Lake Garda

Lake Garda (Italian: Lago di Garda [ˈlaːɡo di ˈɡarda] or (Lago) Benaco [beˈnaːko]; Eastern Lombard: Lach de Garda; Venetian: Ƚago de Garda; Latin: Benacus) is the largest lake in Italy. It is a popular holiday location in northern Italy, about halfway between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan on the edge of the Dolomites. Glaciers formed this alpine region at the end of the last Ice Age. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the provinces of Verona (to the south-east), Brescia (south-west), and Trento (north). The name Garda, which the lake has been seen referred to in documents dating to the eighth century, comes from the town of the same name. It is the evolution of the Germanic word warda, meaning "place of guard" or "place of observation."

Lake Garda
Benacus creino
Nago–Torbole and the northern part of the lake
Coordinates45°38′N 10°40′E / 45.633°N 10.667°ECoordinates: 45°38′N 10°40′E / 45.633°N 10.667°E
Native nameLago di Garda / Benaco  (Italian)
Lach de Garda  (Lombard)
Ƚago de Garda  (Venetian)
Primary inflowsSarca
Primary outflowsMincio
Catchment area2,350 km2 (910 sq mi)
Basin countriesItaly
Max. length51.6 km (32.1 mi)
Max. width16.7 km (10.4 mi)
Surface area369.98 km2 (142.85 sq mi)
Average depth136 m (446 ft)
Max. depth346 m (1,135 ft)
Water volume50.35 km3 (40,820,000 acre⋅ft)
Residence time26.8 years
Shore length1158.4 km (98.4 mi)
Surface elevation65 m (213 ft)
Islands5 (Isola del Garda, Isola San Biagio)
Settlementssee article
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.


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Lake Garda and the mountains above Malcesine.

The northern part of the lake is narrower, surrounded by mountains, the majority of which belong to the Gruppo del Baldo. The shape is typical of a moraine valley, probably having been formed under the action of a Paleolithic glacier. Although traces of the glacier's actions are evident today, in more recent years it has been hypothesised that the glacier occupied a previously existing depression, created by stream erosion 5 to 6 million years ago.

The lake has numerous small islands and five main ones, the largest being Isola del Garda where in 1220 St. Francis of Assisi founded a monastery, in its place now stands a nineteenth-century building in the Venetian Gothic style. Nearby to the south is Isola San Biagio, also known as the Isola dei Conigli ("Island of the Rabbits"). Both are offshore of San Felice del Benaco, on the lake's western side. The three other main islands are Isola dell'Olivo, Isola di Sogno, and Isola di Trimelone, all farther north near the eastern side. The main tributary is the Sarca River, others include the Ponale River (fed by Lago di Ledro), the Varone/Magnone River (via the Cascate del Varone) and various streams from both mountain sides, while the only outlet is the Mincio River (79 metres (259 ft), at Peschiera). The subdivision is created by the presence of a fault submerged between Sirmione and Punta San Vigilio which is almost a natural barrier that hampers the homogenization between the water of the two zones.

If the water level of the Adige river is too high, excess water is diverted to the lake through the Mori-Torbole tunnel.


Lago di Garda venti
Lake Garda from space with its wind pattern

The particularly mild climate favours the growth of some Mediterranean plants, including the olive tree. Citrus (lemon) trees can also be found, which are extremely rare at this latitude (46° North).[1] This greatly favoured the development of tourism since the end of the second world war. In ancient times, poets like Catullus wrote about "Lacus Benacus" with its mild climate vivified by the winds. The lake is oriented from north to south towards the Po Valley, so many winds typical of the lake are the result of a difference between lower and higher altitude temperatures. Due to this, winds are generated that descend from the mountains to the plains in the morning and go back to the mountains in the afternoon. The bottleneck formed by the lake basin affects the timing of the winds, many of which happen on a regular daily basis. The winds are all named, most in regional Italian dialect so a single wind may have different names.


