A trip to Italy is not complete – well without a lot of things – but today’s focus is on the lakes. A sojourn on one of the famous lakes, especially in summer can make you feel right at home in Italy. It was probably here I decided that if I wasn’t Australian.. I would definitely liked to have been Italian!
There are two main lakes that most people have to decide on – if time permits a visit to only one – and these are Como and Garda. For us, the lesser known was Lake Garda and as it turned out the easier to get to if coming from Venice – which we were. In addition – George Clooney is not really my cup of tea (I know I can hear you all gasping in shock) so I was quite happy not to try spotting him and the other celebs that frequent Lake Como.
I might note here this was our first attempt at driving in Italy.. which was an adventure all on it’s own! So we set off intrepidly in our hire car to make the drive cross country from Venice to Limone – on north west coast of the lake.
There are a number of places to stay around Lake Garda with the most popular arguable Sirmione on the southern most part of the lake – but we wanted to get away a bit from the tourists, and Scott was keen to see the more mountainous regions in the north – which was much more subdued and tranquil. This was a much harder and longer trip, especially given the one way tunnels and the fact we couldn’t find the lights on the hire care (Who puts the light controls in the glove compartment!) But it was well worth the drive.
Limone is famous for its lemon groves – built into the sheer rocky cliffs towering at the lake edge, making for a dramatic back drop. It’s an old town and it’s easy to feel like you are in an old time romance movie, going on summer holidays by the lake. Ironically, though the word Limone means lemons, the name of the town dates back much further and comes from the Latin word for boundary – as Limone lay on the boundary of three provinces.
The heart of the town is without doubt the small port and the narrow alleyways wind up the hill from here. There are plenty of cafes along the picturesque waterfront – and there is nothing better than settling in for the afternoon, with an Aperol Spritzer or a glass of wine and watching the world go by. No one seems in a hurry to do anything other than enjoy themselves.
One place really worth visiting is the Limonaia del Castel – where you can tour the old lemon grove, check out the museum – and if you are lucky enough you may get a guided evening tour and limoncello tasting.
One of our reasons for travelling to this quaint lakeside town was to be closer to the northern end of the lake and them mountainous area of the dolomites. A few days of rain put paid to some of our day trips – including a ferry ride to Sirmione to visit the Castle and a drive to the Dolomites.
A break in the weather, however did give us a chance to hop on the ferry over to the beautiful town of Melcesine and the kick off point for ascending Mt Baldo – so Scott did in fact get a mountain in anyway!
Join us for Part 2 when we explore Melcesine and Mt Baldo