Torbole History

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

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Set on a back drop of limestone hills, the small fishing town of Torbole is scattered with a number of historical sites, many of which are now in ruins from the French invasion of the 18th century. Evidence suggests that the town was heavily populated during the Roman era, a Roman road passing through the St Lucia Valley has consequently been used as a vital route of communication throughout the ages. Part of the third Lombard war between Venice and Milan was fought in the area and for the majority of the 15th century the town came under Venetian control which is evidenced in the traditional fishermen’s houses dotted around the harbour.

The Atesina route between Italy and Germany had brought many travellers through the town since the 16th century, however, it was after the visit and praise of Goethe in 1786 when tourism flourished and artists from the romantic world flocked to the shores to instil their mark on the picturesque town. It was evacuated during the Great War and as with many of the towns surrounding the lake, the tourist industry took off again after the Second World War.

Austro-Hungarian Forts in Nago

The remains of the fort are visible today as a reminder of the careful defensive strategies that were taken by the town against invasion. Strategically positioned high on the hill-side, they offered an important observation point over the lake. The building now houses the civic museum.

Penede Castle

Now in ruins, this medieval fortress can be seen on the rocky crag towering above Nago. The fortress would have stood in a vital defensive position with a view over the lake. It was fought over for years and was finally destroyed by French troops during the invasions at the beginning of the 18th century. It now stands as a reminder of the countless invasions that the area of Lake Garda was subjected to through the centuries.

Saint Andrea Church

This charming church, dedicated to the patron saint of fishing, looks over the old town of Torbole to give an impressive view of the surrounding lake. Its origin is first documented in 1159 and in 1703 it was destroyed by French troops and rebuilt in baroque style. A valuable feature of this church is the 18th century canvas by Giambettino Cignaroli of the martyrdom of Saint Andrea.

Marmitte Glacial era wella

Also known as the Giants kettle due to its impressive size and peculiar shape, these vast caves were formed when the glacier met the rock during the glaciation period around 10,000 BC. You can explore these giant lime-stone caverns along the road connecting Nago to Torbole.

Churches in Nago

The 13th century S. Vigilio parish church and 18th century Baroque Trinita church can be found in the village of Nago situated on the hills above Torbole. These picturesque buildings are telling of the periods of history that Torbole has seen.

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