Peschiera del Garda is a town in the province of Verona, in Veneto, overlooking the southernmost shore of Lake Garda. Its territory borders the provinces of Brescia and Mantua. This town is one of the most famous locations on Lake Garda and is easily reachable not only by car but also by train, from Milan or Verona. It is a perfect destination for a small trip out of town, even for just one day. The climate of Peschiera is, like all of Lake Garda, mild even in winter, which is why it is also a destination for short weekends. There are many things to see in Peschiera del Garda, especially those relating to its past, but there are also many natural and leisure attractions.
It seems that the first human settlement of Peschiera del Garda dates back to the Bronze Age, but certainly, in 1500 BC this area was inhabited by the Gauls. Only in the first century BC it becomes a settlement and possession of the Romans, who give it the name of “Arilica”. Always an important and strategic commercial hub, in the period from 1300 to 1400 it passed under the government of the Visconti, the Gonzagas and finally the Sforza family. In 1500 it became part of the famous “Quadrilateral”, the defensive system put into practice by the Austrians, together with Verona, Mantua, and Legnano. It is still possible to visit its fortress, a stronghold of numerous battles.
Historic Center Walking Tour
The visit to Peschiera del Garda can start from its beautiful historic center. Peschiera del Garda is a small Venice, romantic and silent, painted by beautiful canals surmounted by bridges, which in turn lead to cheerful squares intersected with characteristic streets. Among the alleys of its ramparts, you will find a myriad of small shops and restaurants, as well as beautiful historic buildings, squares, churches, and imposing military structures.
Fortress of Peschiera del Garda
The Fortress of Peschiera del Garda (Rocca) is a small architectural jewel, enclosed in an imposing pentagonal wall, dating back to the sixteenth century, with beautiful ramparts and impressive access doors. Its rock, shaped like a five-pointed star, is completely surrounded by water. An impregnable fortress that made Peschiera a strategic place for military defense and for trade both during the Republic of Venice and during the Austrian dominion. Today this beautiful fortress has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List together with all the other defensive fortresses built by the government of Venice between the 15th and 16th centuries.
One of the most evocative areas of the town is the pedestrian bridge, which crosses the external canal of the fortress. Porta Brescia, the western entrance to the ancient fortress, is also very interesting and worth a visit. Just above Porta Brescia, an ancient patrol walkway joins the Tognon and Feltrin ramparts: it is possible to walk along with it and it will allow you to admire the entire fortress from above, discovering glimpses that otherwise, you would not be able to appreciate.
Once inside the fortress, you arrive at the Tognon bastion and Piazza Betteloni, right on the small harbor from which the boats depart for trips on the lake and to reach the other towns of Lake Garda. Continuing on, you arrive at the Querini bastion and in front of it is the old Command Building of the fortress, more commonly known as the Historic Building. The beautiful Catullo park surrounds the neoclassical building, which is also the seat of the Military Museum.
Just outside Porta Verona is the San Marco bastion and, right in front of it, is the Artillery barracks. The great arsenal, built between 1854 and 1857 by Radetzky in the stronghold of Peschiera, is home to the Historical Archive and the Civic Library, with spaces for consultation and reading and also hosts theatrical and musical performances and spaces for exhibitions.
Returning towards Porta Brescia, you arrive at the large Piazza Ferdinando di Savoia square (Piazza d’Armi), near the Cantarane bastion. On the square are the military prison and the parish church of San Martino.
Arriving in Piazza D’Armi, you can walk on the sixteenth-century Voltoni bridge, with its beautiful terracotta arches, overlooking the Mezzo canal, where the boats of the fishermen of Peschiera del Garda stop in order. The 5 terracotta arches in which the river Mincio flows underneath, are the most characteristic symbol of the town. Built-in 1556 to connect the two “islands” that make up the town, today the net for the capture of eels that took place in October in previous centuries is still present. Equally pleasant is the walk outside the walls, from where you can admire the suggestive play of water, lights and colors that surrounds the town, between the banks of the river and the ramparts.
In July, the Festival of Musical Bands takes place in Peschiera del Garda, while in August there is the feast of San Benedetto with fireworks from the Voltoni bridge.
You can then admire breathtaking landscapes on the largest lake in Italy from the beautiful nature walk that, starting from the Mazzini lakefront, runs along the coast until you reach the small port “Bergamini” and the small port “Fornaci”, for a length of about three kilometers. Other relaxing walks can be taken along the Mezzo canal, where the fishing boats are moored. Another possibility is to take advantage of the cycle paths that start from Peschiera: they are also excellent for those who prefer to go on foot rather than pedal by bike.
Madonna del Frassino Sanctuary
The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Frassino is another of the things to see in Peschiera del Garda. It is a Renaissance-style building built at the beginning of the sixteenth century following a Marian apparition. In fact, it is said that in 1510 the Virgin saved the life of a farmer bitten by a snake. Inside you will find 10 frescoed chapels and an 18th century organ.
