The town of San Felice del Benaco lies on the western shore of Lake Garda, between the towns of Salò to the north and Manerba del Garda to the south.
The origin of the name is probably Latin and is associated with the term "sinus felix" or happy cove. This area, formerly called Scovolo, was inhabited by the Romans, as some archaeological finds testify.
In the mediaeval period, domination passed from a first phase under the control of the Scaligeris, to a second phase in which first the Brescians and then the Viscontis took over, until the rule of the Serenissima.
The area surrounding San Felice del Benaco is characterised by a morainic landscape. In front of the panoramic promontory of San Fermo is the famous Isola del Garda, also known as Isola Borghese, the largest of all the islands of Lake Garda.
This strip of land has been inhabited since ancient times and over the centuries has been visited by some famous people such as St Francis of Assisi, St Anthony of Padua and Dante Alighieri.
Curious fact - It seems that Dante Alighieri dedicated some verses of the Divine Comedy (Inferno, Canto XX, 67-69) to the Island of Garda.
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What to see in San Felice del Benaco
Walking through the streets of the old town centre, one of the most representative buildings is certainly Palazzo Rotingo. Dating back to the 18th century, it is now the seat of the San Felice del Benaco Town Hall, as well as the house where Angelo Zanelli, the famous sculptor and academician of Italy, was born on 17 March 1879.
Not far away is another splendid building that once housed the Monte di Pietà. Consisting of a five-arched front, it was built at the wish of the philanthropist Giacomo Pace and completed in 1670.
In the nearby hamlet of Cisano is Palazzo Cominelli, a building constructed by the family of the same name in the mid-17th century, which today houses the headquarters of the Fondazione Raffaele Cominelli, active in the artistic, social and cultural sector.
On the enchanting Isola del Garda is instead the splendid Villa Borghese Cavazza, an imposing palace in Venetian neo-Gothic style, built between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century by architect Luigi Rovelli.
A place out of time, surrounded by nature among beautiful Italian and English gardens and Mediterranean plants. Since 2001 it has been open to the public for guided tours, events and weddings.
The Santuario del Carmine, located on a hillside about 500 metres from the town centre, is instead of considerable religious importance. This building dates back to the 15th century and is dedicated to the Madonna del Carmine, whose feast day is celebrated on 16 July.
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What to do in San Felice del Benaco
A holiday in San Felice del Benaco also means excursions in contact with nature, taking advantage of some splendid routes that surround this town on Lake Garda.
One of these is the trail leading to the Big Bench #101 of San Felice del Benaco, the first of its kind on Lake Garda. Inaugurated in June 2020, it is part of a series of oversized benches (2 metres high - 4 metres wide) installed in many locations in Italy and abroad. The project is the brainchild of the well-known American designer Chris Bangle, who has been active in the automotive industry for many years, and is managed by the BIG BENCH COMMUNITY PROJECT (BBCP) Foundation, an organisation that helps to support tourism and the local communities in which these benches are placed. The Big Bench in San Felice del Benaco faces the scenic Gulf of Salò.
After a long walk, especially during the summer months, a regenerating dip in the waters of Lake Garda is just what you need. San Felice del Benaco also has a number of beaches where you can swim or sunbathe. Among the main and most popular are the Baia del Vento beach, very popular with water sports enthusiasts, and the Porto San Felice beach.
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Map of tourist sites
Click on the button below to open the detailed map of San Felice del Benaco, where we have marked the main tourist sights of this place, sorted by typology.
Lake Garda Experiences
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