Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the Largest Lake in Italy and covers an area of 143 sq miles. It is a popular holiday resort in Northern Italy. From top to toe Lake Garda measures thirty miles about six miles shorter than Lake Maggiore. The lake is situated approximately half way between Brescia and Verona and between Milan on the edge of the Dolomites and Venice. Lake Garda’s shoreline measures some seventy seven miles. The lake has a maximum depth of 1,131ft, and at its deepest is some 919 ft below sea level.

Glaciers formed this alpine region at the end of the last Ice Age. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the provinces of Verona (to the south-east), Brescia (south-west), and Trentino (north). The name Garda can be traced back to documents dating back to the eighth century and comes from the town of the same name.

The northern part of the lake is much narrower and is surrounded by mountains, the majority of which belong to the Gruppo del Baldo. The shape is typical of a moraine valley, probably having been formed under the action of a Paleolithic glacier. 

The particularly mild climate favours the growth of some Mediterranean plants, including the olive tree. Lemon trees can also be found, which are extremely rare at this latitude. This favoured the development of tourism since the end of the Second World War. In ancient times, poets like Catullus wrote about "Lacus Benacus" with its mild climate vivified by the winds. The lake is oriented from north to south towards the Po Valley, so many winds typical of the lake are the result of a difference between lower and higher altitude temperatures. Due to this, winds come down from the mountains to the plains in the morning and go back to the mountains in the afternoon. 

There are several main towns around the lake. At the southern end of the lake lies the ancient fortified town of Sirmione, a popular holiday destination, home to the Virgilio & Catullo Spa Complexes, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, hotels, fashion stores and a market. The picturesque Scaliger castle dates from the 13th century. The Roman poet Catullus had a villa here, and visitors can see a ruined Roman spa named the Grotte di Catullo (Grottoes of Catullus) although there is no evidence linking him to this particular building. The sulphur springs at the tip of the peninsula have a reputation for healing certain health conditions. Another popular town is the town of Garda. Garda is approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the more popular town of Verona. Garda's economy revolves around tourism.  At the northern end of the lake, the towns of Riva and Torbole are famous for water sports including sailing, windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Click on the photographs below to open the respective gallery.

Around the Grand Hotel
Isle of Garda
Il Vittoriale
Heller Gardens
The Dolomites
Limone sul Garda
Riva del Garda
Inside the Grand Hotel Gardone