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Its name well depicts its role in the past, so important as to rechristen the entire expanse of water, replacing the Lacus Benacus of the ancient Romans.
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Garda in fact probably derives from the German warte, or 'guard', alluding to the fortress built to defend the area on the summit of the hill which looks over the land.
The dense vegetation, rich in cypresses and lemon orchards, surrounds the town, which bursts forth in a magical atmosphere rich in blues and greens, revealing all its distinguished history: this is the magic of a holiday in Garda.
Its origins can be traced back to prehistoric times, as witnessed by the necropolis and stone carvings along the route leading to Torri del Benaco.
Garda was a Roman then Longobard settlement, before passing to the Franks, and in more recent times has seen the construction of many villas which convey a sense elegance of to this illustrious locality. Even today holidays in Garda continue to keep the tradition going.
It should not be forgotten, however, that the wealth of the location has always been from fishing, a tradition which remains vibrant today: for example the traditional Palio in August of typical boats known as bisse, and the Sardellata al Pal del Vo', another summer festival consisting of an evening of sardine fishing to eat the catch the same night on the boats. It is worth planning your holiday in Garda also for these delightful folk celebrations.
Of rare beauty is the lake shore promenade Regina Adelaide with the sumptious edifices facing it: Palazzo del Capitano, Villa Albertini, and Palazzo Carlotti with the Losa, the 16th century loggia. The entrance to the old town is through the ancient clocktower, and one is immediately met with the splendour of the 17th century Palazzo Fregoso.
Also meriting a visit is the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, which contains a Carolingian ciborium and 15th century fresco.
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