Lake Garda is the biggest of the Italian lakes, also known as Benaco, a name given to it during the Roman period. The widest part in the south, is situated in the Pianura Padana area, and is surrounded by the Moreniche hills which were formed by the thawing glaciers of the prehistoric period. Going northwards the lake becomes narrower, passing through the Alps. Here, the mountains are more than 3000 metres high, and the climate is mild, similar to the Mediterranean climate.
The stilt houses in Lazise and Desenzano - this is where you can find the ruins of the prehistoric houses from the Bronze Age. Catullo's caves - this site is one of the most important, and oldest, Roman villa’s of northern Italy. It is situated right on the edge of the Sirmione headland. The archeological museum in Salò - in this area a Roman necropolis has been found, and the museum houses many of its finds. Punta San Vigilio – at the northern point of the lake, next to Garda, is where you can see marvellous finds from Roman and other periods. At this site there is also a beautiful villa, a small church and an old locanda, with a picturesque harbour. Next to Punta San Vigilio you can find Baia delle Sirene, a nice, typical bay on the lake. Rocca di Garda – a striking place where there are finds from a variety of époques, in particular by Longobardi. From here you can enjoy a wonderful panorama.
Dogana Veneta - in Lazise, near the old harbour, the building is from the 10th century. Lazise's castle and walls - these buildings are of the period, and belonged to the family La Scala. Castle in Malcesine - built by the Longobardi, it was destroyed by the Franchi and rebuilt by La Scala in 13th century. Castello scaligero and Torre dell'orologio in Torri - the castle is the site of an ethnographic museum, and both buildings date back to the 14th century. Castello scaligero in Sirmione - this manor house was built by Mastino I della Scala in the 13th century, and is one of the most important medieval sites of Sirmione.
VENETIAN REPUBLIC PERIOD
Fortifications in Peschiera del Garda - these fortifications are one of the most beautiful on the lake. The walls of the 14th century have a shape like a Pentagon, and they are totally surrounded by water. Inside the walls, the historical centre of the town is divided from the Lake Garda and the Mincio River by two impressive gates of the old town: Porta Verona and Porta Brescia. Madonna del Frassino Sanctuary - this is the site of a 16th century convent. It is full of artist works, frescos and old paintings.
D'Annunzio'S Vittoriale – this is a monumental town. It was built by the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio and is situated in Gardone. Inside you can find gardens, museums, the villa of the poet and many historical sites. Thermal baths in Sirmione - in 1889 a Venetian diver called Procopio discovered a hot water source next to Catullo's caves from a source called Boiola which was indicated on an old map.