Lake Garda

Lake Garda or Benaco it is the largest Italian lake and its waters touch three regions: Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige. The surrounding territory is very varied: in the south it is surrounded by moraine hills, while the northern and highest part is enclosed by high mountain chains that create its fjord-like shape configuration and protect it, making its climate  particularly mild. The water, of a deep blue and of an excellent transparency, contributes to make lake Garda a very popular tourist destination.
Starting from the south and going up the west coast of the lake, we'd like to give you some suggestions of places not to be missed, in Lombardy.

SIRMIONE
Sirmione is an enchanting destination rich in history. The old town of Sirmione is located at the end of the narrow peninsula that makes its way into Lake Garda. A beautiful village to explore, with museums, villas and churches to visit, many of which are described in the inLombardia website
 Sirmione offers pleasant walks as many streets are flat, well paved and walkable without obstacles.
The town is also renowned for the "Terme di Sirmione - Aquaria": they are located in the old town and offer a wide choice of "experiences" from simple relaxation to prevention and treatment. These experiences are also suitable for people with disabilities and reduced mobility.
For information, please visit: https://www.termedisirmione.com/it
The old town is a no traffic zone with the exception of residents and of guests of the different accommodation facilities. Disabled pass holders can also freely access this area by car, without any permit, but there are no public parking areas.

In Viale Marconi, about 150 meters from the beginning of the old town, there is a large public parking area with blue stripes, with 7 lots reserved for disabled pass holders. The disabled pass allows you to stop for free even on blue stripes. The parking lot surface is in asphalt and flat and the path to the old town does not have obstacles. Close to the parking area there is a bus stop of the Arriva company, connecting Sirmione to Brescia, Verona and other cities on Lake Garda. Alternatively, you can directly reach the old town of Sirmione by the ferry service run by Gestione Navigazione Laghi.At this link you can find a map with the places we suggest you visit and the InfoPoint.
(For information on the accessibility of the InfoPoint, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet).

Rocca Scaligera
The entrance to the old town of Sirmione is ideally represented by the Rocca Scaligera, built for strategic purposes at the end of the 1200s. It is one of the best preserved Italian castles and has a docking which is a rare example of fortification for port use. Inside the large portico of the castle, a Roman and medieval lapidarium has been set up, as well as a brief exhibition with the most important information on the Rocca. A striking experience is to walk on the patrol walkways, as well as climb up to the highest tower of the fortress, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view.
For information on accessibility, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

Palazzo Maria Callas
It is located in the central Piazza Carducci, in the old town of Sirmione. It has an exhibition area of ​​over 400 square meters and a conference room that can accommodate more than 100 people. The Palace, which dates back to the late 1700s, takes its name from the great opera singer Maria Callas, who had lived here in the 1950s. Today it has been renovated by the Municipality of Sirmione  and it hosts exhibitions and major events.

Grotte di Catullo and the Archaeological Museum
Continuing the visit, at the end of the Sirmione peninsula, in an exceptional panoramic position, the remains of the largest and most luxurious private residence in northern Italy are preserved. Since the Renaissance, the place has been named "Grottoes of Catullus" to define the collapsed rooms, covered by vegetation, within which one could enter as in natural cavities. The reference to Catullus derives from the verses of the Latin poet, who died in 54 BC, who wrote about Sirmione, defining it "a jewel among all the islands and peninsulas of the seas and lakes". The first excavations with scientific purposes of the site date back to the mid-nineteenth century but, only after the public acquisition of the area between 1947 and 1949, extensive research was carried out that led to the publication of a first guide of the complex, correctly interpreted as sumptuous villa.

At the entrance to the park, the Antiquarium , in addition to the general plan of the villa, displays photographic evidence of excavations, restorations and particularly interesting finds such as floor mosaics, bronze and ceramic objects, fragments of stuccos, frescoes and a sculpture depicting the head of one of the Dioscuri. An interesting study on this exceptional archaeological site can be found at this link
The Grottoes of Catullo can be reached on foot and they are less than one kilometre from the old town in the last part of the peninsula. In summer you can reach the area on an electric train.
For information on the accessibility of the Grottoes of Catullus, consult the relative detailed sheet.

