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A tour of Lake Garda's western shores

If Quantum of Solace had chosen to film elsewhere, I might've never made the effort to visit Lake Garda. Two days and two nights only allowed us to scratch the surface, not nearly enough time to explore the high mountains with the dogs, or check out all of the Slow Food restaurants in this part of the region. Next time it'll have to be 5 days minimun - at least to find the very spot where that photo above was taken!

All of the towns along Lake Garda's western shores are very touristic, appealing greatly to german and dutch visitors. We chose to stay in Gargnano mainly because I was able to find a reasonably-priced hotel that allowed small pets, but also for the fact that Benito Mussolini (Italy's last dictator) spent his final days at Villa Feltrinelli which is located on a private stretch of beach in Gargnano. The luxury hotel is an historical building which has been restored with truly impeccable taste (you have to see the website) commanding upwards of 6265+ dollars a night in high season. I have to admit to being a bit curious, but those people are prepared for snooping paparazzi wannabes. All in all, Gargnano turned out to be a wise choice because of it's in-the-middle location, and because while it does cater to tourists, the layout of the town had a more intimate appeal. Riva del Garda was by far the most hectic, apparently home to a sizeable leisure boat community. The map below demonstrates the towns we visited, all of which are in order from Gavardo to Riva del Garda. The detour off of the main highway is the famous SP 38 that twists and turns up the mountain between Tignale and Tremosine.

- Gavardo
- Salò
- Gardone Riviera
- Gargnano
- SP 38 at midpoint
- SP 38 at the bottom of Tremosine
- Limone sul Garda
- Riva del Garda

SP 38's descent toward Tremosine narrows considerably, but only non-italian drivers get themselves in a mess like this.

Lemons and other citrus fruit trees grow abundantly at Lake Garda. A visit to a limonaia (lemon farm) is worth a visit for its cultural aspect.

Limone sul Garda.

Gated entrance to Villa Feltrinelli. Maybe one day...

It's not tiled with plain old cement, but gray-green granite. The towel girl must get paid beaucoup bucks...

The lemon farms are easy to spot, just look for a building like this. Only a few are open to the public.


wow what a great place to go...would be brilliant if you were able to go for longer :-)

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos :-)
Frizzy said…
We spent a wonderful day at Lake Garda a few years back. Absolutely beautiful area! Wish we had gone back to explore even more.
Anonymous said…
Ok, so I just added ANOTHER amazingly beautiful location to my list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing.
Anonymous said…
The citrus trees remind me of Panama...

Some of my family is from there (no I'm NOT Chinese, Zhu is just a nickname :D ). I wish I knew Italy better.
K and S said…
what an amazing place!
Rowena said…
Anne - I'm already in the planning stages. Love Como and Lecco but Garda is equally as gorgeous. It's just a shame that Daniel Craig doesn't have a villa there! ^-^

Frizzy - I wish we had the time to visit the gardens, the limonaie, taken the funivia from Malcesine up to the top of the mountain, and did more cafe lounging by the lakeside! We will just have to return.

Gyllendogs - be forewarned that Italy has too many of these places. I won't touch Venice because it's been overdone, but I still love the city.

Zhu, Kat - you know the weird thing about the citrus is that I thought they would only survive in someplace like Sicily, or anyway, southern Italy. Here at Lake Garda they flourish without any problems!
casalba said…
And there I was thinking you were going to the la-go di stickleback-da. (Never heard of a gar before.)
Rowena said…
Casalba - and I've never heard of a stickleback! Hmmm..will have to find out the italian name for that.
Rowena said…
Casalba - in Italy the sticklebacks (specifically the three-spined types) are called spinarello. What would do without the innernets?
Beautiful! Reminds me of my honeymoon. Thnaks for sharing.
Brad Farless said…
Those are some amazing photos and I love the way you described this area. I could totally live in a spot like this and be happy. The architecture and layout appeals to me, and I love how it's along the water. I miss Europe...
Rowena said…
Foodie - that's the best compliment ever! Between making people want to visit a place or bringing back wonderful memories, that's what picture-taking is all about. ;-)

Tales - one day perhaps! The big plus about Italy is the fine weather (when it's cooperating). You can't beat mediterranean climes for making you feel like you're always on vacation.
Henning aka sky#walker said…
I just had to read your excellent travelog again!
I'm very honored that you chose my photo of the old road to Pregasina for the cover picture :-)
Rowena said…
Henning - and I'm so happy to have found such an EXCELLENT shot from a fellow photographer that chose to share it. Everytime I see that in my fav's, it gives me goosepimples! Look forward to visiting next year, hopefully spring.

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