Travel Guide of Peschiera del Garda, Veneto, Italy

Peschiera del Garda is a city in the Veneto region, on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. Peschiera is a small charming town at the south-eastern tip of the lake Garda. Its core is located at the inside of an old Austrian fortress, where the river Mincio – the main outlet of the lake – starts to flow by four branches which form beautiful canals crossing the old town. The town is part of the “Jewels of Italy” evaluated by MiBACT.

The town is encircled by massive Venetian defensive systems that have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 9 July 2017. When Lombardy-Venetia was under Austrian rule, Peschiera was the northwest anchor of the four fortified towns constituting the Quadrilatero. The fortress is on an island in the river Mincio at its outlet from Lake Garda. The fortress of Peschiera became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the transnational serial site “Venetian defense works between the 16th and 17th centuries: State from Land-State from Western Sea”.

Explore the town and read its history in the buildings and commemorative plaques. Walking through the town it is possible to see the Venetian walls that now welcome Piazza Betteloni, on the small port. In the clearing beyond there is to visit the Military Museum in the old building of the Command of the Presidium. On Piazza Ferdinando di Savoia, or Piazza d’Armi, there is the Military Prison and the Parish Church of S. Martino.

Peschiera del Garda, the ancient Roman acrylic painting, preserves rich testimonies of its history which still offers the curious visitor to discover the signs of the work of man. And next to the defensive and military architecture, the civil architecture and religious buildings, such as the sixteenth-century Sanctuary of the Madonna del Frassino, a pilgrimage destination for thousands of faithful.

Peschiera is a lake town, the climate of Peschiera, like all of Lake Garda, is mild even in winter. The town has all the water sports available, sailing, water skiing, rowing, swimming, windsurfing, as well as all land sports, such as cycling or the marathons. The beach life lovers find in Peschiera of the beautiful beaches of gravel, sand and beaches. Those who love nature and water parks can have fun at Parco Cavour, while shopping lovers can find a wide choice of shops of all kinds, as well as nearby shopping centers or outlets.

In addition, Peschiera offers moments of peace and relaxation in the natural environment that surrounds it, such as in the oasis of the Frassino lake or in the Mincio valley, along which the park of the same name develops, offering countless opportunities for walks. in contact with an uncontaminated and luxuriant nature. In winter, the nearby Laghetto del Frassino is the most important habitat for tufted ducks in Italy.

The stretch of territory that from Peschiera reaches the Sirmione peninsula takes the name of “Lugana”, known for the production of the wine of the same name. Among the very first Italian wines to boast the recognition of the DOC brand, Lugana wine is particularly suitable for some typical dishes of the Garda tradition such as “Bigoli con le sarde”, “Sarde in saor” and risotto with tench.

There are traces of civilization in Peschiera del Garda dating back to the Bronze Age, but the first settlement dates back to 1500 and 1100 BC. Veneti and Gauls lived in the area when, in the first century BC, the Romans arrived and called it Arilica. At the end of the seventh century AD, with the dominion of the Lombards, Peschiera as well as an important strategic – commercial center became a very important administrative center.

Since the Lombard period the area was part of the court of the Monastery of San Colombano del Priorato di Bardolino dependent on the Abbey of San Colombano di Bobbio (PC) and of the great monastic fief of Bobbio. The monks evangelized the territory by promoting the expansion of trade, agriculture (especially the vine and the olive tree), the fishing system with fish ponds, and culture, introducing important innovations and opening trade routes.

During the catastrophic invasion of the Hungarians, Peschiera allowed the defeated king of Italy Berengario I to survive and resume his role. Peschiera was one of the places affected by historical events that took place between the 11th century and the 13th century. The city fall in 1387 by the hand of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, lord of Milan and son of Regina della Scala.

The Republic of Venice came into possession of Peschiera in 1440 by the hand of Francesco Sforza, in the pay of the Serenissima. The most important part of the walls was built starting from 1549 on a project by Guidobaldo della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, there were also projects by Michele Sammicheli and Anton Maria Lorgna.

