Travel Guide of Limone sul Garda, Lombardy, Italy

Limone sul Garda is an Italian town, on the edge of Lake Garda, in the province of Brescia in Lombardy. Limone is one of the most idyllically situated towns on Lake Garda. The narrow, stone-paved streets that wind their way between the high, stone walls of the ancient buildings, and a long promenade, fringed with cafes and restaurants, along with a long beach. Limone is one of the most popular tourist resorts on the Brescia coast, famous for its lemon groves, its precious olive oil, and for the longevity of some of its inhabitants.

The town of Limone stands on a narrow strip of land close to high rocky walls to the north of the Lake Garda-Lombardy Consortium. The town sandwiched between looming rocky massifs over 1,000 meters high, with stunning views of the mountains above Malcesine on the opposite shore of lake. In the past it was accessible only via mountains or lakes and based its economy on fishing and the cultivation of olive trees and lemons (it is the northernmost place where citrus crops can be found). Even today we find traces of this agricultural economy in the pillars and walls of the lemon houses – the characteristic gardens where lemons are grown and in the characteristic fishing port.

It was finally connected to the neighboring villages in 1932 when the characteristic Gardesana Occidentale road was finished and thus years of isolation and border ended. The local economy began to transform immediately after the war,thanks to the influx of the first tourists from the Northern European regions.

Limone is today one of the most popular and well-equipped tourist centers of Garda which has managed to keep intact the charm of the small town with a picturesque old town made up of ancient houses, narrow alleys and harbors framed by a luxuriant nature that offers countless possibilities for pleasant and relaxing walks both inland and on the lake.

Limone is an ancient village with suggestive corners, its old houses that huddle around the pretty port have preserved the typical atmosphere of a fishing village. It has an abundance of cafes, restaurants and shops selling all manner of souvenirs, food and clothing, and the streets in summer are thronged with tourists. The town was popular with writers such as Goethe, Ibsen and Lawrence, and in 2007, it was used for filming parts of the James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

One of Limone’s more obscure claims to fame comes from the discovery of ApoA-1 Milano. In 1979, researchers discovered that people in Limone possess a mutant form of apolipoprotein n their blood, that induced a healthy form of high-density cholesterol, which resulted in a lowered risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. The protein appears to have given residents of the village extreme longevity, a dozen of those living here are over the age of 100.

Limone sul Garda is a small jewel on the Brescia side of Lake Garda. Despite the presence of famous cultivations of lemons (the meaning of the city’s name in Italian), the town’s name is probably derived from the ancient lemos (elm) or limes (Latin: boundary, referring to the communes of Brescia and the Bishopric of Trento).

The past production of lemons, which took place during the Duchy of Milan to self-produce these fruits and not import them from “abroad” is witnessed by the artificial terraces with pylons suitable for spreading protective sheets for any winter frosts and the fact that often in the lemon house braziers were lit to warm the air. Today it is no longer advantageous for massive production that produces income.

On 13 September 1786, the famous German poet J. Wolfgang Goethe passed by the village by boat and described with this words its lemon gardens:

“We passed Limone, the mountain-gardens of which, laid out terrace-fashion, and planted with citron-trees, have a neat and rich appearance. The whole garden consists of rows of square white pillars placed at some distance from each other, and rising up the mountain in steps. On these pillars strong beams are laid, that the trees planted between them may be sheltered in the winter. The view of these pleasant objects was favored by a slow passage, and we had already passed Malcesine when the wind suddenly changed, took the direction usual in the day-time, and blew towards the north.”
(Italian Journey, J. Wolfgang Goethe, 1816–17).

Limone was completely isolated and reachable only by lake or through an impervious road between the mountains. Until the 1932, the town was reachable only by lake or through the mountains, with the road to Riva del Garda being completed in 1932. It was the construction of the incredible western Gardesana, that put an end to that isolation and made the beautiful town accessible to foreign tourism. In the following years the life of the village changed completely, passing from a livelihood based on agriculture and fishing to being one of the most popular tourist destinations of the entire Lake Garda.

To safeguard this historical and architectural heritage of Garda, the Municipality of Limone has restored and restored the lemon houses “del Castel” and “Villa Borghi” which are currently open and can be visited.

Main Attractions:
Limone sul Garda is not only appreciated for its lemon groves, the precious olive oil, the picturesque harbor and the wonderful view that can be enjoyed from the lakefront. In Limone sul Garda there are also many things to see and do that make the village a perfect destination both for a day trip or for a longer stay aimed at visiting the surroundings.

Among the narrow streets of the historic center you can breathe an air that tastes of ancient. In limited spaces, where even the sun struggles to illuminate windows, balconies and mysterious vaults, the color of geraniums and wisteria makes Limone an enchanted town. The internal roads, the old houses, refurbished inside, capturing tourists enchanted by the magic of these corners so picturesque, so colorful and always different from each other. Shady stairways lead to small squares from which alleys branch off that invite you to continue among the houses and shops.