Salmo carpio, also known as the carpione (carpione del Garda[2][3] or Lake Garda carpione[4]) is a rare salmonid fish endemic to Lake Garda. It has been introduced to a number of other lakes in Italy and elsewhere but unsuccessfully in all cases.[2] The population in Lake Garda has been strongly declining, and is considered critically endangered (IUCN 3.1).[3][4] The main threats are due to overfishing, pollution and possibly competition from introduced species such as Coregonus and other Salmonidae.[5]

Adult lake trout outside the mating season are silvery with very few black spots on the body and almost none on the head. During the mating season males develop some a dark mottled body coloration. Garda lake trout reach a length of up to 50 centimeters. They live primarily in depths of 100 to 200 metres (330 to 660 feet). They feed on zooplankton and bottom-dwelling crustaceans in summer. Males and females reach sexual maturity at two or three years. The mating takes place every one to two years. The spawning takes place in 50 to 300 metres (160 to 980 feet) depth in the vicinity of underwater springs. The maximum age is five years.[6]


Towns and villages on the lake

The ancient fortified town of Sirmione, located on the south of the lake, is one particularly popular destination, home to the Virgilio & Catullo Spa Complexes, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, hotels, fashion stores and a market. The picturesque Scaliger castle dates from the 13th century. The Roman poet Catullus had a villa here, and visitors can see a ruined Roman spa named the Grotte di Catullo (Grottoes of Catullus) although there is no evidence linking him to this particular building. The sulfur springs at the tip of the peninsula have a reputation for healing catarrhal conditions, particularly those involving the ear. Another popular town is the town of Garda. Garda is approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the more popular town of Verona. Garda's economy is based on tourism.[7] Nearby, there is Gardaland, one of the most famous theme parks in Italy. At the northern end of the lake, the towns of Riva and Torbole are famous for winds that attract people who sail, windsurf & kiteboard.

The Communes of Lake Garda
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
(clockwise: west to east)
Province of Verona
(clockwise: north to south)
Province of Brescia
(clockwise: south to north)

Torbole Panorama

A view from the town of Torbole, looking south, over the lake.



Verona boat Garda Lake
Ferry boat on the lake.

Infrequent ferry services connect major towns on the eastern and western shores of Lake Garda. The services run in a zig-zag manner from Desenzano del Garda to Riva del Garda, via Peschiera del Garda, Salò, Garda and Malcesine. One express ferry, on which bicycles are not allowed, operates per day: journey time from Riva del Garda to Peschiera takes 2 hours.


Railway stations with direct bus links include Rovereto (to Riva del Garda), Verona (to Garda), Peschiera del Garda (to Garda) and Desenzano del Garda (to Salò).


Buses are faster alternatives to ferry services. On Lake Garda's eastern coast (provinces of Verona and Trentino), ATV (Verona Transport Company) provides at least five daily bus routes between Verona and Garda, with one route extending beyond Garda to Riva del Garda. Trentino Transporti provides daily bus routes between Riva del Garda and Rovereto or Trento.

  • 162: Verona – Garda (via Bussolegno)
  • 163: Verona – Garda (via Lasize)
  • 164: Verona – Verona-Villafranca Airport (summer only) – Peschiera del Garda – Gardaland – Garda
  • 165: Verona – Garda (via Calmasino)
  • 183: Peschiera – Garda – Gardaland – Malcesine (May to October)
  • 184: Garda – Malcesine – Riva del Garda
  • 205: Verona – Garda EXPRESS (summer only)
  • X05: Verona – Garda EXPRESS (limited service)

On Lake Garda's western coast (Brescia province), SAIA (Brescia Mobilità) provides regular bus services between Desenzano and Salò.

