PLACESGarda Trentino

Riva del Garda

Between the mountains and the Ponale trail.

by Marco Ghirello

The town of Riva del Garda lies in the northernmost part of Lake Garda, between the towns of Nago Torbole to the east and Limone sul Garda to the south.

The earliest traces of settlements in this area date back to the Neolithic period, between the Bronze and Iron Ages.

From the Roman period are instead the numerous discoveries made in 1969 at the archaeological area of Monte San Martino ai Campi, near the municipality of Tenno.

After the Roman period, Riva del Garda passed under the control of various dominations, including Scaligera, Viscontea and Venetian. It was under the latter that was built one of the most representative military buildings still existing today, the Bastione of Riva del Garda.

Built in the early 1500s in an elevated position, it now houses a restaurant that can be reached by a spectacular panoramic lift.

The various forts built to defend the territory of Riva are linked to the Austro-Hungarian period and are still well preserved and visible today.

The tourist economy began to be important from the mid-1800s, a period in which Riva del Garda became a holiday destination for a large number of tourists, mainly German-speaking.

Festivities and markets
Patron SaintSant'Andrea
Feast day30 November
Weekly marketWednesday (2nd and 4th of the month)

What to see in Riva del Garda

Things to see in Riva del Garda certainly begin with a walk through the splendid buildings and streets of the old town centre.

In addition to the already mentioned Bastione that surveys the town from above, the beautiful Torre Apponale is surely deserving of a visit. Located in the central Piazza III Novembre, it is 34 metres high and has an internal staircase through which it is possible to reach the top and enjoy an incomparable view of the harbour and the entire urban centre.

Not far away is another iconic building, the Rocca di Riva del Garda. Built by the prince-bishop of Trento in the early 1100s as a fortress to defend the harbour, today it houses the MAG Museo Alto Garda.

In its interior there is a very interesting museum itinerary, divided into three zones. In the first there is the picture gallery, in the second there is the archaeological section, and in the third there is the historical section.

Walking through the streets of the historical centre, it is possible to see the ancient access roads to the city, such as Porta San Marco in the west, Porta San Michele in the east and the characteristic Porta San Giuseppe, once the Church of Disciplina.

There are several religious buildings in the area, including the archpriest's church of Santa Maria Assunta, centrally located in the nearby Piazza Cavour.

As mentioned earlier, Riva del Garda is also famous for the Austrian forts that surround it. Along the Sentiero della Pace (Path of Peace) there are Forte Garda and Forte San Nicolò, both located in the Monte Brione area and well preserved.

Walking along the lakefront, it is impossible not to see a large building, unique in its kind and of considerable architectural charm: the Ponale hydroelectric power station. Dating back to 1925, it was designed by architect Giancarlo Maroni, the same architect who built the famous Vittoriale degli Italiani in Gardone Riviera, home of the famous poet Gabriele D'Annunzio.

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What to do in Riva del Garda

Palaces, forts and towers, but Riva del Garda is also nature and an area that is beautifully suited to those seeking a holiday focused on sports and outdoor life.

Whether on foot or by bicycle, there is no better way than following the trail of the old Ponale road, once the main communication route between Lake Garda and Lake Ledro.

This marvel of engineering is a combined gravel and asphalt track, offering a breathtaking panorama of the entire area. Being a road closed to traffic, it can be travelled in total safety and enjoy one of the most impressive natural sights in Trentino.

Another essential stop is certainly a visit to the Parco Grotta Cascata Varone (Varone Waterfall Cave Park). Located in the nearby municipality of Tenno, it houses a truly enchanting nature trail divided into the Grotta Superiore and the Grotta Inferiore observation points, through which it is possible to admire the waterfall along its initial and final course.

Summer in Riva del Garda is also relaxation, so where is it possible to take a cool dip?

Obviously there is no shortage of beaches, and two excellent places are the Sabbioni beach and the Pini beach, both of which are suitable for relaxing, having fun with friends, or simply sunbathing under the warm Lake Garda sun.

From the harbour it is also possible to buy tickets for one of the numerous boats that cruise on the lake and so reach all the other tourist destinations around Lake Garda.

Image gallery

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

Map of tourist sites

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


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