For those who live or are on vacation in Torri del Benaco or the surrounding area, the ferry line Torri-Maderno provides an excellent opportunity to visit the Brescian shores of Lake Garda.
Departure times are distributed throughout the day but an early morning departure allows to visit many of the main attractions in the different places.
Here is a list of the most important
Place to visit
- 1- Departure from Torri del Benaco
- 2- Toscolano-Maderno: the valley of the paper mills, the paper museum and the excavations of the Roman villa
- 3- Gardone Riviera: the Vittoriale degli Italiani, the Heller Garden
- 4- Salo’: the lakefront and the Duomo
- 5- Manerba: the Rocca
- 6- Moniga: the medieval castle
- 7- Desenzano: the Roman villa, the archaeological museum
- 8- San Martino della Battaglia: the tower, the ossuary
- 9- Sirmione: the Scaligero castle, the Catullo caves, the thermal baths
Toscolano Maderno, situated in an enchanting position on the west coast of Lake Garda, is part of the Alto Garda Bresciano Park.
The municipality brings together two very distinct inhabited centers, both of Roman origin, witnessed by numerous archaeological finds including the grandiose Villa dei Nonii Arrii.
Villa dei Nonii Arrii
The Roman villa of the Nonii Arrii is located just a few meters from the entrance of the paper mill of Toscolano and is one of the most important Roman residential buildings on the shores of the Lake.
The complex extended not far from the lake shore, the main facade was directed to the lake. The general layout, its size and the architectural and decorative features make it a part of the group of villas located on the shores of the Benacus, the best known examples of which are the villas in Sirmione, (“Caves of Catullus”) and Desenzano del Garda.
The valley of the paper mills (Valle delle Cartiere)
IIn the Valle delle Cartiere the year 1962 marks the end of paper production. The Maina Inferiore factory now houses the paper museum. In the year 1993 the municipality of Toscolano assumed the ownership of the Valley and chose to plan the rebirth of this unique place considered today one of the most important industrial archaeology site in North Italy.
The Paper mill Valley with its river Toscolano cutting through its steep rock faces, has got an ancient history of papermaking, dating back to 1381. Today is a unique place where history and nature weave together to give visitors a fascinating experience. The intense production of paper has left indelible remains, nestled in a peculiar vegetation: Mediterranean plants such as laurels, cypresses, holm oaks as well as downy oaks, ash trees and hornbeams typical of low-altitude Alpine woodlands grow together with alders and willows found primarily on moist soils.
Gardone Riviera, “garden city” of the western shore of Lake Garda, is the city of Gabriele D’Annunzio, who made this town his residence after the Second World War by creating the Vittoriale degli Italiani.
Of ancient origins, Gardone dates back at least to the Longobard Middle Ages, as can be deduced from the name recalling Garda, from the German “warda”, meaning fortress. Gardone consists of the districts Gardone Sotto, Gardone Sopra, Fasano Sotto and Fasano Sopra. The hills that surround the village provide a mild microclimate, alternating with Central European and Mediterranean vegetation such as citrus, cypress and agave.
Today it is one of the most renowned holiday resorts. In the luxuriant vegetation, villas, large hotels, parks, gardens and picturesque districts line up. Beautiful the peaceful lakefront, the real living room of the Garda coast.
Within 10,000 square meters there are botanical species from all over the world, from Alps to Himalaya, from Mato Grosso to New Zeland, from Japan to Australia, from Canada to Africa.
A green world that unites nature with art, both of international stature, among the sculptures of artists such as Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Erwin Novak, Susanne Schmoegner, Rudolph Hirt.
Several groups of plants are joined together by a criss crossing of paths accompanied by rest areas.
A garden where different environments mingle, but where the objective of naturalness and environmental love becomes the unifying element. This is the most luxurius botanical garden in Italy and it’s so rich that cannot be summarized in a visit and changes skin every year and every season.
Vittoriale degli Italiani – Gabriele D’Annunzio
The Vittoriale degli italiani (English translation: The shrine of Italian victories) is a hillside estate in the town of Gardone Riviera overlooking the Garda lake in province of Brescia, Lombardy. It is where the Italian writer Gabriele d’Annunzio lived after his defenestration in 1922 until his death in 1938. The estate consists of the residence of d’Annunzio called the Prioria (priory), an amphitheatre, the protected cruiser Puglia set into a hillside, a boathouse containing the MAS vessel used by D’Annunzio in 1918 and a circular mausoleum. Its grounds are now part of the “Grandi Giardini Italiani”.