  • S202: Brescia – Salò – Campione – Limone sul Garda – Riva del Garda
  • LN006: Salò – Desenzano del Garda (via Cunettone)
  • LN007: Salò – Desenzano del Garda (via Raffa)
  • LN027: Salò – Desenzano del Garda (via Moniga)


Panoramic view from Monte Baldo of Lake Garda and the communes of Riva Del Garda and Nago-Torbole at the far right
Panoramic view from Monte Baldo of Lake Garda and the communes of Riva Del Garda and Nago-Torbole at the far right
Panoramic view of Lake Garda from Cima Comer
Panoramic view of Lake Garda from Cima Comer

See also


  1. ^ Catherine Richards (2011). Lake Como, Lake Lugano, Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda - The Italian Lakes. Hunter Publishing, Inc. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-58843-770-9.
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Salmo carpio" in FishBase. April 2006 version.
  3. ^ a b Crivelli, A.J. 2006. Salmo carpio In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. Downloaded on 2 April 2010
  4. ^ a b S. Melotto, G. Alessio (2006) Biology of carpione, Salmo carpio L., an endemic species of Lake Garda (Italy) Journal of Fish Biology 37, 687–698.
  5. ^ "salmon-likes up to 10 kg >> Salmo carpio". Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Salmo carpio summary page". Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Lake Garda Resorts". Retrieved 28 September 2016.

External links

Battle of Castiglione

The Battle of Castiglione saw the French Army of Italy under General Napoleon Bonaparte attack an army of Habsburg Monarchy led by Feldmarschall Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser on 5 August 1796. The outnumbered Austrians were defeated and driven back along a line of hills to the river crossing at Borghetto, where they retired beyond the Mincio River. The town of Castiglione delle Stiviere is located 10 kilometres (6 mi) south of Lake Garda in northern Italy. This battle was one of four famous victories won by Bonaparte during the War of the First Coalition, part of the Wars of the French Revolution. The others were Bassano, Arcole, and Rivoli.

Castiglione was the first attempt by the Austrian army to break the French Siege of Mantua, which was the primary Austrian fortress in northern Italy. To achieve this goal, Wurmser planned to lead four converging columns against the French. It succeeded insofar as Bonaparte lifted the siege in order to have the manpower sufficient to meet the threat. But his skill and the speed of his troops' march allowed the French army commander to keep the Austrian columns separated and defeat each in detail over a period of about one week. Although the final flank attack was prematurely delivered, it nevertheless resulted in a victory.

Battle of Lake Benacus

The Battle of Lake Benacus was fought along the banks of Lake Garda in northern Italy, which was known to the Romans as Benacus, in 268 or early 269 AD, between the army under the command of the Roman Emperor Claudius II and the Germanic tribes of the Alamanni and Juthungi.

Battle of Lonato

The Battle of Lonato was fought on 3 and 4 August 1796 between the French Army of Italy under General Napoleon Bonaparte and a corps-sized Austrian column led by Lieutenant General Peter Quasdanovich. A week of hard-fought actions that began on 29 July and ended on 4 August resulted in the retreat of Quasdanovich's badly mauled force. The elimination of Quasdanovich's threat allowed Bonaparte to concentrate against and defeat the main Austrian army at the Battle of Castiglione on 5 August. Lonato del Garda is located near the SP 668 highway and the Brescia-Padua section of Autostrada A4 to the southwest of Lake Garda.

On 29 July, the Austrians advanced out of the Alps to capture the towns of Gavardo and Salò on the west side of Lake Garda. The Austrians followed up this success by surprising and seizing the French base at Brescia on 30 July. An Austrian brigade captured Lonato del Garda on the 31st but was ejected from the town by a French counterattack after tough fighting. Also on the 31st, a French division briefly recaptured Salò, rescued a small band of compatriots, and fell back. This series of combats and other battles east of Lake Garda compelled Bonaparte to raise the Siege of Mantua.

Leaving only one division to observe the main Austrian army to the east, Bonaparte assembled overwhelming force and recaptured Brescia on 1 August. Quasdanovich regrouped around Gavardo on 2 August, while ordering an attack by several columns for the next day. On 3 August, one of the Austrian columns defeated a French brigade and captured Lonato for the second time. However, the French also attacked that day, capturing Salò and nearly taking Gavardo. With most of the Austrian forces placed on the defensive, Bonaparte massed against the solitary brigade in Lonato and crushed it. This disaster caused Quasdanovich to order a retreat on 4 August. In a final calamity, one withdrawing Austrian column was cut off and captured.

