Travel Guide of Nago–Torbole, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy

Nago–Torbole is a Italian town located in at the northern shore of Lake Garda in Trentino. Nago–Torbole is a gateway to the great holiday lake, Nago and Torbole offer marvellous views of Lake Garda.The town itself has many attractive buildings in the traditional Italian style and beautiful floral displays. Torbole is popular with windsurfers due to high-wind conditions at the northern end of the lake. There is a wide choice of hotels and camping sites.

The environment of Nago and Torbole is characterized by strong contrasts that make it particularly fascinating and interesting. In fact, in a short space of time, you go from the Mediterranean climate lake (70 m above sea level) to the peaks of Monte Baldo (over 2000 m). This particular configuration of the territory is due to the action of the glaciers.

Nago and Torbole are two villages. Torbole cling to the limestone rocks on the extreme north-west slope of Monte Baldo; it lies close to the mouth of the river Sarca and its houses are set as an amphitheatre around the small bay, in front of Monte Rocchetta and the Ledro Alps. Nago lies two kilometers north, and uphill, with a great view over Lake Garda.

Nago–Torbole is a tourist town that ont only bases its importance on the natural beauties of Lake Garda and the Monte Baldo massif, the town of Torbole also offers some buildings and monuments that have incorporated the history of its people. To see the Churches of Sant’Andrea and of Santa Maria al Lago, the Porticciolo with the small and severe 18th century building used for centuries as Customs, the Fort of Nago and the Castle of Torbole.

The picturesque harbor of Torbole, which now houses only a few fishing and pleasure boats, was once one of the busiest landings in Upper Lake Garda. Do not miss the beautiful Busatte Tempesta walk with its 400 steps overlooking Lake Garda. Torbole is the starting point for numerous walks and bicycle rides, venturing on the flat paths of the lakeside or on the cycle paths and towards Monte Baldo or towards the Forts.

The famous German writer Goethe wrote of Torbole and described it as a natural wonders of the world. Particularly beloved by artists and writers, who found inspiration in its lovely surroundings, Torbole still offers pleasant views, such as Austro-Hungarian Casetta del Dazio and Casa Beust, a meeting-place for artists in the post-war period.

For years now Torbole has become the home of Windsurfing thanks to its strong and constant winds which, with good weather, blow regularly from the north in the morning and from the south in the afternoon. The winds have the characteristic of being always tense and constant, therefore suitable for the practice of the sport of sailing and windsurfing.

Although the human settlements in this territory which enjoys a particularly mild climate date back to the Iron Age, only around the year 1000 are the names of Nago and Torbole documented on a legal document. Since then the territory, gathered around the parish church of San Virgilio, has found space in history.

The life of Nago and Torbole has always been influenced by the fact of being in the border area, where over the centuries, various armies have faced each other. Symbols of this long belligerence are the Pénede Castle and the Nago Fort.

Venetian domination (1440–1510) is evident in the old harbor: a typical toll house placed on a lake-front wharf. Goethe, who stopped here in September 1786, described in his writings a longing and passionate image of this place. During Austrian domination (1810–1918), tourism grew during the Belle Époque.

In 1439 Torbole was involved in the Third Lombard War (1438), between the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Venice. The latter dominated the eastern side of the lake (the Riviera). In order to gain supremacy on Lake Garda and help the Venetian condottiero Gattamelata, in freeing Brescia from the Milanese siege.

Torbole, as early as the 15th century, was a stop for European travelers passing through on the Atesina road from Germany to Italy. Montaigne visited it in 1580.

Goethe arrived here from Rovereto in the afternoon of 12 September 1786, four days after having crossed Brenner Pass. Goethe was 37 years old and upon seeing the blue expanse of Lake Garda and the silver olive-groves, he experienced for the first time the atmosphere and mild climate of the places extolled by the Classics, and he wrote that he had achieved happiness.

The Brescian Cesare Arici, idyllic rural poet, exalted the “fishy Torbole”. The painter Hans Lietzmann bought a large olive grove on the lake’s shore (behind the Hotel Paradiso) and opened a school of art.