Salò (Latin: Salodium) was the seat of government of the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945, often being referred to as the “Salò Republic” (Repubblica di Salò in Italian).
Its significant artistic and historical heritages allow tourists to visit this place in every season of the year, rediscovering curious and interesting aspects every time.
Il Duomo di Salo’
The Church of Santa Maria Annunziata, the “Duomo di Salò”, is the main religious building (Duomo) of the town.
The construction of the church, dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, was begun in 1453 by the architect Filippo delle Vacche of Caravaggio, Lombardy. It is built in the Late Gothic style to replace the previous edifice that stood at the site. Its façade remains unfinished.
Of particular interest is its “Rocca”, a promontory from whose top one can admire one of the most suggestive views of Lake Garda.
On the top of the Rocca, thanks to restoration and archaeological and environmental enhancement, it is possible to see the remains of the ancient medieval castle and other ancient structures.
Archaeological excavations in the area below the Rocca, area of the “Sasso”, have uncovered traces of a Mesolithic settlement that testify to the presence of human beings from around 8000 to 5000 years ago.
On the side of the ruins that look towards the lake, a steep and partly difficult path, allows to go down to the Park of the Rocca of Manerba.
In the woods that cover most of the Park’s territory, there are native trees and bushes, such as the black hornbeam, the oak oak, the butcher’s broom, the honeysuckle and the hellebore that coexist with trees and bushes typical of the Mediterranean scrubland.
In the heart of the Valtenesi area, Moniga stands the massive 280-meter rectangular wall of the ancient castle, a typical construction from the time of the Hungarian invasions (10th century). From the castle, going down to the small port among olive trees, vineyards and gardens, stands the inhabited center characterized by ancient buildings and characteristic corners.
Desenzano presents a particularly rich artistic, historic and archaeological heritage, starting from the Roman era.
SAN MARTINO DELLA BATTAGLIA
San Martino della Battaglia is a fraction of the municipality (comune) Desenzano del Garda.
The place got its present name after the historic battle of San Martino (June 24, 1859) in the Sardinian War, in which the forces of the Kingdom of Sardinia, led by Vittorio Emanuele II, allied with the Frenchman Napoleon III, the Austrians, led by Emperor Franz Joseph, defeated.
There are two places of great interest that bear witness to these events, the Tower of San Martino, which the Sardinian army conquered, lost and taken back several times against the Austrians, erected to honor the memory of King Vittorio Emanuele II and those who fought for the independence of Italy and the museum of Solferino which exhibits some specimens of cannons, weapons, uniforms and various relics of the historic day of June 24th 1859.
The historical centre is located on the “Sirmio”, peninsula, that divides the lower part of Lake Garda. Its ancient origins saw it as the basis of human settlements in the Neolithic, a fortified control post of the lower lake in Roman times, an archaeological attraction of world importance. Place to visit: the “Rocca Scaligera”, the “Grotte di Catullo”, the Baths with the presence of sulphurous waters
Il Castello Scaligero
The Scaligero Castle (13th century). This is a rare example of medieval port fortification, which was used by the Scaliger fleet. The building of this complex started in 1277 by Mastino della Scala. It presents the typical Ghibelline swallowtail merlons and the curtain-walls (with three corner towers) in pebbles alternating with two horizontal bands of brick courses. The walls on the inside were finished with plaster with graffiti, simulating blocks of stone. The castle stands at a strategic place at the entrance to the peninsula. It is surrounded by a moat and it can only be entered by two drawbridges. The castle was established mainly as a protection against enemies, but also against the locals. The main room houses a small museum with local finds from the Roman era and a few medieval artifacts.
Le Terme di Sirmione
Over 3500 square meters of covered area, 6500 square meters of park, 700 square meters of thermal water for maximum wellness and relaxation: this is Aquaria, the Spa and Health Centre of Terme di Sirmione. Inside you will find a “world” of wellness: thermal pools, effervescent beds, hydromassages, relaxing pools, sweet- water pool with a stunning view of the Garda Lake, gym, aroma and color therapy, 12 wellness cabins for the utmost relaxation.
The thermal water of Sirmione comes from Mount Baldo basin, then reaches 2000 meters below sea level, where water has a temperature of 69°. After this, the water comes up to the source Boiola and follows its way to two springs, which are called Virgilio and Catullo.
The thermal water of Sirmione is very rich in minerals and has peeling, anti-inflammatory and immunostimulating properties: it is famous all over the world for its various benefits, especially in branches like dermatology and vascular science.