Laggo di Garda (Lake Garda)

Rustic mountain villages and terraces with vineyards


Posted by: Paul G.

Italy's largest lake lies in the far north, between the foothills of the Alps and the lowlands located in the autonomous region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in northern Italy. The territory once contained the medieval ecclesiastical realms of Trento (Trent) and Bressanone (Brixen), which were subsequently disputed by the counts of Tirol and Venice. While the flat landscape in the south gives Lake Garda a great expanse. Mountains up to 2,000 metres high frame the lake here, and towns and roads literally cling to the steep shores or are even built into the rock.

In the hinterland, rustic mountain villages, terraces with vineyards and small mountain lakes beckon. Windsurfers, hikers, climbing fans get their money's worth in the north. But despite the rugged, steep mountains, you can feel the Mediterranean influence and the Italian way of life at every turn, from the palm trees and cypresses on the promenade to the daily gelato or spritz in one of the numerous cafés in the sun, taste it in the wines and the great food.

The diversity of the landscape is also particularly attractive. The northern shore is framed by mountains. The highest elevation of the Garda mountains is Monte Baldo at 2,218 metres. The southern shore, on the other hand, is already in the northern Italian lowlands.

Most of the region is mountainous terrain above 900 metres (3,000 feet), including the Ötztal, Brenner, Zillertal (Aurine), and Pusteria Alps to the north, the Ortles and Adamello groups in the west, the Dolomites in the east, and the high plateaus of the interior. Some peaks of the border Alps are among the highest in Europe, notably Palla Bianca (Weisskugel: 3,738 metres [12,264 feet]) in the Ötztal Alps. Region is forested, but the valleys are quite densely populated and intensively cultivated. Vines and fruit trees are grown extensively on the hillsides.

Tourism in both summer and winter is also of prime importance. From the Lombardy Plain several roads converge on Trento. Road and railway then follow the main Adige River valley to Bolzano city and from there connect with Switzerland, the Brenner Pass, and Carinthia. Area 13,618 square km (5,258 square miles).