The Limonaia del Castel is located close to the rock walls of Monte Sughera and is inserted in the park of Villa Boghi, an elegant building of the twentieth century today the townhall of the municipality of Limone. The Limonaia has a permanent educational-museum center, housed in an old toll booth for the storage of tools. At the back of the garden an exhibition area has been set up with panels on the history and characteristics of citrus fruits.

In Limone sul Garda there are few stretches open to local traffic, so it is possible to enter the characteristic village where the suggestive corners follow one another among alleys, arcades, faces, windows and stairways. The streets are paved, narrow and uphill, the houses are made of stone, with small flowered balconies and characteristic doors. Wild plants and flowers sprout along the walls, such as capers, brooms, aloes and various varieties of succulents.

In the center is the Church of San Benedetto, with its five marble altars: High Altar, Altar of the Blessed Sacrament, Altar of the Holy Rosary, Altar of Saint Anthony of Padua and Altar of the Crucifix. The Church was built in 1691 on the remains of a Romanesque church prior to the 11th century.

Moving towards the marina, following the signs and along a narrow and steep road, you reach the Church of San Rocco. It is a small church set against the rocks, dating back to the sixteenth century. From its small terrace you can enjoy an enchanting view of Limone and Lake Garda.

The always mild climate of Limone del Garda allows the growth of a typically Mediterranean vegetation with agaves, oleanders, palms and cypresses alongside the terraced cultivation of centenary olive trees and the greenhouse gardens of lemons, oranges and mandarins. Lemon fits perfectly with the cultivation of lemonsin, the beautiful and characteristic “limonere” built in the shelter of the rock that protects them from the north winds.

Once the economy of this locality was based on fishing and the cultivation of olive groves and lemons. Limone is characterized by the numerous presence of lemon trees (they also appear in the emblem of the city), and by the beautiful lemon houses, terraces at the foot of the Cima della Mughera. In the historic center of Limone there is the eighteenth-century Limonaia del Castel, one of the most characteristic and well-preserved citrus gardens of Garda.

The Limonaia located in the center of the town, dates back to the early eighteenth century, has a total area of approx. 1,600 and has maintained the original structure of stone pillars or columns leaning against the rock. The columns have the function of protecting the lemons from the freezing north winds. The greenhouses, completed by wooden beams, are open on three sides and allow the entry of sunlight and proper ventilation. The Brescia coast is distinguished from the Veronese coast precisely by the presence of these pillar structures, clearly visible from the lake.

Olives oil, another typical product of Limone sul Garda – as in the rest of the Lake Garda area – has particular organoleptic qualities favored by the climate, the soil and the variety of plants. Particular attention is paid to the various moments of harvesting and processing the olives: the first is done exclusively by hand, using long ladders, while the pressing takes place cold, according to an ancient tradition, with two heavy granite mills.

Walk along the lakefront, where palm trees, olive trees and oleanders refer to the scents of the sea. Restaurants, pizzerias, ice cream parlors, bars, small shops with attention to every detail, brighten up the lakeside promenade, underlining the tendency towards serenity and relaxation of the landscape. In addition to buying typical products, it is possible to taste lake dishes and taste local wines.

Those who love cycling one of the best known routes is the spectacular cycle path that from Limone sul Garda reaches the border with the autonomous province of Trento. The new cycling path is base on the road that runs along Lake Garda, a true masterpiece of technique, with a good carved into the rock, made Limone accessible to the rest of the world and to tourism. The route crosses the municipalities of Riva del Garda, Nago-Torbole and Arco (about 7 km). This work itself has become a major tourist attraction for the Alto Garda as it proceeds along a new stretch built directly on the lake.

The old town
The historic center of Limone is that of an ancient and evocative village, characterized by narrow streets often full of tourists with upturned noses, kidnapped by the atmosphere of such a picturesque and colorful village. The village has in fact maintained the atmosphere of the typical village of the past: the old houses huddle around the beautiful marina and the lemon houses are still cultivated on the terraces above the town.

The churches
There are three main churches in Limone: the central church of San Benedetto, the beautiful and small Renaissance church of San Rocco and the church of San Pietro in Oliveto, the oldest in the village which dates back to the ninth century. The first is the parish church, the second has a super view of the lake, while the third hides inside the wonderful frescoes with St. Peter and a particular story, with a bell tower knocked down to prevent it from being targeted by enemy cannons during the WWI.

The lemon houses
There are 3 lemon houses that can be visited in Limone, the Tesol lemon house, the Via Borghi lemon house and the Castél lemon house. Facing the sun so as to catch its rays the white pillars and walls of the limonaie – lemon groves – still stand proud along the lake shore. They are unique and an example of an illustrious past that on lake Garda they can only be found between Limone and Gargnano. In 1995 the local Council bought the Limonaia del Castèl with the view to promote this heritage. It was restored and put back to use by planting over 100 citrus plants, restructuring the ledges and irrigation system, and rebuilding the tool shed.

