PLACESGarda Lombardia

Manerba del Garda

The town of Rocca and Natural Reserve.

by Marco Ghirello

The town of Manerba del Garda is located on the western shore of Lake Garda, between the towns of San Felice del Benaco to the north and Moniga del Garda to the south.

There are a few theories about the origins of the name. A local legend tells that Manerba was built as a sign of devotion to Minerva, the mythological Roman goddess of war; other academics instead trace the toponym back to the Cenomani Gauls with the union of the terms "mon" meaning man of arms and "erb" meaning military area.

From the 13th century this territory in the middle of the famous Valtenesi land saw an increasing number of fortified buildings erected to protect the inhabitants from possible incursions of hostile populations.

The oldest and most important of the castles in this area was built on top of the Rocca di Manerba, in a strategic position that made it an impregnable bulwark. This was at least until the 16th century, when it became a place of refuge for criminals and bandits, a fact that forced the Republic of Venice to destroy its walls in 1576.

Since ancient times, this territory has always been ideal for the cultivation of olive groves and vineyards, thanks in part to the particular hill conformation of morainic origin and the mild climate provided by Lake Garda. Today, wine is one of the best known and most appreciated products of the Valtenesi.

In this area there is an autochthonous vineyard called Groppello, a name derived from the particular compactness of the grape cluster, closed like a knot or "groppo" in local dialect.

Still in the context of enology, we remember the important role that a Venetian senator named Pompeo Molmenti played for this area towards the end of the 19th century. This man, who was passionate about wine-growing, perfected the system of rosé vinification of groppello, creating the "wine of a night" or, in other words, the popular Chiaretto Valtenesi.

Festivities and markets
Patron SaintMaria SS. Assunta
Feast day15 August
Weekly marketFriday

What to see in Manerba del Garda

A holiday in Manerba del Garda must include a visit to the Riserva Naturale della Rocca e del Sasso. In this protected area, sheltered from building activities, hunting and the circulation of motor vehicles, you can immerse yourself in a unique microcosm of biodiversity and rich in endemic species. A place created to protect the local flora and fauna, excellently integrated with the archaeological itinerary of the nearby Valtenesi Archaeological Museum and the remains of the ancient medieval fortress, from which the place takes its name.

The area also extends to the surface of Lake Garda, taking the name of Parco Lacuale di Manerba del Garda, created for the study, protection and enhancement of fish fauna and the lake environment. In this area, fishing is banned or restricted in some areas to professional fishermen only, but it is also a popular site for those who enjoy scuba diving.

A few hundred metres from the shore, there is the Isola di San Biagio or Isola dei Conigli (Rabbit Island), a name due to the presence of a colony of these graceful animals.

This small strip of land can be reached not only by boat, but also on foot during periods when the water level of the lake is low. Privately owned, it can be visited during the day and there is a small kiosk where sunbeds can be hired for sunbathing during the summer.

In the various places that compose the town of Manerba del Garda, we highlight the presence of some religious buildings of notable beauty.

In the hamlet of Solarolo, there are the church of Santa Maria Assunta, dating back to the 18th century, the church of the Santissima Trinità, dating back to the early 16th century, and the church of San Giovanni Battista Decollato, dating back to the 8th century.

In the hamlet of Pieve Vecchia, there is the church of Santa Maria in Valtenesi, which is very old and dates back to a period between the 6th and 7th centuries.

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What to do in Manerba del Garda

The territory of Manerba del Garda is perfect for anyone who wants to spend a relaxing holiday on Lake Garda.

The green countryside and the presence of the Rocca, are an ideal destination for those who love excursions and trips out of town. The numerous trails between the fields are ideal routes for regenerating walks.

Obviously a summer holiday also means spending a lot of time by the lakeside. In this respect, Manerba del Garda hosts numerous beautiful beaches, among which are La Romantica beach, certainly the best known and most popular, then the Rocca beach, Pisenze beach, Porto Torchio beach, Dusano beach, Sasso beach, and Baia Bianca beach.

Shopping lovers will not be disappointed by the nearby shopping centre "Il Leone di Lonato", which can be reached in a few minutes by car or by public transport.

A trip to the lake is also a must, perhaps taking advantage of the boat service operating during the summer period. This is an ecological and practical way of travelling around the lake, useful, for example, to reach the main amusement parks located in the southern part of Lake Garda in a short time.

Image gallery

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Map of tourist sites

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


Lake Garda Experiences

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