Peschiera is a walled city with the stratified presence of many projects since the 6th century; it therefore has one of the most complete wall systems in Italy which has maintained the characteristic of being surrounded by water. The fortress at Peschiera played a prominent part in most military campaigns conducted in northern Italy after 1400, especially during the Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.

At the Battle of Peschiera fought on 6 August 1796, the day after the major French victory at the Battle of Castiglione, a French force commanded by general Masséna drove out the Austrians. After the Siege of Peschiera, during the First Italian War of Independence, it was taken by the Piedmontese from the Austrians, following a gallant defence by general Rath lasting six weeks, on 30 May, 1848.

In 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, it passed to the Lombard-Veneto Kingdom. Thus it became part of the mighty defense system of the Quadrilatero. It was conquered by the Piedmontese on May 30, 1848, but passed to Italy only in 1866 with the Treaty of Prague, after the third war of independence. The town was called until 1930 Peschiera on Lake Garda.

Main Attractions
Peschiera del Garda is a very suggestive lakeside village, unique of its kind, overlooking the southernmost shore of Lake Garda, in a fortress on the shores of the lake and the river Mincio. The historic center is beautiful developed between the alleys of its ramparts where you will find a myriad of shops, restaurants and clubs as well as beautiful historic buildings, squares, churches and imposing military structures.

The Fortress of Peschiera del Garda, or Rocca, is a small architectural jewel, enclosed in an imposing pentagonal wall, dating back to the sixteenth century, with beautiful ramparts and imposing access doors. All around the Mincio river, an emissary of the Garda, whose natural path has been modified by the construction of the wall fortification dividing it into three branches exiting the lake which then meet south of the inhabited center.

Peschiera del Garda also has beautiful and characteristic beaches that deserve a little relaxing stop. The Cappuccini beach is a welcoming grassy space at the end of via Risorgimento while, if you are on holiday with a four-legged friend, there is the Braccobaldo Bau beach.

UNESCO World Heritage Site
It is home to one or more prehistoric pile-dwelling (or stilt house) settlements that are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps UNESCO World Heritage Site: location Belvedere; location lake of Frassino.

The fortress and the external fortifications. They were included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list as part of “Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar” in 2017.

Cantarane Bastion
This Bastion is located on the further south of the Fortress, which characterizes Peschiera del Garda and built between 1551 and 1553. Along the cycle and pedestrian path, which leads from Peschiera to Mantua, it is possible to observe the damage done during the bombings of the Second World War, which also demolished the ancient Habsburg railway bridge.

Feltrin Bastion
It is located in the western part of the Fortress and it represents the first Bastion, built in early 1551. Unfortunately in 1934, part of the structure collapsed due to renovation work on the canal. Consequently, the survived part was reinforced and during this process the municipal administration took the decision to not rebuild the original wall. In the Museum of Fishing and Local Traditions, it is possible to see photos before and after the collapse of the Bastion.

Tognon Bastion
It was built in 1552, it still retains the visible remains of the Marciáno Lion, which was partly destroyed by Napoleon and it represents the fifth Bastion of the Fortress. On this Bastion an optical telegraph was installed by the Austrian army, thus favouring communication between the Peschiera Fortress, the Pastrengo Fort and the Verona command center. In addition, this Bastion acted as a defensive barrier to bombing, which could come from the North East.

San Marco Bastion
It represents the second bastion in order of construction, it boasts an excellent conservation. The panoramic walk along the Bastion leads to the area, which was taken in siege during the Napoleonic wars and during the Renaissance. From here it is also possible to see Voltoni Bridge and the Cantarane Bastion.

Querini Bastion
The Querini Bastion, located at the entrance of the Fortress with respect to the lake, was destroyed in 1906. It has a small panoramic terrace surrounded by greenery, from which we can admire the Promenade of Peschiera del Garda.

Venetian Fortress
The high and massive pentagonal-shaped walls surround the historic center of Peschiera del Garda, a real jewel of art, culture and architecture. Unique of its kind, this locality characterized by canals, bridges and imposing military buildings, offers a suggestive environment to be discovered.

