PLACESGarda Veneto


The town between the Rocca and Punta San Vigilio.

by Marco Ghirello

The town of Garda lies on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, between the towns of Torri del Benaco to the north and Bardolino to the south.

The Garda territory is characterised by a wide gulf facing south-west, which begins with Punta San Vigilio, the most famous and touristically suggestive part of the area, and ends ideally with the promontory of the Rocca.

The name Garda almost certainly derives from the ancient Longobard term "warda" or guard, in reference to the fortification present in medieval times on the Rocca. In this structure, which no longer exists, was imprisoned Queen Adelaide di Borgogna, married first to Lotario di Provenza and later to Ottone I.

The town of Garda has based its main subsistence activity on fishing over the centuries, and it was during the period of subordination to the Venetian Republic that it obtained fishing rights over certain water areas of the lake as far as Torri del Benaco.

Curious fact - To hold these rights was founded in 1452 the "Corporazione degli Antichi Originari". Since then, every spring, it auctions off the areas in which fishermen have the right to fish. This association is also responsible for handing down the traditions and knowledge of the historical and natural heritage of Lake Garda.

Festivities and markets
Patron SaintAssunzione di Maria
Feast day15 August
Weekly marketFriday

What to see in Garda

Anyone who visits Garda for the first time will certainly be impressed by the splendid gulf in which this small town stands. The old town centre, with its alleys and houses very close to each other, still reminds us that only fishermen once lived here and that the great tourist influx began only in the second half of the 20th century.

If you enter the historical centre of Garda from the south, you pass under the face of the Clock Tower, also known as the Civic Tower, belonging to the walls that surrounded the old town. This tower has a square plan and on its top is a clock arranged on two sides.

From this building starts Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which runs through the entire town, ending at Palazzo Fregoso. The latter was built in the 15th century above the northern gate of San Giovanni and was the home of the Genoese diplomat and general Cesare Fregoso, an exile in the service of the Venetian Republic and son of the Doge of Genoa Giano Fregoso, who moved here with his secretary Matteo Bandello in the early 16th century.

Moving towards the lakefront, you reach Piazza Catullo, a symbolic place and the true heart of the historic centre. Here stands the wonderful Palazzo dei Capitani, so called because it was the home of the Capitano del Lago di Garda, the representative of authority of the Serenissima Republic of Venice. This building in Venetian Gothic style was built in the 14th century and initially faced directly onto the water. Boats were in fact tied to iron rings embedded in the wall under the portico, while the square was built later.

Other buildings of historical interest include the splendid Palazzo Pincini Carlotti. This building was initially the home of the Carlotti family, a Veronese family of ancient origins, present on Lake Garda since the early 14th century. The palace was built between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, expanding further in the following years. The Carlotti family was succeeded by other families over time, until the present day when the palace became the property of the Municipality of Garda.

Palazzo Pincini Carlotti is located along the eastern side of the old village and extends down to the lake. Here it closes with a loggia, the famous "losa", which once served as a dock for boats. The front opens onto Via Rudinì Carlotti and the small square. Today, the palace is a popular venue for photography exhibitions, music and art events.

Among the religious buildings, the ancient Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta deserves a visit, while among the noble villas, we recommend Villa degli Albertini with its park, which can be visited at certain times of the year, and Villa Canossa.

An obligatory destination when visiting Garda is certainly the Punta San Vigilio peninsula on which stands the Villa dei Conti Guarienti di Brenzone and the nearby Baia delle Sirene, a popular summer destination for tourists due to the particular clarity and colour of its waters.

NEW - Guided Tours and Cruises at a Special Price!

What to do in Garda

Tourists who choose Garda as their holiday destination could begin their journey of exploration of this charming place with a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Baia delle Sirene, or the nearby Corno and Cavalla beaches.

The territory in which the town of Garda is located is suitable for long, relaxing walks along the shores of the lake, especially in a southerly direction, reaching Bardolino, Cisano and Lazise in a short time.

Just behind the town centre, a hilly area starts to rise in the direction of Costermano sul Garda. Right on the way up in this direction, we recommend a visit to the Valle dei Mulini, a natural place of rare beauty where time seems frozen.

Another worthwhile excursion is to the Rocca di Garda. It can be climbed starting from the church of San Bernardo, following the signs on the path. About halfway up the path, turn left to reach the Hermitage of San Giorgio, while to the right you head towards the top of the Rocca, from which you can enjoy a priceless view of Garda below and the entire gulf, as far as Punta San Vigilio.

The mountain above the latter is called Luppia and it too offers a nature trail of remarkable beauty and is famous for some rock engravings that are still clearly visible today.

The presence of numerous hotels, residences and other types of accommodation allows anyone to find the ideal accommodation to spend a relaxing holiday. The mild climate favours all kinds of outdoor activities, but even shopping enthusiasts will not be disappointed.

In fact, there are many shops and workshops that populate the historic centre, where you can buy all kinds of typical products, food and wine or a simple souvenir to take to your friends.

From the city of Garda, it is also possible to reach in a few minutes by car some of the largest shopping centres in the province of Verona, such as the nearby Grand'Affi Shopping Centre in Affi.

Families with children will be able to visit the main amusement parks in the Lake Garda area, which can be reached in a short time, perhaps by taking advantage of the numerous trips offered by public transport during the summer period.

Image gallery

Click on the button below to open the Garda image gallery.

Map of tourist sites

Click on the button below to open the detailed map of Garda, where we have marked the main tourist sights of this place, sorted by typology.


Lake Garda Experiences

A world of activities made for you and your friends. Choose between excursions, guided tours, tastings and much more. Plan your leisure time in the best possible way and enjoy the exclusive special offers.

Other places on Lake Garda

Keep exploring other beautiful towns near Garda.