DESENZANO DEL GARDA
In the middle ages, Desenzano del Garda was a small fiefdom: from the tenth century it was owned by the city of Verona and later was under the dominion of Brescia. In the early 1200s the city, which in the meantime had built a castle, was among the first to be under the dominion of the Republic of Venice. Desenzano is one of the main gateways to lake Garda, thanks to the importance of its connections. It is in fact served by the Milan-Venice A4 motorway and by a railway station that is accessible to people with disabilities, on the Milan-Venice high-speed line.

In its old town there are several bus lines coming from Brescia, Verona and other cities on lake Garda that are also connected by the boats run by Gestione Navigazione Laghi company. The lakefront of Desenzano offers a pleasant walk, with a splendid lake view; the path is wide, flat, with a good paving. The streets of the old town near the lakefront, flat and with a good paving, are very lively and full of restaurants, cafeterias and shops.

At this link you can find a map with the places we suggest you visit and the InfoPoint, (for information on the accessibility of the info point, consult the relative detailed information sheet). This itinerary is a proposal: the information on the accessibility of the various places can be found in the relevant information sheets.

The castle
A great way for discovering Desenzano is to start from the Castle, overlooking the village. In fact, from its terrace you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Lake Garda. Probably built on a Roman "castrum" to defend against the barbarian invasions, the castle was rebuilt in the mediaeval Commune era and strengthened in the fifteenth century, when it contained 120 houses and a church dedicated to S. Ambrogio. Of the imposing building today we just have the walls, with their four towers, and the entrance tower with the remains of a drawbridge.
At this link, you can find a photo gallery and practical information for your visit
For information on accessibility, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

The Cathedral
Dedicated to S. Maria Maddalena, the cathedral was built on the remains of an ancient church between 1586 and 1611. The façade has Baroque decorative elements, while the interior, with three naves, is one of the best examples of the Late Renaissance in the province of Brescia. A work of great value, which is worth the visit, is "the Last supper " by Giovan BattistaTiepolo (1738),  in the chapel of the SS. Sacramento.
For information on the accessibility of the Cathedral, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

The Roman villa
A trip to Desenzano del Garda must include a visit to the most important archaeological testimony of the great late Roman "villae" in northern Italy.
The remains, discovered between 1921-1923, refer to a period between the end of the I century BC and the V century AC. Among these, mosaic floors are very beautiful. The villa was built in a splendid position a few meters from the coast, along the southern shore of Lake Garda. 
Within the perimeter of the archaeological area, in addition to a large area of ​​greenery, is the Antiquarium that displays a rich selection of finds from the Villa. At this link you can find more information on the archaeological site.
At this link you can find information on accessibility.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Desenzano offers interesting opportunities for people with disabilities who love outdoor activities: there are two beaches equipped for people with disabilities and a sailing club that allows everyone to practice this sport.
The Centro Balneare Desenzanino is located on the lakefront of Desenzano, about 600 meters from the old town.
The Classic Rock Beach Cafe runs the beach of Rivoltella sul Garda, a village about 3 km from Desenzano.

Both resorts offer disabled tourists the following services: accessible path to reach the beach; flat beach (in gravel); walkway to get to the lake; JOB chairs for entering water and outdoor showers; equipped  toilets for people with disabilities; accessible bar.

VelAbile: trip and sailing courses for people with disabilities
The sailing club Fraglia Vela is located in Desenzano. This club launched the VelAbile project in order to promote sailing activity for people with disabilities (motor, visual, cognitive, and with autism spectrum syndrome). Tourists with disabilities can take part in group boat trips for recreational purposes (one day or half day depending on the disability) or attend one week dedicated sailing courses.
The sailing club has a bar, a restaurant and  equipped toilets for people with disabilities; all the area is accessible. The club can also suggest accessible accommodation facilities.
For information and reservations, please contact:
tel. +39 030 9143343 – mail: info@fragliavela.it – website: http://www.fragliavela.it/
the headquarter is in Porto Maratona: here is the map

SALÒ
In the homonymous gulf sheltered from the winds, the town of Salò, thanks to its central position and close to the main roads, is considered a point of reference for the whole area. Its importance is above all historical: Salò was the capital of the Magnifica Patria during the Venetian domination and was the headquarter of  many ministries of the fascist government of the Italian Social Republic. Traces of this past can be seen in the old town.
The lakefront promenade of Salò offers a pleasant walk, with a splendid lake view and many cafeterias with outdoor tables. The path is wide, flat, with a good paved paving and cobblestones.The street, that runs parallel to the lake is full of shops, is flat and in cobblestones.
Going inland, the village climbs along the hill and the slope of the streets becomes steeper.
At this link you can find a map with the places we suggest you visit and the InfoPoint
(for information on the accessibility of the info point, consult the relative detailed information sheet).

