I was standing in front of the largest lake in Italy standing atop a hill when I heard myself saying, “Beauty personified!”  Lake Garda or what the Italians call Lago di Garda or Benaco came in my tour half way while going from Venice to Milan. Glaciers from the high rise Alps gushed their water into this lake, and added a touch of nature’s fierceness to its calm placidity.

Lake-Garda-ItalyWikimedia/S. Longstone

I observed how the northern part of the lake was comparatively narrower and was surrounded by mountains which belonged to the Gruppo del Baldo. Standing on top of a hill I could see three islands in it. When I asked the guide he told me that actually the lake had five islands in it.

The largest one, Isola Del Garda was distinctly visible with all its might. Towards the southern part was the Isola San Biagio (some call it the Island of Rabbits). The other three islands were Isola dell’Olivo, Isola di Trimelone and Isola di Sogno. The lake was filled up by many small streams, the main tributary being Sarca River, while the waters rushed out from the only opening to the river Mincio.

The mild climate was so typical of the Mediterranean, the olive trees rising high touching the sky, the locals being so helpful the untouched serenity of nature at its best, there was no doubt in my mind that this place had the potential to become one of the most amazing tourist destinations in the world.

Wherever I go somehow I stumble upon some or the other piece of history. It is a natural connection I guess! Coming here I did not expect to find anything, to be honest, but when I was told about the ancient town of Sirmione which had been fortified and how the Roman poet Catullus lived in his magnificent villa near and some small other tidbits about the local history, I couldn’t resist giving a feeble smile to the guide leading us about. Le Grotto di Catullo was a treat to the eyes.

There is also a theme park nearby with the name Gadaland which although quite famous here in Italy, I did not get to visit. Neither could I see the Cathedral of Salo, another popular spot. But nevertheless I was really happy with my short pit stop at this place. Although I wouldn’t have minded staying there for a longer duration, I had to get to my next destinations near Lake Garda, namely Malcesine with its medieval castle and Bardolino, where I intended to check out the thermal baths.

Alan, Manchester

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