THE LOMBARDY REGION IS CALLED “THE LAND OF LAKES”.
Well, here it is possible to find a region inside the region. This is represented by Brescia, giving home to the most famous and important European lake: Lake Garda. This lake, which has no secrets, is frequented by a cosmopolitan tourism, and it is a place where famous poets and celebrated writers lived and represented it with intense images and descriptions. Nevertheless, this lake is offering to the visitor its thousand features, corners and landscapes always original and greatly fascinating. Real crossroad of different habitats, the Mediterranean climate of the Lake Garda favourites an assortment of vegetation all along its border: sweet vineyard hills, lemon trees, terraces of secular olive trees, steep slopes culminating in peaks over the lake, natural parks and flowered gardens, creating the nature inside the nature.
The thousand adjectives this lake can be described with are all equally powerful: light blue, Mediterranean, elegant, wide, solar, surprising. The Lake Garda has always been the preferred destination of a Cosmopolitan and demanding tourism, being a particular place as well as ideal set for vacations, with its natural chromatic scales arisen from the continuous change between sky and water and mountains. The prestigious residences, that man built since remote ages, are respectfully and harmoniously inserted in an undamaged environment, whose history lived through its traditional small villages, melted with new constructions representing, however, the expression of an improved urban sensitivity.
Thanks to the quality of its environment, the Lake Garda is one of the preferred places of the international tourism. Even though it is also important for its geographical position, precisely at the centre of art cities like Brescia, Mantova, Bergamo, Milano, Verona and Trento; moreover, the high standard of the services offered and the availability of road infrastructures make it easily reachable. Like in an unaware Competition, traditional fishermen villages compete for the traveller’s admiration with small villages located up in the mountains or elegant and modern towns.
The changing landscape goes from the sweet hills of the Valtenesi, where excellent wines are produced, as well as precious olive oil, to the sudden slopes of the High Garda area, which is a place anciently dedicated to fishing and the cultivation of lemon trees, passing through natural gardens of bougainvilleas, palms and cypresses, testifying its mild climate. It is in this natural variety that the fascination of Lake Garda is expressed, together with its skill to propose itself in always new characteristics enchanting and catching everybody’s consideration: rough landscapes and romantic and cosy places, breathless views and corners, which seems to be discovered by anybody visiting them as the first and sole explorer.
A unique spectacle is offered by the Sirmione peninsula, which is entering the lake with its narrow line of land and ending with its antique village; not far from there, the enchantment of Mediterranean nature wraps the historical Liberty villas of Gardone Riviera, Salň, Gargnano; the rocky terraces and the breathless landscapes of Tremosine and Tignale, as well as the uncontaminated nature of the Valvestino, which pushes the traveller to emotional strolls in the green nature; modern towns like Limone and Desenzano are proposing themselves to a varied and international public.
The Lake Iseo is the perfect place for lovers of nature, and since long it is appreciated for its modern welcoming organization, that was talented to maintain undamaged the typical environmental attractions and the simple atmospheres of its small hotels and the many small restaurants facing on its coastline. Windsurf, sails and motorboats cross the lake and represent the easiest way to reach the small and fascinating islands of San Paolo and Loreto: these islands can be also admired (from a completely different prospective) by the many hang gliders, which have here the ideal conditions to enjoy.
The green hills and the changing colours of the waters, deep and abundant of fish, define the borders of the lake and exalt the extraordinary presence of Montisola, which is the largest lake island in Europe and the real symbol of the Lake Iseo. Who is not dreaming to possess an island? Montisola is really a dream, for some reasons still tied up to old times, when the inhabitants of its typical villages handed down the traditions of fishing net manufacture and the construction of boats. Traditions which are still nowadays a pleasant attraction for the visitors, who are incredulous to hire a bicycle or a boat for the island visit instead of catching a bus: on the island, in fact, it is banned the car circulation.
Pleasant strolls can be made among romantic small ports and well conserved old village centres, through narrow streets, climbing to the height of Montisola to the sanctuary of the Madonna della Cerinola. The traditional hospitality together with a modern tourist organization are the main characteristics of all the villages boarding the Lake Iseo; but it is important to remember that Iseo is also an amusing place for the younger, represented by many swimming pools, the practising of windsurf, sailing and canoeing. Moreover, this lake is inserted in a context of great environmental and historical richness, offering opportunities of excursions among the beautiful hills and vineyards of Franciacorta (excellence area of quality sparkling wines) or to the mountains of the Camonica Valley.
The Lake Idro is the highest lake in Lombardy (it is situated at 370 metres altitude); this small jewel gathers in itself the fascination of the mountain lakes, characterized by their clean waters and their charming views open to the surrounding valleys. This blue spot in the green of nature is set at the feet of the mountains around, easily reachable and surprising for their spectacular views. Its clear waters and the wooded mountains surrounding make of it a inimitable and regenerating place, able to be a relaxing place and in the same time to offer different sports for the younger (mainly sailing and windsurf), or to be the starting point of hikes in the mountains. Thanks to particular microclimate conditions, in this area there is a variety of vegetation that is usually met at higher altitudes: grassy fields reduce or even interrupt harsh and sharp peaks typical of the Dolomites landscape, while the shapes of a typical mountain fauna reflex in the lake abundant with fish. Hotels and restaurants, camping and touristy villages, born on the sweet slopes descending to the lake, are welcoming the travellers with an atmosphere of simple cordiality and true frankness.
For us, as lovers of the good local food, it is a pleasure to visit the many small restaurants (often family managed) that are offering pasta with “salmě” (hare dressing), the typical “spiedo bresciano” (various types grilled meat slowly cooked on the fire), and more roasted meat and thousand of recipes of lake fish. The strong relationship with the local traditions is also expressed in the popular feasts . It is well known, also outside the regional confines, the Carnival parade, held every February in Bagolino. The rites, the costumes and the folklore represented by the colourful masks date back to the XVI century and are proposed, in our time again, by dancers, players and musician masks dressed up in the richest costumes; the public is easily involved by the rhythm of the show, which finds its roots in a secular tradition of popular music: the “Bagosso” Carnival. From these old memories, also the taste of the precious cheese “Bagoss” is handed down to us, intact in its strong and unique flavour. This inimitable cheese, easily found in the many shops of the area, deserved many international appreciations.