Garda History

The architectural and cultural history of Garda, Italy. Churches, castles, origins and historic figures.

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It is thought that Garda gave its name to the lake due to its important strategic position on the south-east shore, coming from the Gothic word ‘warda’ meaning observing, the prominent ‘Rocca’ was used as an integral fortification point for the area. Nowadays this town is considered the most medieval on the lake due to the architectural remnants of the Middle-Ages. Historical remains from the Bronze-age through to the 16th century make this town rich in culture and background. Passing through the hands of time the town was initially a Roman Village and later controlled by the Goths, Lombards and Franks with the Della Scala and Visconti dynasties preceding the rule. Due to its location its economy has greatly relied on the trading of fish since the republic of Venice.

The town is dominated by the old Camaldolite monastery and the Rocca fortress giving it instant historical character and the Old village of Garda, the town’s historical centre is filled with a wealth of historical sights. Walk through the narrow streets to take a journey through time.

La Rocca di Garda

The Rocca of Garda is telling of the risk of invasion that many towns surrounding Lake Garda were subjected to. The Fortress that previously stood on the hill, towering over the town was built in the 15th century and aided the town’s fortification acting as a strategic observation point.

Villa Albertini

The villa is a grand attraction with a huge, scenic park that stretches across the hill; fountains, cloisters, waterfalls, towers and panoramic views make for a picturesque and enchanting stroll through the gardens. It was built in the 16th century by the Becelli family who were the wealthy owners of Costermano and the coastline between Garda and San Vigilio. The 18th century saw it pass in to the hands of Count Degli Albertini, giving the villa its name and it is appearance as a medieval castle. The villa has hosted a number of note-worthy figures through the years such as The King Carlo Alberto, during the first war of independence as well as football legend Franz Beckenbauer.

Pallazzo dei capitani

This palace, built in the 14th century is a fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture. It was given its name as the home of the captain of Lake Garda who represented the Venetian government by ensuring its security and preventing smugglers form entering and leaving the town.

Rock Carvings

On the Monte Luppia, behind Punta San Vigilio you can take a walk through the lustrous hillside to come across beautiful views and intriguing rock carvings dating back to the prehistoric period. Around 3000 engravings have been found on the 250 rocks catalogued. It is believed that the bush hammering technique was used, a common form of art in the period, and was carried out by hersdmen and hunters travelling through the area. You will see inscriptions of human figures, weapons, animals, religious symbols, geometric shapes and inscriptions.

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