her. The story with the well-known poet ended badly, resulting in a history of 147 letters purchased later by the Vittoriale Foundation. Judged harshly by the society of the time, alone and embittered she took her vows at 35 and died in a convent in France.