The current tourist centre evolved in the second half of the last century from a village of fishermen, farmers and mountaineers, into a seasonal health-resort for European travellers, like the neighbouring Riva and Arco. After 1958, with the regained municipal autonomy, a radical change took place on the social and economic level which led to the abandonment of traditional agriculture and fishing and the transformation into an area with a tourist vocation.

In 1980 windsurfing economically relaunched Torbole with the organization of the world championship. This experience was then repeated over time and led to significant changes in the management of the territory. The territory of Nago has been enhanced by the introduction of numerous mountain bike and climbing routes.

Main Attractions
Torbole, located on the northern gulf of Lake Garda, between Monte Baldo to the east and the Sarche plain to the north, is the most sought-after destination for windsurfing enthusiasts. Torbole sul Garda, a sailing and surfing center of international importance, with free and equipped beaches, is also a starting point for mountain bike excursions, gentle walks and trekking. Torbole was a village of fishermen and boatmen. The small port is the most picturesque corner of Torbole, with the Vecchia Dogana and Casa Beust.

Small, picturesque and embedded in a spectacular landscape, is a wonderful photo opportunity and attraction for nature lovers and active vacationers. A part of Torbole, certainly the most suggestive, has preserved the original appearance of the fishing village and barges. The most picturesque corner of Torbole is the “porticciolo” with the characteristic constructions of the “Old Customs” (15th century) and the “Casa Beust”, already an arbor for artists after the Second World War.

Characteristic angles recall the past and tradition, such as the “little house of the dazio”, from the Austro-Hungarian period, located at the entrance to the small port; and the small “Central Square”, where a tombstone commemorates Goethe’s stay. Torbole was the favorite town of many German painters who, in the wild beauty of the place, found ample inspiration for their works.

The port with the old Vecchia Dogana and the Casa Beust is certainly the most charming place in Torbole sul Garda. Torbole sul Garda was once a small, simple and quiet fishing village.T oday it is lively, young and dynamic, because of the water sports enthusiasts in general. The area around Torbole is also ideal for mountain biking, climbing and hiking.

Nago is located on a rocky hill, north of Torbole and on the road that leads to the Adige valley. The Penede Castle and the Austro-Hungarian forts of Nago were strategic surveillance points on the main road that leads from the Adige valley to Lake Garda. The castle and forts have been restored and are open to the public. A pleasant walk between Nago and Torbole leads you to visit the Marmitte dei Giganti, glacial wells from the Quaternary era.

In Nago, which is located 200 meters above Torbole sul Garda, the ruins of Castel Penede are enthroned. A wonderful vantage point, which is surrounded by a beautiful park and from which you can see the greenery and the vineyards in the area. Torbole sul Garda and Nago are wonderfully diverse!

The town of Nago, located on a rocky hill at the foot of Monte Altissimo, preserves an interesting historical nucleus, with the 13th century Pieve di San Vigilio and the 18th century Church of the Trinity. The town center is surprising for its medieval architectural details, such as elegant portals and mullioned windows and the external walls of the houses adorned with large murals made mostly by local artists between 1996 and 1998.

Almost all the murals depict the arts and crafts of a time, thus, walking through the village it will be possible to admire an old cobbler, the grape harvest, the threshing of wheat on the threshing floor, the processing of tobacco, the shepherd with his flock and other pleasant almost forgotten scenes.

A holiday in Nago always includes thevisit to the Fort which is part of the 30 Austro-Hungarian forts built in 1860, and probably the best preserved. The fort, now splendidly restored, consisted of two fortresses placed at different levels, connected by a thick wall and a flight of steps, with the powder keg halfway.

The choreographic fortress, a real stone mountain against which nothing or very little the cannon fire of the First World War could have done, now houses the Municipal Museum with a conference room and two restaurants. The Penede Castle, of which only a few crumbling ruins remain, high on the rocky ridge overlooking the Valle di Santa Lucia to take the most sensational panoramic photos.

In Torbole

Church of Santa Maria al Lago
It is located a few steps from the lake, inside the Pavese park. It was built in 1939 to offer religious service to the little guests of the preventorium without forcing them to move to the parish church. For the convenience of its access, today most of the religious ceremonies of the parish community are celebrated.