Desenzano del Garda

Desenzano del Garda (Brescian: Dezensà) is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy, Italy, on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda. It borders the communes of Castiglione delle Stiviere, Lonato, Padenghe sul Garda and Sirmione.

Gardone Riviera

Gardone Riviera (Gardesano: Gardù de Riera) is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy. It is situated on the western shore of Lake Garda.


Gargnano (Gardesano: Gargnà) is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy. It is situated on the western shore of Lake Garda. The municipal territory includes the artificial Valvestino Lake, created in 1962.

Lonato del Garda

Lonato del Garda (before 1 July 2007 simply Lonato; Brescian: Lunàt) is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy, northern Italy. Lonato is located about halfway between Milan and Venice, on the southwest shore of Lake Garda, the biggest lake in Italy.

Neighbouring communes are Castiglione delle Stiviere, Desenzano del Garda, Calcinato, Bedizzole, Calvagese della Riviera, Padenghe sul Garda, Pozzolengo, Montichiari, Solferino. The town is a holiday destination due to its scenic lakeside location about 5 kilometres (3 mi) from the lake) and its numerous historical and artistic monuments and museums, prehistoric sites (pile dwellings), Roman ruins, Medieval castle, Baroque churches and modern museums.

Manerba del Garda

Manerba del Garda is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy. It is located at the southwest side of the Lake Garda.

It is bounded by the comunes of San Felice del Benaco, Puegnago sul Garda, Moniga del Garda, Polpenazze del Garda and Soiano del Lago.


Mincio (Italian pronunciation: [ˈmintʃo]; Latin: Mincius, Ancient Greek: Minchios, Μίγχιος) is a river in the Lombardy region of northern Italy.

The river is the main outlet of Lake Garda. It is a part of the Sarca-Mincio river system which also includes the river Sarca and the Lake Garda. The river starts from the south-eastern tip of the lake at the town of Peschiera del Garda and then flows from there for about 65 kilometres (40 mi) past Mantua and into the Po River.

At Mantua the Mincio was widened in the late 12th century, forming a series of three (originally four) lakes that skirt the edges of the old city. The original settlement here, dating from about 2000 BC, was on an island in the Mincio.

The former lower part of the course of the Mincio flowed into the Adriatic Sea near Adria until the breach at Cucca in 589, roughly following the course of the river that is currently known by the name of Canal Bianco; it had been a waterway from the sea to the lake until then.

In 452 CE, Attila the Hun received an embassy sent by the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III near this river. The Roman delegation was led by Pope Leo I. After this meeting, Attila withdrew from Italy.

Monte Baldo

Monte Baldo is a mountain range in the Italian Alps, located in the provinces of Trento and Verona. Its ridge spans mainly northeast-southwest, and is bounded from south by the highland ending at Caprino Veronese, from west by Lake Garda, from north by the valley joining Rovereto to Nago-Torbole and, from east, the Val d'Adige.

The name derives from the German Wald ("forest"); it appears for the first time in a German map in 1163.

The Peace Trail (it: Sentiero della Pace), one of the most important long distance trails in Northern Italy, leads over the range.

The ridge is reachable through a cable car from the nearby town of Malcesine, on the shore of Lake Garda.


Nago–Torbole (German: Naag-Turbel) is a comune (municipality) in Trentino in the northern Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, located about 30 kilometres (19 miles) southwest of Trento on the north shore of Lake Garda.

The municipality of Nago–Torbole contains the frazioni (subdivisions, mainly villages and hamlets) Torbole (Turbel), Nago (Naag), and Tempesta. The villages cling to the limestone rocks on the extreme north-west slope of Monte Baldo; it lies close to the mouth of the river Sarca and its houses are set as an amphitheatre around the small bay, in front of Monte Rocchetta and the Ledro Alps.

Nago–Torbole borders the following municipalities: Arco, Riva del Garda, Mori, Ledro, Brentonico, and Malcesine.


