In July, I went to visit a friend near Lake Garda. He told me that a dream life would be one where he can marry and raise his children on this lake. After seeing it in person, I believe that this would be a dream. The lake is surrounded by colorful buildings, pink flowers, and blue skies. The food is impeccable and freshly made in the area.
Can you tell I'm missing the summer sun yet?
Lake Garda is situated at the foot of the Alps in northeast Italy. The lake is huge, in fact, the biggest in all of Italy. It's near Verona, but with so many German and Austrian tourists, it seemed to be closer to Germany.
My friend and I had a plan: we were going to walk the entire southern curve of the lake, beginning in the morning in Bardolino and ending in Peschiera del Garda. The atmosphere was pleasant and it seemed that everyone had an overall sense of contentedness. During our walk, we stopped for a drink. Then, a gelato. And lunch. And another gelato. Italians have a knack for buying you gifts before you even realize they purchased it. Trust me, I did not need a second large gelato in one day.
Bardolino - To Do:
Eat: pizza from Pizzeria Bardolino - sit on the terrace outside. Also try some olive oil, produced locally and some of the best in the world. My friend drinks a shot glass of olive oil each morning.
Drink: There is a wine route organized by the Bardolino Wine Consortium to pass through localities of Cavaion, Bussolengo, Castelnouvo, Cisano, and Lazise, where wine is produced. This region of Italy was noticeably fertile and full of vineyards.
Attend: a wine festival. In late September, there is the Festa dell’Uva, with wine tastings, fireworks and outdoor concerts. In late May, there is the Chiaretto Wine Festival, which celebrates one of the areas most renoun wines, a rosé called Bardolino Chiaretto DOC. In November, it is possible to attend the Novello Wine Festival where you can enjoy fresh bruschetta and almond biscuits along with a variety of wines.
The next day, we woke up early and had plans of taking a boat from Bardolino to Sirmione, in the region of Lombardia. Gestione Navigazione Laghi is a public ferry service which transported us to our destination is about 30 minutes to get there from Bardolino. This water isn't as calm as it looks! Our boat almost capsized, but we all managed to arrive safely.
The town of Sirmione is perched on a long peninsula in the middle of the lake. It has Bronze Age origins from the 18th-16th century B.C. Due to its location, it became a strategic military post in the 15th century, and the Scaligeri family built a castle upon its Roman foundations.
Lake Garda is the less touristy version of Lake Como. Nonetheless, it is not undiscovered. German tourists flock here in the summer. Villages around the lake cater to different tastes. Some are more kid friendly, some are great for people walking their dogs, others still are good for gelato and some have better "beaches."
If you're in the Veneto region (that includes Venice) during the spring, summer, or fall, make some time to visit at least one village on Lake Garda. I promise it will be worth the trip.