Porta Verona
It was built in 1553, characterized by the Lion of St. Marco, symbol of the Republic of Venice, which was destroyed by Napoleon as a sign of contempt after the Treaty of Campoformio in 1797. A visual reconstruction of what the door must have looked like in its entirety is located at the beginning of the bridge. Beyond the gate, towards the center of the town, there are the gardens of the Catullo Park and the Francesco I Barracks.

Former Army Military Hospital
A bomb-proof building from the Habsburg period (1865), which later became an Italian military prison, now abandoned.

Former Artillery Barrack
Beyond the Voltoni bridge, in the Hapsburg military district, it is possible to admire this great Austrian military work, dating back to the mid-19th century. Later completely restored, opened to the public in 2002, today seat of the Civic Library and the historical archive of the Municipality. In addition, it hosts various exhibitions and conferences.

Franciscus I Barracks
It was built in 1822 and dedicated to the Habsburg emperor. Today it houses the headquarters of the Police School. At one time this structure housed the infantry, which had the task of defending the city.

Historic Palace
The Palace was built in 1854, also called Historic Building, since during the First World War it hosted the Inter-Allied Conference, in 1917. During this Conference the representatives of Italy, Great Britain and France met to analyze the military situation and study the necessary countermeasures. At the end of this, the decisions taken were decisive for the subsequent conduct of the war. Inside the building, in the historic room, there is a painting which depicted this historic meeting.

Powder warehouse
It is an important element of the artillery of the Habsburg era. It served as a pyrotechnic laboratory and storage of cannon balls, located inside the San Marco Bastion. Its splendid recovery is the work of the volunteers of the Alpine section of Peschiera del Garda, who continue to keep it in excellent condition.

Religious architectures

Parish Church of San Martino Vescovo
The Church of St. Martino Bishop is located in the historic center of Peschiera del Garda and is one of the oldest places of worship in the Diocese of Verona. The first evidence dates back to 1008, then it bacame the parish church of the Municipality in 1454. In 1812 Napoleon Bonaparte transformed it into a military warehouse and a hospital.

The current church was built in 1820 – 22 on the site of a previous requisition by Napoleon Buonaparte in 1812 to make it a military warehouse and hospital, and demolished in 1814 as it was unsafe. In 1930 – 1933 the church reached its current structure. In 1937 the interior was frescoed by the painter Severino Saoncella and in 1966 there was a further renovation. Inside the church there is a relic of Blessed Andrea da Peschiera. In 2008 the frescoes and decorations have been restored.

Madonna del Frassino Sanctuary
The Sanctuary was built in September 1511, when Peschiera was subjected to the French power. The Sanctuary was subject to frequent devastation and ruins, therefore it was carefully restored numerous times, to bring it back to its original splendor. The interior, which is characterized by a single nave, embellished with 8 altars and 2 chapels, houses the miraculous statue of Mary, which in May 1950 appeared to the farmer Bortolomeo Broglia, followed by other works by Paolo Farinati and Andrea Bertanza.

The church is rich in works of art, it is defined by some as a picture gallery: there are two paintings by Paolo Farinati, The Nativity and Madonna and Saints, twelve paintings by Giovanni Andrea Bertanza Mysteries of the Rosary and Saints, one by Zeno da Verona San Peter and St. John the Baptist and four canvases by Muttoni the Younger. Del Farinati, with the help of his sons Orazio and Cecilia, are also present in each chapel. Inside, the walnut choir from 1652 is remarkablewanted by Fra Bartolomeo Speciani. On the outside, the lunettes are also painted by Muttoni the Younger. On the internal walls of the sanctuary there are symbols, photographs, or newspaper articles that tell the alleged miraculation of several people, which took place thanks to the Madonnina del frassino.