Church of Sant’Andrea
The church of S. Andrea di Torbole is located on a hill from which you can enjoy a splendid view of the lake and you can admire the impending rocks and the ruins of Penede. Two long stairways lead you up from the historic center. Its history is lost in the darkness of time and the current structure is the result of a series of successive extensions and modifications.

The Adige-Garda Gallery
Shortly after Torbole, on the Garda state road that leads to Malcesine, the mouth of a tunnel appears across the road. 9.8 km long with a slope of m. 0.86% and a covered section of approx. 50.54, is the outlet channel of a conduit that serves to discharge the water from the Adige to Lake Garda to reduce its flow in the event of a flood, in order to protect itself from flooding.

The Port
The picturesque port of Torbole, which now houses only a few fishing and pleasure boats, was once one of the busiest landings in the Upper Lake.

The Tollbooth of Dazio
In Torbole, on the pier in the middle of the gulf, to brave the big waves of the Garda that break on the quay, there is a small building with a gentle and Venetian look that draws the attention of the beholder. For the locals it is the casel.

The Belvedere
It is a wonderful panoramic point, from which the view sweeps over the entire lake, with the great circle of mountains, the beach, the plain and the mouth of the Sarca and the village gathered around the small port. It can be reached in a few minutes from the central square or from the stairway behind the schools. In Torbole this belvedere is called “castèl”, a toponym that has never left doubts about the presence, in past centuries, of any tower or fortification., which has recently been confirmed by the discovery of interesting archaeological finds.

Funeral monument to WO Darby
On April 30, 1945, five days after the liberation of Milan, a contingent of American troops arrived in Torbole by amphibious means, across the lake and occupied the town, already held by German Wermacht units, after a violent fight.

The Sasso dei Bimbi
In the surroundings of Torbole to the south-east, in the locality of Paradiso, a rocky boulder emerging from the water lies close to the lake. For anglers it is the Spigol del Maroc. All the locals call it the “Sasso dei Bambini”, the Sass dei popi, as they say in dialect.

The little valley of Santa Lucia
It is one of the most beautiful walks in the entire area, which rises from Torbole towards Nago at the foot of the precipitous cliff of Penede. In a small wild valley, immersed in silence, full of wonderful panoramic views of Lake Garda. It takes its name from an ancient capital dedicated to the Syracusan saint.

Giants’ pots
In the Hairpin bends of the road that brings to Nago are the so-called Giant’s pot (Italian: Marmitte dei Giganti) representing the evidence of erosive phenomena from the glacial era, which occurred when a wide glacier covered the territories. Those so called Marmitte are sunken glacial era wells, set out by the stones and glacial, quick whirling, detritus coming down from the superior layers.

In Nago

Penede Castle
On the promontory overlooking the Santa Lucia valley and the homonymous road that connects Nago to Torbole, the ancient walls are perfectly visible, motionless and silent guardians of the surrounding mountains, the Sarca Valley and a large part of Lake Garda. These are the remains of Castel Penede which for five centuries, from the Late Middle Ages to the early 1700s, was a symbol of power and an important defensive bulwark of the region.

The Fort of Nago
Superb example of Castrense architecture, the Fort of Nago represented an important element of the defense belt (about thirty forts) put in place by the government of Vienna after the defeat of Solferino and San Martino (1859, second war of independence) and the consequent loss of Lombardy. Its construction dates back to 1860 – 1861, the era of the forts of the first generation in unarmed casemates. It is a neighbor of Castel Penede, also a defense fortress, built many centuries later on the same rocky spurs and ended up in a pile of ruins under the cannon fire of Vendome (1703).

Parish church of San Vigilio
The time of foundation is not known with certainty. Probably we have to go back to the Carolingian period or at least to the end of the 4th century, so, speaking of its origins, the old memories vaguely note “existing from immemorial…”. The first documents that mention it date from 1194: in 1203 it already had the title of “collegiate” and “archpriest”.

The building, originally smaller than the current one, was surrounded by the cemetery and was perfectly “oriented” according to the ancient Christian tradition: apse to the east and entrance to the west. From the exit, crossing the front of the cemetery, one entered the “piazzetta del Torchio” where the community held its assemblies.

