PLACESGarda Veneto


Between Lake Garda and Monte Baldo.

by Marco Ghirello

The town of Malcesine lies on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, between the towns of Nago-Torbole to the north and Brenzone sul Garda to the south.

The first evidence as a settlement dates back as far as 500 B.C., referring to populations of Etruscan and later Roman origin. There are also very old indications of the presence of an ancient fortress, built by the Longobards and later rebuilt by the Franks.

The castle has always been a distinctive architectural element of the town of Malcesine. It took its current appearance and the name "Scaligero" in 1277, under the control of Alberto della Scala, lord of Verona.

The Scaligeri were succeeded for a short period by the Visconti of Milan and in 1405 began a long, almost uninterrupted period under the rule of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, which ended in 1797, when the town came under Napoleonic jurisdiction. The latter ended in 1815 with the Restoration and subsequent passage under the control of the Austrian Empire, until 1866 when it was finally united with the Kingdom of Italy.

The economy of Malcesine over the centuries has been mainly linked to agricultural activity and especially to the cultivation of the olive tree. This particular territory, dominated by the looming presence of the Monte Baldo massif, is renowned for the production of extra virgin olive oil and is part of the production area of the prized Garda DOP Extra Virgin Olive oil. With the aim of protecting this product from speculation and preserving its high quality, the Consorzio Olivicoltori di Malcesine was established in 1946.

The town of Malcesine, visited by illustrious national and international personalities, was consecrated in literature by the famous German writer and poet J. W. von Goethe. He arrived here on 14 September 1786 and was fascinated by the natural beauty of the place and the majestic castle.

Festivities and markets
Patron SaintSanto Stefano
Feast day26 December
Weekly marketSaturday

What to see in Malcesine

The historical centre of Malcesine, with its streets made up of narrow alleys leading to the lakefront, is built around the splendid Scaligero Castle, which we mentioned earlier.

This well-preserved medieval structure is today a popular destination for tourists coming to this lakeside town for the first time, and has also become a popular venue for weddings.

It houses the Baldo and Garda Natural History Museum, an interesting educational itinerary that shows a wide range of images and multimedia information about the naturalistic elements that characterise the Garda area.

It should be noted in this regard that Mount Baldo is known as the "Garden of Europe", a unique ecosystem consisting of numerous endemic species. Continuing the visit to the museum, there is the so-called Sala delle Galee, a room dedicated to the history of navigation on Lake Garda and the birth and development of the castle.

Not far away, overlooking the shores of the lake, lies the Palazzo dei Capitani. Built by the Scaligeris between the 13th and 14th centuries, it became the residence of the Captain of the Lake during the period of the Venetian Republic.

Consisting of the ground floor plus two upper floors, it also has a private garden with crenellated walls. The garden is located on the lakefront and is freely accessible, offering a splendid view of the palace front and the opposite shore.

A visit to the nearby hamlet of Cassone di Malcesine and its small but well-kept Lake Museum is a must. Located right in front of the small harbour, it houses a collection of fishing-related objects, such as hooks, nets and vintage photographs of old sailing boats. Once used as a hatchery, it has two water-filled tanks outside, containing eels, chubs and trout.

Curious fact - Right in Cassone is located the Aril river, reputed to be the shortest river in the world with its 175 metres in length from source to mouth.

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What to do in Malcesine

A holiday in Malcesine is undoubtedly the right choice for anyone who wants to spend a few relaxing days. A place located in the northern part of Lake Garda and for this reason, it is popular among lovers of sailing and extreme sports, such as paragliding. The nearby Monte Baldo, in fact, offers a natural springboard for sportsmen who love flying and thrills.

The fastest way to reach the top of this mountain is certainly by the scenic Malcesine - Monte Baldo cable car. Inaugurated in 1962 and entirely rebuilt in 2002, the cableway is divided into two sections.

The first section from Malcesine to San Michele is 1512 metres long, overcoming a difference in height of 463 metres, while the second section from San Michele to Passo Tratto Spino is 2813 metres long, overcoming a difference in height of 1187 metres. During the ascent, you can enjoy an unparalleled panoramic view over a large section of Lake Garda, providing a unique viewpoint for taking beautiful photographs.

Malcesine lends itself as an ideal place for all types of excursions, whether on foot or by bicycle. The lakefront offers a scenic location where it is possible to walk in contact with nature, breathing the lake breeze or taking advantage of the beautiful beaches for a refreshing swim.

The latter are several and located all along the municipal territory. Starting from the north and descending towards the south, we find Navene beach, Campagnola beach, Paina beach, Posterna beach and finally the beach in the Bay of Val di Sogno.

Shopping enthusiasts will find numerous shops and boutiques where they can buy typical local products and all kinds of souvenirs.

Families with children can easily reach all the most famous amusement parks of Lake Garda using public transport.

Also from Malcesine it is of course possible during the summer period to reach all the lake towns by boat or ferry.

Image gallery

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

Map of tourist sites

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


Lake Garda Experiences

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