Because Peschiera del Garda is a town overlooking the lake, where there are beautiful and characteristic beaches that deserve a little stop. The beach of the Cappuccini is for example one of these, located at the end of via Risorgimento. In Peschiera del Garda there is also one of the first beaches born in Italy to welcome dogs: Braccobaldo Bau Beach. Here there are many water sports available for tourists: sailing, water skiing, swimming rowing, windsurfing. You will find schools, rentals and other useful services for having fun on the lake.
Cycling around Peschiera Del Garda
You can also cycle along the Mincio river towards Mantua in an itinerary that touches the town of Valeggio sul Mincio and then continues towards Custoza. It is a path that leads from Peschiera to the hills where the famous “Custoza” wine is produced. The area is also famous for the important battles fought in the Risorgimento period. The overall length of the ring is about 55 km. If, on the other hand, you want a shorter route, point your bike towards the north, towards Bardolino. This town is located just 15 km from Peschiera and can be reached by cycling among dirt roads and paved roads with little traffic on an entirely flat area. There are also 43 km of cycle path that goes from Peschiera to Mantua, along the Mincio river.
Walking/Hiking Around Peschiera del Garda
For those who love trekking in the mountains, you can reach the town of Malcesine (about 50 km away) and from there take the cable car to Monte Baldo, a mountain that is over 2000 meters high. As soon as you leave the cable car you can choose from numerous trails of varying difficulty.
A little less than 1 km from the historic center of Peschiera, there is a lake of the ice age: Frassino lake. Although it is not a large lake given its size (700 m long and 380 wide), it is nevertheless classified as a biotype of European significance. This is due both to the variety present at the faunal level and at the floral level. In fact, there are 160 species of birds including the purple heron, ducks, nightingales, cormorants, seagulls. While on the floral side there is the very rare presence of wood with ancient willows and poplars that protects numerous endangered animals.
For shopping lovers, a few kilometers from Peschiera del Garda is the La Grande Mela Shopping Center and Cinema which offers 120 shops, cinemas and bowling alleys.
From Peschiera del Garda, boats leave for trips on Lake Garda. From the port, it is possible to embark also to visit other beautiful places near Peschiera, such as Desenzano, Sirmione, Salò, and the small and romantic town of Lazise. Or take the cruise to Riva del Garda.
Among the most famous attractions near Peschiera del Garda is “Gardaland”, one of the most famous amusement parks in Europe for its attractions and for the many events that are organized. The largest amusement park in Italy is only a few km away from the center of Peschiera del Garda. Adjacent to the amusement park is the “Sea Life”, an aquatic world where you can take beautiful educational tours to discover the most important aquatic animal species, such as jellyfish and sea lions. The other fun resort on Lake Garda is “CanevaWorld”, which includes the “Caneva Aquapark” water park with wave pools, swimming pools and other water games, and “Movieland”, a theme park with attractions inspired by Hollywood films. . A combined ticket is available for the two parks, but you can visit them separately. Inside the resort there is also “Medieval Times”, a rather atypical restaurant where diners become spectators of a medieval tournament.
The “Parco Natura Viva” zoological garden, just 10 km from Peschiera, is a family attraction suitable for animal lovers. It includes a wildlife area to visit on foot and a part of the zoo safari to be visited in your own car or on the park’s jeeps.
If during your holiday in Peschiera del Garda you find a day of bad weather, you can always take a dip in the warm water of “Aquardens”, the spas of Verona, which also welcome children with areas dedicated to games and entertainment.
Or you can visit the suggestive and imposing Fort Ardietti, an Austrian fort that rises on the border between the municipality of Peschiera del Garda and that of Ponti sul Mincio. Built between 1856 and 1861 on the architectural model of Fort San Michele in Verona, it is still fully preserved today and is in good condition. Here there are still eleven guns, twelve howitzers and two mortars. It is also an interesting place for children.
Peschiera del Garda Foods And Wine
Last but not least, what to eat when you are in Peschiera del Garda? The town, with its typical and characteristic places, represents a paradise for lovers of good food, who can choose from the numerous recipes proposed, letting themselves be conquered by the authenticity of the raw materials and the delicate flavor of dishes that take shape starting from products of the earth matured in the ideal climate of the lake. The area has landscape and cultural characteristics that influence food and wine traditions and for this reason, it offers typical products of the highest quality: from excellent wines, extra virgin olive oil D.O.P., liqueurs, truffles, citrus fruits, and lake fish. A typical product is extra virgin olive oil D.O.P., produced throughout the lake as it is particularly suitable for the growth of olive trees thanks to its mild climate with modest temperature variations. It is an oil obtained from the cold pressing of hand-picked olives, with a light and delicate taste with a low percentage of acidity, recognizable by the intense green color with golden reflections and a fruity scent.
On the hills around Peschiera del Garda, there are also vast vineyards, where fine wines are produced and appreciated all over the world. In particular, the wine made from it, protected by the D.O.C.mark, is a delicate, dry, and lively white wine that is perfectly suited to accompany fish-based dishes of the Garda gastronomic tradition. There are also other equally well-known wines and they are: Bardolino, a wine suitable for all occasions, Valpolicella, Amarone, Nosiola, Bianco di Custoza, Lugana, Garda and Vino Santo Trentino.