Church of San Rocco
It is located next to the state road to Rovereto, immediately after the town. Its construction dates back to the sixteenth century, although archival documents say it was founded “ab antiquo”. A deep-rooted popular tradition believes that it arose on the ruins of an ancient hospital converted into a church after the plagues became more rare.

Church of San Zeno
It preserves, more than any other church, the beauty and charm of ancient things. Presumably built in the 12th century, it stands on a small hill in the town, surrounded by the old houses of the village. Adjacent to it is a modest building which served, until the end of the 18th century, as a dwelling for a hermit. Inside, a single marble altar and a valuable painting of the holy bishop of Verona.

Church of St. Trinity
It is located in Piazza Primone, in the center of the town. It was built “at all his expense” by a priest from Nago in place of a pre-existing smaller church of which he himself was chaplain. Inside, on the main altar, there is a beautiful wooden statue of God the Father with the crucified Son in his lap, by a 15th century South Tyrolean artist. It belonged to the ancient brotherhood of the SS. Trinity.

The Sacred Aedicules
They are the sign and testimony of an intense religiosity that once animated our communities. Various in shape and location, there are some built into old houses, within old courtyards, and their pre-eminent form is a niche carved into the wall, with or without a roof.

For some years the historic center of Nago has been embellished with the creation of thirteen murals depicting, except for a few, the arts and crafts of the past. The idea came to the boys of the popular group 900, now dissolved, born in 1992 from the unity of purpose of eight young people who wanted a partnership capable of giving life to cultural events of various kinds, from cinema to theater, from music to painting.

Loppio lake
At one time, in the valley of the Rio Cameras that connects the Adige river with the Lower Sarca, there was a small lake – today Lake Loppio – historically called di Sant’Andrea from the name of the island where a small church was consecrated in 1138; then, to overcome the floods of the Adige, between 1954 and 1958 a tunnel was dug under the lake in connection with Lake Garda, which caused the drainage of the basin.

The local gastronomic tradition is based on some typical elements of Trentino cuisine. There are many traditional dishes to be enjoyed at the table. In a land where the cult of traditions is combined with good food, choice between meat and fish. Local products: oil, butter, wine, game, lake fish such as trout, whitefish, carp, lambs, kids, meat from cows accustomed to the grass of the mountain pastures, wild aromatic herbs, mountain cheeses, homemade cold cuts.

In this case is influenced by the proximity to Lake Garda. Therefore, there are no exclusive local dishes, but a set of raw materials and preparations that can be found in many neighboring places such as polenta, game, fish such as trout, pike, whitefish and perch. In the kitchen are used the oil produced by the olive groves of Garda and fruit such as figs, plums, peaches and apples. Torbole also remembers a rather popular broccoli that has become a slow food presidium.

Dishes are then cooked such as bigoi co le àole (spaghetti with sardines, also prepared during the Torbole carnival, the Sbigolada), zisam (lake sardines and onions), Torta de fregoloti (made with shortcrust pastry and almonds), brocol de Torbole and fugasa de molche a dessert with dried figs, pine nuts and walnuts (similar to zelten) with the addition of olive pomace.

The olive pomace in the dialect “molche” is the pitted residue of the processing of the olives after having extracted the extra virgin olive oil. Since the eighties a continuous decrease of aole (sardines) has inevitably made all the original recipes disappear and the fish has been replaced with the most prized sardines which are a type of agone.

The broccoli di Torbole are a variety of cauliflower or broccoflower imported from Verona around the mid-18th century. Inside the large cabbage family, broccoli di Torbole has become separate variety in its cultivar group. After its seedling stage, it grows rapidly and without special care, but needs to be watered frequently. Maturation begins at the beginning of November and ends in April.

Nature areas

Lake Garda
It is the largest lake in Italy (360 sq km, 60 km long), 65 m above sea level, included in the provinces of Trento, Brescia and Verona. Like all pre-alpine lakes, it is a glacial lake, formed by the powerful action of glaciers in motion, which in the Quaternary period (from 40,000 to 10,000 years ago) descended from the Alps to the Po Valley. It has an elongated shape and occupies a vast valley furrow between the Giudicarie Alps and the Monte Baldo chain. Its maximum depth is 346 m, off Campione (average 136 m).