This itinerary is a proposal: the information on the accessibility of the various places can be found in the relevant information sheets.

The Cathedral
Dedicated to the Annunziata, it was rebuilt on the ruins of an older building between 1453 and 1502 in late Gothic style, divided into three naves by columns in grey stone. Today of this building only remain the structures of the bell tower and the windows with terracotta cornices on the right side and the Sala del Capitolo where there are frescoes of the fifteenth century.
Between 1506 and 1509 the Renaissance portal of Gaspare da Coirano was added.
The ancient wall decoration of the end of the fifteenth century, have been eliminated by the various renovation campaigns carried out  during the nineteenth century and especially after the earthquake of 1901, that profoundly altered the look of the church; the original pictorial works have undergone a great change. In 1906, after the earthquake that had seriously damaged the ancient church of S. Bernardino, it was decided to move to the Cathedral the most important paintings preserved in that building,  among which, two works by Romanino.
For more information on the Cathedral, please visit this link
For information on the accessibility of the Cathedral, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

MuSa - Museum of Salò
MuSa is the Museum of Salò, inaugurated in August 2015 and today it hosts important exhibitions with masterpieces of rare beauty, thanks to its temporary exhibitions.
Inside the Santa Giustina complex, housing the MuSa, in addition to the prestigious temporary sections, there are permanent sections: the Museo del Nastro Azzurro, a collection of testimonies and unique documents in Italy dating back to the I and II World War, the Civica Raccolta del Disegno section, where there are graphic testimonies of art from the second post-war period to the present day, the  "Gasparo e la liuteria bresciana" section, with a series of instruments from important public and private collections and finally the "L’arte di una capitale (1426-1797)" section, a collection of paintings and sculptures related to the history of Salò from the Middle Ages to the Italian Social Republic. For information on the accessibility of the MuSa, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

GARDONE RIVIERA        
Dating back to Roman times, Gardone Riviera began to play an important role in Italian history under the rule of the Lombards. According to the scholars, this people gave the name to the country that, originally, was called "Warda" that is "an area of ​​military garrison, turret, observatory".
The lakefront promenade "Gabriele D’Annunzio “of Gardone offers a pleasant walk, with a splendid lake view and many cafeterias with outdoor tables. The path is wide, flat, with good paving. Corso Repubblica, the street that runs parallel to the lake, is full of shops; it is also flat, in cobblestones.
Going inland, the village climbs along the hill and the slope of the streets becomes steeper.
At this link you can find a map with the places we suggest you visit and the InfoPoint,
For information on the accessibility of the InfoPoint, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.
This itinerary is a proposal: the information on the accessibility of the various places can be found in the relevant information sheets.

The Vittoriale
Gardone Riviera is famous above all for having hosted Gabriele D'Annunzio, who, between 1921 and 1938, asked architect Gian Carlo Maronito to build the "Vittoriale degli Italiani" to celebrate his life as a soldier and the exploits of the Italian people during the First World War.

The Vittoriale degli Italiani is a complex consisting of buildings, streets, squares, museums, auditoriums, an outdoor theatre, gardens and streams. It is spread over a vast area of ​​nine hectares on a hilly area in a panoramic position.
Today the Vittoriale is a foundation that is open to the public, and every year it is visited by 180.000 persons.
For information on accessibility please click on this link

Church of San Nicolò
In Via Vittoriale, in the hamlet of Gardone di Sopra and a few minutes from the Vittoriale itself, you can find the Church of San Nicolò.
Completed in 1740 thanks to Paolo Soratini, a Camaldolese friar and architect who took care of the project, the church of San Nicolò was built on a previous and smaller cult building, dating back to the XIV century.
Externally, the elements of the facade are aimed at enhancing the rhythm and the overall movement. The interior, fully baroque, is a succession of almost exasperated stuccos, fake sets, frescoes, decorations, frames, by Francesco Monti.
The apse, facing the lake, is surrounded by a typical balcony from which to enjoy a broad horizon of the middle lake, from Punta San Vigilio to Peschiera, Sirmione, Rocca di Manerba and Isola del Garda.