Fishing Museum
Fishing Museum tells the story of the city and fishing on Lake Garda. Peschiera del Garda takes its name from the “Peschiere”, that is to say, ancient fixed fishing stations that once stood on the lake, already described in Roman times. The museum is located in the Radetzky room, a former Habsburg pyrotechnic laboratory in the 19th century, located inside the Bastione San Marco of the 16th century. In the museum you can appreciate original material, such as boats, nets and tools used by fishermen, photos and curiosities that have characterized life on Lake Garda.

Public space

Voltoni Bridge
Voltoni Bridge is one of the most characteristic elements of Peschiera del Garda. It was built in 1556, immediately after the construction of the Fortress and the construction works were supervised by the Venetian administrator, Iacobo Gauro. Peschiera once characterized by several fishing stations, also mentioned in Roman times by the texts of Plinius the Elder, presents the fixed fishing station, called

Administrator’s Palace and San Marco Square
The Administrator’s Palace is located in the historical center of the city, near the Canale di Mezzo (river). The Venetian patricians, appointed by the Republic of Venice, exercised the power of governors of the Fortress at this palace, which later became the seat of the municipality of Peschiera del Garda.

Ferdinando of Savoy Square
To the right of the square you can see the facade of the church of St. Martino, dating back to the year 1000. The church stands on the pre-existing ruins of the temple of Jupiter, dated between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD. On the square there is also the Ancient Complex of the Rocca, which from the late Roman period underwent various military interventions by the Scaligeri, subsequently renovated in the Venetian period and covered in the end. The square was completed in the Habsburg period, with the construction of the buildings which surround it today.

Archaeological site

The Roman excavations
They are located in the center of the town, next to the church of San Martino. In the preserved and protected part, one recognizes on the north side a plan of a house that overlooks a paved courtyard. The rooms have different floors: mosaic, beaten with stone flakes and cocciopesto. The internal shaft is paved. The southern part outlines some rooms whose use is difficult to define. The part now uncovered is reduced compared to the original one: in 1981 a less interesting and strongly changed part was buried for subsequent works compared to the original plant.

Natural space

Frassino lake
It is a small lake, of glacial origin, with an area of about 80 hectares and a maximum depth of 15 meters, particularly important from a naturalistic point of view for the variety of animal and plant species found on its banks.

Frassino Oasis
A natural oasis, which formed by the retreat of the glacier during the last glaciation. For bird watchers it is the perfect place, because here is possible to admire numerous; aquatic birds, many of which use this area for nesting. The area extends over 75/80 hectares, for a length of 770 m and a width of 380 m.


Gondola Service
You can discover the history of Peschiera through an exclusive service on an original Venetian Gondola built in the “squero” by masters in San Trovaso, Venice. The gondola in Peschiera del Garda finds its historical placement thanks to the city walls, site awarded by Unesco, which were built in the 16th century by the Serenissima Republic of Venice leaving an important Venetian footprint in the city. The Venetian gondola was present in Peschiera del Garda as early as the mid-nineteenth century as evidenced by the archive’s historical photos.

Boat Tour
It is possible to visit the Peschiera del Garda’s fortress by boat which, navigating along the canals, will allow you to discover the grandeur and magnificence of the fortified system of the Serenissima Republic of Venice. The Audio Tour Guide is also available for those who sail around the walls by boat. You can hear the history of the various monuments and the walls, admiring the majesty up close.

City Train
Take a sightseeing tour of the fortified city with the train enjoying the historical monuments and beautiful streets of the city center in total comfort.

Discover the Lake of Garda, unique in its kind, by bicycle. It is possible to rent a bike and explore the area around, going from the shores of Lake Garda to the Morainic Hills, to the Mincio River Park and up to Monte Baldo.

Following the road that runs along Lake Garda on both the Venetian and Brescia coasts, there are lovely villages to visit, but not to be missed are the nearby Sirmione and Desenzano. After 45 km on the Veronese side you reach Malcesine from which you can take the cable car with a rotating cabin to climb Mount Baldo. Just 3.5 km away from Peschiera you can visit Ponti sul Mincio with its Scaligero Castle.