Nuvolento (Brescian: Nigolent) is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy. Neighbouring comuni are Paitone, Nuvolera, Prevalle, Serle and Bedizzole. It is within the agricultural area of the province of Brescia, west of the river Chiese and Lake Garda.

Province of Brescia

The Province of Brescia (Italian: provincia di Brescia; Brescian: pruìnsa de Brèsa) is a Province in Lombardy, northern Italy. It has a population of some 1,265,325 (as of November 2018) and its capital is the city of Brescia.

With an area of 4,785 km², it is the biggest province of Lombardy. It is also the second province of the region for the number of inhabitants and fifth in Italy (first, excluding metropolitan cities).

It borders the province of Sondrio to the north and north west, the province of Bergamo to the west, the province of Cremona to the south west and south, the province of Mantua to the south, and to the east the province of Verona (which is part of the Veneto region) and Trentino.

The province stretches between Lake Iseo in the west, Lake Garda in the east, the Southern Rhaetian Alps in the north and the Lombardian plains in the south. The main rivers of the province are the Oglio, the Mella and the Chiese.

Besides Brescia, other important towns in the province are Darfo Boario Terme, Desenzano del Garda, Palazzolo sull'Oglio, Montichiari, Ghedi, Chiari, Rovato, Gussago, Rezzato, Concesio, Orzinuovi, Salò, Gardone Val Trompia and Lumezzane.

Province of Verona

The Province of Verona (Italian: Provincia di Verona) is a province in the Veneto region of Italy. The eastern bank of Lake Garda is near the province. Its capital is the city of Verona. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The province is cosmopolitan in nature. It is bordered by Italian Tyrol in the north, Province of Vicenza and Province of Padua in the east. Province of Rovigo and Province of Mantua in south and Lake Garda in the west. From north to south the maximum extent of the province is 50 miles while it is 25 miles from east to west.

Salmo carpio

Salmo carpio, also known as the carpione (carpione del Garda or Lake Garda carpione) is a salmonid fish endemic to Lake Garda in Italy. It has been introduced to a number of other lakes in Italy and elsewhere but unsuccessfully in all cases. The population in Lake Garda has been strongly declining, and is considered critically endangered.

The main threats are due to overfishing, pollution and possibly competition from introduced species such as Coregonus and Salmonidae.

Senior Italian Open

The Senior Italian Open is a men's professional golf tournament for players aged 50 and above which is part of the European Senior Tour schedule. It was played from 2004 to 2008 and then restarted in 2016. The tournament was originally played at GC Venezia, near Venice, but has since been played at GC Arzaga on Lake Garda and GC Udine, Fagagna.

Italy's most successful 20th century male golfer, Costantino Rocca, made his senior debut at the 2007 edition of his home senior open.


Tignale (locally Tignàl) is a comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy, northern Italy. It is an international tourist center on the Lake Garda.

It is formed by a series of villages located from up to 1600 m of altitude to the shores of the lake (none of them is called Tignale). The communal seat is at Gardola. Sights include the sanctuary of Montecastello, on a cliff commanding the Lake Garda, and remains of World War I fortifications.


Toscolano Maderno (Gardesano: Toscolà Madéren) is a town and comune on the West coast of Lake Garda, in the province of Brescia, in the region of Lombardy, northern Italy. It is located about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Brescia.

Located on the Brescian shore of the Lake Garda, it includes the two towns of Toscolano, an industrial center, and Maderno, a tourist resort, united into a single comune in 1928. The municipal territory includes the Monte Pizzocolo.

Tremosine sul Garda

Tremosine sul Garda (Brescian: Tremuzen) is a comune in the Italian province of Brescia, in Lombardy, near Lake Garda. It is divided into 18 frazioni; Pieve is the frazione which has the town hall. Vesio is the biggest one. Campione is a frazione famous for aquatic sport, such as kitesurfing, and it is the only one on the shore of Lake Garda.

Lake Garda (Lago di Garda, Benaco)
Landmarks of Lombardy
Landmarks of Veneto


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