For information on accessibility, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

Hellen Botanical Garden - Hruska
Gardone di Sotto and Gardone di Sopra are connected to each other by the Hellen Botanical Garden - Hruska, which is a very rich continental floral collection, where Africa and South America, Asia, Europe and Australia are melt together. The park has a great variety of plants and flowers, streams, ponds, waterfalls and many Indian and Moroccan sculptures.
A dense network of paths runs through the garden in every direction. The paths are paved in different materials: there are stretches of gravel, cobblestone, and concrete. Some paths have a width of at least 80 cm while others are very narrow and inaccessible. Some stretches are flat while others are sloping, with slopes ranging from slight to high.
For information on accessibility, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

GARGNANO
Further to the north, going up along the west coast of the lake, you meet Gargnano sul Garda, the largest resort, even if the least inhabited of the entire Lake Garda Brescia side. Gargnano is formed by several villages.
The lakeside promenade of Gargnano offers a pleasant walk, with a splendid lake view and many cafeterias with outdoor tables. The path is wide, flat, with a good cobblestone paving. The road that runs parallel to the lake is full of shops; it is also flat, with good cobblestone paving, open to traffic, without raised sidewalks. Going inland, the village climbs along the hill and the slope of the streets becomes steeper.

The two points of interest we 'd like to suggest are less than 300 meters away.

Limonaia La Malora
An ancient building dating back to 1500 and used for the cultivation of lemons: the Limonaia La Malora has a unique structure and unlike the neighbouring lemon groves, now mostly abandoned or reused as houses or gardens, it is still a productive limonaia, perfectly preserved and open to visitors. The itinerary includes 13 interesting stages that illustrate the ancient traditional method of cultivation of lemons and allow you to know this plant and its characteristics. The scents of flowers and fruits, the chance to touch them, the opportunity to taste the natural products of the Limonaia is an intense and unique sensory experience.
The cultivated terraces climb up the slopes of the hill: in various points the lemon-house has steep staircases with narrow and irregular steps, and dirt paths with an irregular surface.
For information on accessibility, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

Church and cloister of San Francesco
It was built at the entrance of the village, in 1289, as part of a Franciscan convent.
In the fourteenth century the facade was modified by adding statues in niches (S. Antonio, from 1301), a sarcophagus in red marble (from a local school, 1302). The Church of San Francesco has a single nave with vaulted roof, but originally had probably to be divided into three naves. In the apse there are three chapels with ribbed vaults. From the southern side you can reach the chapel of S. Rocco, which was the original sacristy.

Along the southern side of the church stands the cloister, which dates back to the first half of the fourteenth century. It is square cloister,  characterized by a portico with inflected arches of clear Venetian derivation. Near the entrance of the cloister, there is a porphyry sarcophagus resting on columns with crochet capitals?? and with acroteria decorated with a rosette motif. Originally the sarcophagus was in a chapel (demolished in 1921) near the church together with an arcosolium that constituted the entrance of a covered cemetery located in front of the cloister.
For information on accessibility, please consult the relevant detailed information sheet.

BY FERRY ON THE LAKE
Gestione Navigazione Laghi connects the main towns on the shores of Lake Garda. For information, please visit: http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/
The service welcomes passengers with disabilities and reduced mobility; for more information on fares, the accessibility of boats and docks and the assistance service, please visit: http://www.navigazionelaghi.it/assistenza-disabili.aspx
Boats are a very interesting means of transport for tourists with disabilities, because they generally reach the centre of each village, where the territory is more suitable for people with reduced mobility: usually the lakefront and the neighbouring streets are flat and easily accessible even for people with reduced mobility.

The boat also allows you to avoid congested traffic and the search for a parking place.

09/10/2018