Lake Garda in Northern Italy is the country's largest lake; it lies between Venice and Milan and is one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations. The eastern side of the lake where most of the tourists visit is nicknamed the "Riviera of Olives" after the many olive groves in the vicinity. The pleasant climate is another draw to the many visitors who come to the lake shores each year. Olive groves, citrus trees and vineyards are in the surrounding countryside and together with the local farms and freshly caught fish from the lake; Lake Garda can satisfy even the fussiest foodie. The lake gets its name from the town of Garda which is located on the lake's southeastern shore.
In the late 5th century the Ostrogoths, a branch of the Goths, established a fortress on the Rocca south of the town of Garda. Rocca was invaded several times and finally was captured by the Venetians. There are several examples of Venetian architecture in the area.
Major communities on the shores of the Lake Garda include Malcesine which has a quaint historic center with meandering cobbled streets but is best known for the Castello Scalligero, a 13th century fort with a medieval tower. Within the castle the remains of an Etruscan tomb were uncovered. The community is framed by Monte Baldo which rises 2,218 meters behind it and visitors can take a cable car to the top for spectacular views and to visit the botanical gardens.
Sirmione has luxurious lakeside resorts, thermal bath resorts and hotels such as Terme di Sirmione but is largely known for its historic significance. There are Roman ruins in the town as well as a castle. Le Grotte di Catullo on the Sirmione peninsula is surrounded by olive groves and citrus trees, here the remains of the villa of Catulla was found which probably belonged to a wealthy Roman official. Peschiera del Garda is a town encircled by 16th century walls and has a picturesque historic center with plenty of activities, hotels ,restaurants and intersting places to visit.
The Castle of Arco overlooks has featured in many famous paintings including that of Albrecht Durer which is exhibited in the Louvre, Paris. The castle and the village are connected by a series of enclosing walls and the village has gateways where you can enter. The castle dates back to the 12th century and includes a cistern cut out of the rock which is filled by rainwater collected on the roofs
The Fortress of Nago was constructed in 1860, it has two levels the upper floor was used to accommodate troops and the lower level has an entrance which blocks the road. There used to be 6 cannons on the upper level and 2 on the lower. The fort has been restored and there is now a restaurant on the lower level.
The Mount Brione Fortress is another stunning piece of Lake Garda architecture, its construction began in 1862 and various other fortifications were added over the years.
The Apponale Tower in Riva del Garda was constructed in 1220, it rises 34 meters and has recently been renovated so that you can climb the 165 steps to the summit. On the eastern shores of Lake Garda is Torri del Benaco, a fortified commune where you can see a 14th century castle which faces a quaint Roman harbor. Today Torri del Benaco is surrounded by indigenous pine trees and olive groves and is one of the most charming and most visited of the Lake Garda communities offering stunning sceneries and enchanting accommodations.