Limonaia del Castél
The most famous is the Limonaia del Castél, easily reachable on foot from the historic center thanks to the ceramic tiles that you encounter while strolling through the picturesque streets of the town. The experience offered by the visit is incredible: an immersion in the charm of the ancient lemon house, surrounded by the scent of citrus fruits, to discover the old methods of cultivation. Visiting it you will be able to admire not only the lemons but all the cultivated fruits such as cedars, grapefruits, mandarins, tangerines, chinotti, clementines and kumquats and read the characteristics of the different types of citrus fruits on the explanatory panels.

Villa Boghi
“La Casetta”, more commonly known today as “Villa Boghi”, was built at the beginning of the twentieth century on a project by the engineer Giovanni Bonaventura Gerardi. Since 2004 Villa Boghi is the seat of the Town Hall. It can be accessed both from Via IV Novembre and from Via Tamas, near the capital dedicated to San Giovanni Nepomuceno. In the large park, open to the public every day from 9 am to 8 pm, the lemon house, the paths and the flower beds have been carefully arranged. There are numerous citrus fruits, olive trees, cypresses, palms and exotic plants. In the northern part of the garden there is the bust of San Daniele Comboni (1831-1881), a 1981 work by Hans Oberstaller.who had transferred some of his systems to the galleries of the western Gardesana, to ask for the requisition of the 11 rooms of the villa to house the offices.

Comboni Park
The lemon house that we can still see here, could contain about 100 lemon trees and was built close to some pre-existing agricultural structures including the birthplace of San Daniele, in the second half of the eighteenth century. Currently the Comboni community is committed to welcoming those who come here to experience moments of prayer and missionary reflection.


Museum of Tourism
To document the socio-economic change that has affected the town after the opening of the Gardesana, the Municipal Administration has promoted the constitution of the “Museum of Tourism”. Set up in the former Town Hall and inaugurated in 2011, inside there are collections of posters, calendars, travel guides, souvenirs, etc. Ample space was also given to our fellow citizen San Daniele Comboni and to the discovery of the Polyprotein A1-Milan, a beneficial genetic mutation that prevents heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases, discovered in the blood of some inhabitants of Limone sul Garda.

Olive oil exhibition
Olive growing, thanks to the mildness of the Garda climate, represented one of the most prosperous economic activities of the past. The particular care that the olive tree requires and consequently the high production costs, as well as the strong competition from the countries of the Mediterranean area have meant that in the post-war years the sector became less and less competitive. The olive grove, however, is one of the peculiarities of our locality and the silvery foliage of these centuries-old trees frames the whole hinterland. The tradition of their cultivation continues to be handed down and to this day the Owners Oliveti Cooperative, which associates all the olive growers of Limone, in the headquarters of its ancient mill, produces an excellent quality oil, cold pressed with stone millstones.

Fishermen’s Museum
The massive socio-economic change that involved the town after the opening of the Gardesana also affected fishing, which was gradually abandoned. A typical boat and the special tools that our grandparents used every day in this work, together with cards on the fish that inhabit the lake, recipes of typical dishes based on lake fish and vintage photos, are now kept inside. of this interesting museum, which is located inside the Limonaia of Villa Boghi.

The lakefront
In Limone sul Garda you cannot miss a walk along the beautiful lakefront, among palm trees and oleanders. Not only that, on the lakefront there are also many shops and restaurants where you can taste typical specialties and a wonderful view of Lake Garda.

The Garda cycle path
One of the most beautiful and special things to do in Limone sul Garda is certainly to cycle or walk the Garda cycle path. It is in fact a wonderful path overlooking the lake, where you will almost have the feeling of being suspended between the blue of the sky and the intense blue of the lake.

Gardone Riviera – Small elegant town, it enjoys a notable fame in the wake of the legend that was the man and poet D’Annunzio; its Vittoriale is the destination of a very large tourism.
Garda Lake – It is one of the great Lombard lakes; the eastern shore is Venetian, the northern tip is thirty. A destination for climatic tourism since the nineteenth century, every coastal town lives and develops with tourism. The main destinations are Sirmione, Desenzano del Garda, Salò, Riva del Garda, Garda, Peschiera del Garda.
Riva del Garda – Elegant center at the north end of Lake Garda, it maintains the atmosphere of a holiday resort of the Austro-Hungarian nobility of the nineteenth century.
Lake Ledro – Popular for summer holidays, it is also known for the remains of piles from the Bronze Age.
Salò – The coastal center is home to supra-municipal administrative offices and is considered the capital of the Lombard shore of the lake. It was the capital, not only of Garda, in the final period of the Second World War, when the city was involved in spite of itself in events much bigger than it.
Tremosine – It rises on a plateau overlooking the lake and is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.