Lago di Garda
Italy’s largest lake, Lago di Garda, rests a short distance from Verona, with Venice to its east and Milan to its west. Lake Garda is often overshadowed by it’s colorful neighbor, Como, famed for its celebrity summer inhabitants. But Lake Garda— bordered by mountains, seaside towns and vines— is no less lovely than Como.
The northern Lake District has a culture all its own in large part because of its proximity to the German border (roadside stands advertise in both German and Italian). The mild climate of the area favors Mediterranean plants including olive and citrus trees. In Garda, the cooking is generally Mediterranean, using many saltwater fish.
Despite George Clooney’s affinity for Lake Como, Garda has long been a favorite of the glitterati. In 1921, Ezra Pound wrote to James Joyce from a hotel overlooking Lake Garda: “Dear Joyce, I’d like you to spend a week here with me. The location is well worth the journey – both Catullus and I can guarantee it!”
In the town of Sirmione on the lower part of the Lake lies the Grotto of Catallus, the best-preserved example of a Roman private residence found in northern Italy. The structure is said to have belonged to the Roman poet Caius Valerius Catullus, a native of Verona.
When visiting the area, spend long days along the lake, exploring each little town along its shore. Harbor-hop along the banks of the water, from ruin to ruin to ruin.