Peschiera del Garda is a municipality included in the province of Verona which has just over 10 thousand residents. It is the westernmost municipality of Veneto, and its territory is on the border with the Lombard provinces of Mantua and Brescia. It rises about 9 kilometers from our Hotel in Lazise and overlooks the southern shore of Lake Garda, where the main effluent river of the lake Mincio basin flows. It is Peschiera del Garda from where a long bike path of over 43 kilometers starts, which connects the village to Mantua and runs along the Mincio for most of the way, crossing a wonderful natural environment, a destination perfect for tourists and cycle-lovers.

What to do in Peschiera

In Peschiera, you can try out a large number of water sports, including sailing, rowing, water skiing, swimming, and windsurfing. On the long cycle path that develops around the town and along the banks of the Mincio, one can also to engage in running or cycling. There is the Cavour Water Park available for nature and water lovers, one of the most beautiful and organized in Italy, while for shopping enthusiasts, there is a wide selection of shops, as well as malls and shopping centers. Obviously, Peschiera isn’t only about the entertainment of this kind, there are also the architectural beauties abound, including the Venetian walls from the 16th century, which today house Piazza Betteloni, a few meters from the marina. Since 2017 the walls have become a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside the adjacent clearing, it is recommended to visit the Military Museum located in the old building of the Presidium Command. In Piazza Ferdinando di Savoia, also known as Piazza d’Armi, there is the parish church of San Martino and the Military Prison. Finally, it is necessary to emphasize that beach lovers in Peschiera can find everything they want. To welcome them, in fact, there are a series of pretty pebble and sand beaches and even seaside resorts that welcome dogs, such as the Braccobaldo Bau Beach.

What to see in Peschiera

The church of San Martino is one of the oldest in the town, considering that the first evidence of its presence in the town dates back to 1008. In 1145, Pope Eugene III wrote down his name in an official seal. The present church, however, is a remake of the Napoleonic era, built between 1820 and 1822. The frescoes visible inside it are the work of the painter Severino Saoncella and date back to 1937. The most important and best preserved religious building in Peschiera is undoubtedly the sanctuary of the Madonna del Frassino, a church in which the statue bearing the name of the church is adored, miraculously appeared on 11 May 1510 in the branches of a tree a few meters from the structure. The entrance to the sanctuary is located through a wide path bordered on both sides by two rows of cypresses. The beautiful external façade has a portal protected by a roof resting on four small columns from which the three arches rise with cross vaults. The rosette with polychrome glass is also interesting. The interior of the church has a single nave and ten side chapels, two of which are larger, namely the one dedicated to San Francesco d’Assisi and the one dedicated to the Madonna del Frassino. On the right side of the church, there is a small cemetery area reserved for Franciscan monks, as well as space where the miracle originated, located near the corridor that leads to the frescoed cloisters. The paintings presented there were made in 1653 by Muttoni and depict scenes from the life of Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint Francis of Assisi: inside the cloisters, there are also more recent paintings dating back to the 19th century and attributed to Salesio Pegrassi, which tells the story of the sanctuary and the myth of its origins.

A few minutes from Peschiera, there are numerous picturesque villages, all perfect for a day trip, including Solferino, Borghetto and the Tower of San Martino.

The history of Peschiera del Garda

Peschiera del Garda is undoubtedly one of the most characteristic towns of the lake of the same name: it is almost entirely surrounded by canals and its picturesque old town is bordered by a curtain wall dating back to the 16th century. The first settlements date back to the Bronze Age, while later, in Roman times, Peschiera became an important center thanks to connections to Mantua, Bergamo, Brescia, and Verona. In fact, Peschiera stood right on the Via delle Gallie and this meant that its importance grew in relation to this important communication artery. A legend says that just near Peschiera, Pope Leo I in 492 managed to dissuade Attila from continuing his campaign of conquest to the south. In the Middle Ages, Verona quickly extended its domination to the shores of the lake, including in its territories the village of Peschiera, which at that time was of considerable importance as it was a strategic commercial hub, as well as a safe harbor on the shores of the lake. To inaugurate the massive fortification that surrounded Peschiera was Mastino della Scala, who wanted the construction of the Rocca built on a group of pre-existing Romanesque buildings. In 1439, Peschiera del Garda became a possession of the Republic of Venice. After some restorations and renovations by the Venetians, in 1549 the fortress assumed its present form, remaining almost unchanged until the center passed into the hands of the French, the day after the fall of the Serenissima. During the French domination (the first fifteen years of the nineteenth century) the fortress assumed a new defensive role, becoming one of the focal points in the crown-shaped defensive system created around the town that for its importance was reproduced in the maps present in the gallery of the geographical maps of the Vatican Museums. The project, however, was only partially implemented, and still today the Napoleonic forts (or what remains of them) built to make the area secure, remain among the countryside around Peschiera: among them, the best preserved are Forte Salvi, which stands on the road leading to Brescia and Forte Mandella, located towards Verona. In 1815, the French were replaced by Austrians who were determined to complete many of the works inaugurated by Napoleon. There are 14 forts built by the Austrians during the nineteenth century: all these buildings had to compose the so-called “entrenched camp with detached forts”, strongly desired by Radetzky. The population growth of Peschiera underwent a strong increase in the aftermath of the construction of the railway, completed in 1854: it was precisely the Austrians who built the railway bridge over the Mincio, a magnificent military work that confirmed Peschiera’s strategic importance in military actions in the area. With the birth of the Kingdom of Italy, the military importance of the village began to diminish, causing the parallel demolition of multiple works. The most striking example was the elimination of numerous forts outside the city walls: today, in fact, only seven of the fifteen original forts are preserved. The current structure of Peschiera del Garda is characterized by a system of canals that surround the original urban core and which, after having enveloped the center, flow into the bed of the river Mincio, which flows towards the south. All the sewer system still visible is a part of the ancient defensive structure built first by the Scaligeri and then improved by the Venetians and the French. This complicated system of canals and walls made Peschiera almost unassailable city and the grandeur of the project makes it distinctive from all the other towns overlooking the lake. Currently, most of the external walls can be visited freely.

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