The beach
The beach, beautiful, wide and well equipped with services, stretches between the Sega and the Foce del Sarca. Beach, lakefront and cycle-pedestrian area. The entire municipal area bordering the lake is publicly owned. The beach, the lakefront and the coastal cycle-pedestrian walkway were totally rebuilt and extended between 1995 and 2000, with the construction of a new cycle-pedestrian bridge over the Sarca river and a cantilevered walkway over the lake, which connects Torbole. with Riva del Garda. It is possible, on foot or by bicycle, to travel the entire Alto Garda Trentino, starting from the east area of Torbole to the west area of Riva del Garda, along the lake. At the height of the Sarca, on the cycle path that runs along the river, it is also possible to reach the nearby town of Arco.

Monte Baldo Park
“Straddling Lake Garda and the Adige valley, the Local Natural Park of Monte Baldo has been famous for centuries for its remarkable floristic importance. The variety of habitats, plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals combine to make this park an extraordinary example of the coexistence of traditional anthropogenic activities with the natural environment.

Outdoor activities
Few places offer guests the opportunity to practice such a great variety of sports. This peculiarity is due to a complex of extraordinary coincidences that have given life to a varied environment that lends itself to the exercise of particular sports disciplines.

Trekking and walking
Torbole and Nago offer, in addition to the lake, the equipped beaches, the crowded meeting places, also beautiful walks, which wind in the hinterland, on the hills and in the fields, among olive groves and vineyards, along ancient quiet and silent streets. They are places, easily reachable, where it is possible to spend a few hours of peace and serenity, with only the sound of the rustle of the wind, in front of the great spectacle of nature, which here has been particularly generous.

Free Climbing
Recent sport that has found, in our field, excellent opportunities for exercise. The very conformation of the territory, mountainous and uneven, smoothed in many points by the mighty action of the glaciers, makes available to those who love climbing numerous vertical walls that present difficulties ranging from 4th to 8th grade.

Mountain Bike
It is a young sport that has recently emerged thanks to the advanced technique and the light and resistant materials used for the construction of special bicycles called rampichini (mountain bikes).

Torbole has been defined by many as the “windsurfing paradise”; this definition is absolutely appropriate. In fact, few places have the constancy, intensity and punctuality of winds like this mirror of the lake. The main winds on the north of Lake Garda are the Ora and the Peler. The Ora is a south wind, which starts at noon and blows until the early evening hours. The Pelér (also known under the name Vento (ital. for wind) is a north wind, which starts blowing in the second half of the night and continues until late morning. Those winds make Torbole an ideal place for sailing and windsurfing for both, beginners and advanced riders.

The sport of sailing is favored by the presence of a tense and constant wind and by an organization on the ground that offers sailors all the necessary technical and logistical support. The lake is a windsurfing, kiteboarding and sailing destination, with many sports centres available to visitors and championships running throughout the year.

Paths and itineraries
Torbole and Nago offer, in addition to the lake, the equipped beaches, the crowded meeting places, also beautiful walks, which wind in the hinterland, on the hills and in the fields, among olive groves and vineyards, along ancient quiet and silent streets. They are places, easily reachable, where it is possible to spend a few hours of peace and serenity, with only the sound of the rustle of the wind, in front of the great spectacle of nature, which here has been particularly generous.

Alla Pineta:
Starting from the central square of Torbole, take via Segantini (il Picalòf), the historic center of the town, then via Pescicoltura. To be observed, along this first part of the route, the old houses leaning against each other, the suggestive portico, the internal courtyard that can be seen immediately after and which retains its ancient characteristic of peasant barnyard. After the small garden on the right, go up a long and comfortable staircase until you reach the municipal road of the Marocche. You leave it immediately and continue to climb a stepped path. Continue until you return to the municipal road, which after a wide curve heads south, between the green of the pines and the beautiful villas of the residential area of the Busatte. After about 300 meters, a short path on the right leads to the pine forest: a pleasant, peaceful, quiet and secluded place that eventually opens onto a large lawn.

