History of Lake Garda

History of Lake Garda


Lake Garda:

Garda Lake is the largest lake in Italy and the third deepest after Lake Como and Maggiore. Apart from its numerous natural wonders, mild climate and its historical importance, nowadays the Lake Garda is mostly known for tourism. As it is so close to the northern border of Italy, the lake is mostly visited by tourists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The lake was formed by a glacier towards the end of the last Ice Age. This is the reason why it is of a typical form of a lake made by a glacier - narrow and deep.

The influence of the Roman Empire grew constantly in the region of the Lake Garda, which was populated by the Cenomani tribe. The first allegiance between the Romans and the Cenomani occurred already in 225 BC, while the complete Romanization of the region happened between 2nd and 1st century BC. In 268, a large battle occurred on the banks of the Lake Benaco (the name of the Lake Garda in the Roman period) in which German coalition forces Alemanni were defeated by the Roman Imperator Claudius II (commonly known as Claudius Gothicus) in which Alemanni suffered great losses and the security of the northern border was ensured for a long time.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Lombards occupied the southern and eastern banks of the Lake Garda. In the 13th century the whole of its eastern bank fell under the rule of Scaligera Family of Verona (family alla Scala), which built numerous impressive defensive structures, such as: Sirmione Fortress, Malcesine Fortress, Riva del Garda Fortress (on the Lake Garda) and a vast defensive wall east of the lake. In the 14th century, the territory of the lake fell under the rule of Visconti Family (Dukes of Milan), while already in the 15th century the eastern banks were under the rule of the Venetian Republic. In 1426, even its western banks fell under the rule of Venice.

For a long time it was peaceful on the Lake Garda. This peace was interrupted by the fightings in the Spanish Succession Wars in 1701 and the Napoleonic Wars in 1796. In fights between France and Austria in the Napoleonic Wars, the area around the lake was often a scene of battles.

After the Third Independence War, the area that once belonged to Venetian Republic became part of the Kingdom of Italy, while only the northern part of Lake Garda remained under the Austrian rule. The northern part of the lake became the Italian territory only after the end of the First World War.

Did you know?

  • Lake Garda, with its 370 m2 surface, is the largest lake in Italy and the third deepest (after Lake Como and Maggiore). The length of the lake is around 52 km, maximum width 17km while the circumference of the lake is 159 km. The deepest point of the lake is 346 meters.
  • The Theatre alla Scala in Milan owes its name to the Scaligera Family of Verona (family alla Scala) who ruled over the area of Lake Garda for a long time. Beatrice, Regina della Scala was married to Bernabo Visconti who became the Duke of Milan. The church Santa Maria alla Scala was built in honor of Beatrice in 1381. This church was demolished in 1776 in order to make space for the new theatre, the theatre that soon became known as Theatre alla Scala.
  • In 1786, the famous German writer Wolfgang Goethe stayed in Malcesine and Torbole on Lake Garda.

Tourist destinations in Italy:


The city of canals and alleyways, numerous islands and bridges, the city of gondolas and wondrous vistas, jaw dropping architecture, postcard - perfect palaces, the city of the carnival and the masks, in a nut shell – a city one can fall in love with quite easily. All of these words seem to describe Venice as one of the most well-known tourist destinations in the world. Venice offers loads to visitors: stunningly beautiful palaces and superb buildings that will take you on a trip through the rich history of this unique city, numerous canals to cross either on foot or by a gondola, a number of islands that still seem to stay hidden to most tourists, as well as a huge number of tourist sights and museums. As the saying goes, even the Venetians get lost in Venice.

Discover Venice


The eternal city, a city of glorious past, a city of chequered history, the cradle of Roman Catholic Church - are just some attributes that distinguish Rome from other popular tourist destinations. Tourists will be able to take a peek at the beauty and glory of once the most important city in the world and to enjoy its more modern architectural marvels, mostly built by a number of different popes in quick or slow succession. Don’t just visit Colosseum and Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Rome has so much more to offer.

Discover Rome


Ravenna is a city of history, numerous monuments that stand in silent testimony of its turbulent past as well as its fame and glory as the capital city of many an empire and kingdom. The main attractions of Ravenna are certainly its churches and mosaics that all date back to the 5th and 6th century and the early Christian societies in Europe. The scale and splendour of colorful Byzantine mosaics, their historical significance as well as monuments that date back to the Ostrogoths were even recognized by UNESCO who included eight sites in this small city on their World Heritage list. Ravenna is a city which lets its visitors to embark on a journey through history and especially through the history of Byzantine, from the civilization of which only but a faint remnant has survived throughout the world.

Discover Ravenna


Milano is a city of fashion, a city fascinated with the idea of beauty, a city of stunningly beautiful Gothic architecture, a city of compelling culture, a city of the young, city of fabulous fairs and architectural accomplishments. All of these attributes seem to describe Milan, which is the business capital of Italy, which oozes its charm to its visitors in a matter of seconds. To a contemporary tourist Milan offers grand, awe inspiring buildings, a multitude of museums, riveting religious buildings, its culture as a mixture of the modern trends and the tradition that goes all the way back to the Roman Empire, glitz and glamour of its shopping malls and different nightlife zones that will appeal to the tastes of all visitors.

Discover Milan

Lake Garda

This is the page dedicated to Lake Garda on which you can find a complete tourist guide and suggestions about what to visit while planning your trip to the lake. Lake Garda is one of three great lakes in the northern Italy. Its lovely little towns on the shores of the lake draw an incredible number of tourists each year, who flock there for its mild and mellow climate, strolls on the lake shores, traditional Italian cuisine and of course to stand in awe before the heritage of this region laid bare for us to gaze at in a host of castles, wondrous villas and picturesque villages and dainty little towns.

Discover Lake Garda


The city of Pisa rises above the docks of Arno river. Pisa is one of the most important cities in Tuscany and it is well known in the world thanks to the city’s famous symbol, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We could say that Pisa is both, an ancient city, proud of it’s middle ages past, when Pisa was one of the leading naval force in Europe, and a modern city, full of positive energy that comes from its numerous students, as Pisa has three of the most important universities in Italy. Even if most famous monument in Pisa is the leaning Tower, it is not the only one in this city. Bell Tower of San Nicola Church and the church of San Michele of Scalzi are the other two leaning towers in Pisa.

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Lake Como

With its gardens with a riot of colour, wonderful villas and splendid panoramic views Lake Como has become one of the most visited tourist places in Italy. The compellingly beautiful Lake Como seems to have enchanted artists and travelers for centuries: from famous Giuseppe Verdi and Vicenzo Bellini who apparently wrote his opera “Norma” here, to Gioacchino Rossini and a French writer Flaubert.

Discover Lake Como

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