Busatte path-Tempesta:
The splendid naturalistic path with balcony on Lake Garda was recently inaugurated and open to hikers. From the Parco delle Busatte that overlooks the town of Torbole, you can arrive in about an hour and a half, crossing breathtaking landscapes, up to Tempesta, a town that at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire marked the border with Italy. The path is a daring realization, with overhanging sections that can be overcome thanks to an iron staircase fixed directly into the rock and others along paths traced thanks to the work of the Fire Brigade; an excursion that is therefore accessible to everyone in extreme safety.

The spectacular lake view promenade winds for four kilometers halfway up the coast, passes two ridges, Corno di Bò and Salt de la Cavra, with iron stairways for almost 400 steps. The route is characterized by extraordinary geological, floral and landscape aspects. The metal stairways are not suitable for mountain biking. The excursion was also equipped with a comfortable return to Torbole thanks to the agreements between APTV and the municipal administration of Nago Torbole.

At Dosso Tenin
Climb up to the square of the church of Sant’Andrea (from the steps of via Segantini or from via Pontalti, the ancient Pontera). After admiring the splendid panorama, cross the olive grove behind the church (now used as a parking lot) and continue along the municipal road to the Busatte park. From Busatte continue along the wide and unpaved path, which immediately becomes very steep, in the direction of Nago. After about 500 meters, at 200 meters above sea level, an excellent vantage point on the lake. Continuing for about a kilometer you arrive in Nago, an ancient medieval village, with beautiful churches and splendid portals. The return is recommended along the Strada dei Forti, parallel to the provincial road.

Sarca embankments
Beautiful walk that leads, always keeping on the banks of the river, up to Arco (5 km). It is advisable to always follow the cycle path, also reserved for pedestrians, which starts from the bridge over the Sarca (right bank) leaving the lake behind. Along the way, flanked by beautiful oleander and black locust plants, you will find frequent pitches with benches and tables for a short stop. You can see (on the orographic left of the river) the hydroelectric power station of Torbole with the large pipeline that comes out of the mountain. Continuing, on the opposite side you can see two fish farms, with trout breeding. Further on, some factories in the industrial area of Arco.

From Torbole to Riva
It is possible to travel the entire northern shore of Lake Garda with a beautiful walk that leads from Torbole to Riva. You can start from the port of Torbole and walk along the beach to the mouth of the Sarca river, where you will need to walk along the left bank to the bridge and then, across the right bank, return to the beach and continue. Continuing towards Riva, you will find the “Foci del Sarca” beach with services and a windsurfing school. Further on, the walk runs at the foot of the precipitous rocks of Mount Brione, on a path overhanging the lake, adjacent to the carriage road. We now pass by the fort of San Nicolò, a mighty Austrian defense structure (1862), and cross the square of the port, with the numerous, elegant pleasure boats. From here to Riva,always skirting the lake along the beach, green parks on the right, rich in precious essences.

Sentiero dei Paloni
It winds for about 9 km at an average height of 400 meters on Monte Baldo, parallel to the eastern Gardesana below. It is a path with some dangerous points, characterized by the continuous vision, and from always different angles, of the lake. Take Torbole, in the locality of Marocche, just beyond the “life path”, and continue southwards passing upstream of Tempesta and descending to Navene, at the lake level.

Monte Corno
Short climb of about an hour that leads to a thick chestnut grove and to a panoramic point of Lake Garda and the Sarca plain of great charm. The path that leads to the 400 meters of Monte Corno starts from Nago, at the crossroads for Arco (on the left for those who go up from Torbole). Along the way,beautiful view of Nago and its green countryside.

L’Altissimo is the highest peak in Trentino’s Baldo (2090 meters). To reach it on foot from Torbole it takes at least five hours (path no.601), but the beautiful asphalted road that leads by car to the foot of Varagna (1600 meters), allows you to reach the summit in an hour and a half. approximately. There you can enjoy a wonderful panorama. The eye embraces the entire Lake Garda, the Dolomites, the Italian and Austrian Alps with the great glaciers of Adamello, Orteles, Cevedale and to the south the Po Valley and the Apennine hills.

A few steps from the summit there is an alpine refuge and a small church. All around you can visit the remains of trenches, walkways, artillery positions from the First World War (1914-1918). Here in fact passed the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy.