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Lake Garda


Lake Garda

Lago di Garda
Lake Garda
Nago–Torbole and the northern part of the lake
Location Northern Italy
Primary inflows Sarca
Primary outflows Mincio
Catchment area 2,350 km²
Basin countries Italy
Max. length 51.6 km
Max. width 16.7 km
Surface area 369.98 km²
Average depth 136 m
Max. depth 346 m
Water volume 50.35 km³
Residence time 26.8 years
Shore length1 158.4 km
Surface elevation 65 m
Islands 5 (Isola del Garda, Isola San Biagio)
Settlements see article
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Garda (Italian: Lago di Garda or Lago Benaco) is the largest lake in Italy. It is a popular holiday location and is located in northern Italy, about half-way between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan. Glaciers formed this alpine region at the end of the last Ice Age. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the provinces of Verona (to the south-east), Brescia (south-west), and Trentino (north).


  • ITC 1
    • Towns and villages on the lake 1.1
  • Climate 2
  • Biology 3
  • History 4
  • Transport 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The northern part of the lake is narrower, surrounded by mountains, the majority of which belong to the Gruppo del Baldo. The shape is typical of a moraine valley, probably having been formed under the action of a Paleolithic glacier. Although traces of the glacier's actions are evident today, in more recent years it has been hypothesised that the glacier occupied a previously existing depression, created by stream erosion 5 to 6 million years ago.

The lake has numerous small islands and five main ones, the largest being Isola del Garda. Nearby to the south is Isola San Biagio, also known as the Isola dei Conigli ("Island of the Rabbits"). Both are offshore of San Felice del Benaco, on the west side. The three other main islands are Isola dell'Olivo, Isola di Sogno, and Isola di Trimelone, all farther north near the east side. The main tributary is the Sarca River, others include Ponale River, Varone River and various streams from both mountain sides, while the only outlet is the Mincio River.

If the water level of the Adige river is too high, excess water is diverted to the lake through the Mori-Torbole tunnel.

Towns and villages on the lake

The ancient fortified town of Sirmione, located on the south of the lake, is one particularly popular destination, home to the Virgilio & Catullo Spa Complexes, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, hotels, fashion stores and a market. The picturesque Scaliger castle dates from the 13th century. The Roman poet Catullus had a villa here, and visitors can see a ruined Roman spa named the Grotte di Catullo (Grottoes of Catullus) although there is no evidence linking him to this particular building. The sulfur springs at the tip of the peninsula have a reputation for healing catarrhal conditions, particularly those involving the ear. Nearby, there is Gardaland, one of the most famous theme parks in Italy.

Lake Garda from space.
The Communes of Lake Garda
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol
(clockwise: west to east)
Province of Verona
(clockwise: north to south)
Province of Brescia
(clockwise: south to north)
View from Torbole, looking south, over the water.


The particularly mild climate favours the growth of some Mediterranean plants, including the olive tree. Citrus (lemon) trees can also be found, which are extremely rare at this latitude (46 North).[1] This greatly favored the development of tourism since the end of the second world war. In ancient times, poets like Catullus wrote about "Lacus Benacus" with its mild climate vivified by the winds. With subtropical characteristics.


Salmo carpio, also known as the carpione (carpione del Garda[2][3] or Lake Garda carpione[4]) is a rare salmonid fish endemic to Lake Garda. It has been introduced to a number of other lakes in Italy and elsewhere but unsuccessfully in all cases.[2] The population in Lake Garda has been strongly declining, and is considered critically endangered (IUCN 3.1).[3][4] The main threats are due to overfishing, pollution and possibly competition from introduced species such as Coregonus and Salmonidae.[5]

Adult lake trout outside the mating season are silvery with very few black spots on the body and almost none on the head. During the mating season males develop some a dark mottled body coloration. Garda lake trout reach a length of up to 50 centimeters. They live primarily in depths of 100 to 200 meters. They feed on zooplankton and bottom-dwelling crustaceans in summer. Males and females reach sexual maturity at two or three years. The mating takes place every one to two years. The spawning takes place in 50 to 300 meters depth in the vicinity of underwater springs. The maximum age is five years.[6]

View of south lake near Peschiera del Garda (Verona, Italy) (probably with Lake Frassino or River Mincio), at the top off the painting are the mountains of Brescia (Italy). Painted after 1533 by Girolamo dai Libri.




Infrequent ferry services connect major towns on the eastern and western shores of Lake Garda. The services run in a zig-zag manner from Desenzano del Garda to Riva del Garda (Reiff-am-Gardasee), via Peschiera del Garda, Salò, Garda and Malcesine. One express ferry, on which bicycles are not allowed, operates per day: journey time from Riva/Reiff to Peschiera takes 2 hours.


Buses are faster alternatives to ferry services. On Lake Garda's eastern coast (provinces of Verona and Trentino), ATV (Verona Transport Company) provides at least five daily bus routes between Verona and Garda, with one route extending beyond Garda to Riva/Reiff. Trentino Transporti provides daily bus routes between Riva/Reiff and Rovereto/Rofreit or Trento/Trient.

  • 162: Verona - Garda (via Bussolegno)
  • 163: Verona - Garda (via Lasize)
  • 164: Verona - Verona-Villafranca Airport (summer only) - Peschiera del Garda - Gardaland - Garda
  • 165: Verona - Garda (via Calmasino)
  • 183: Peschiera - Garda - Gardaland - Malcesine (May to October)
  • 184: Garda - Malcesine - Riva del Garda
  • 205: Verona - Garda EXPRESS (summer only)
  • X05: Verona - Garda EXPRESS (limited service)

On Lake Garda's western coast (province Brescia), SAIA (Brescia Mobilità) provides regular bus services between Desenzano and Salò.

  • S202: Brescia - Salò - Campione - Limone sul Garda - Riva del Garda
  • LN006: Salò - Desenzano del Garda (via Cunettone)
  • LN007: Salò - Desenzano del Garda (via Raffa)
  • LN027: Salò - Desenzano del Garda (via Moniga)


Railway stations with direct bus links include Rovereto (to Riva/Reiff), Verona (to Garda), Peschiera del Garda (to Garda) and Desenzano del Garda (to Salò).


  1. ^ Catherine Richards Lake Como, Lake Lugano, Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda - The Italian Lakes, p. 91, at Google Books
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Salmo carpio in FishBase. April 2006 version.
  3. ^ a b Crivelli, A.J. 2006. Salmo carpio In: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. Downloaded on 2 April 2010
  4. ^ a b S. Melotto, G. Alessio (2006) L., an endemic species of Lake Garda (Italy)Salmo carpioBiology of carpione, Journal of Fish Biology 37, 687-698.
  5. ^ Fishing World Records - Salmo carpio Carpione
  6. ^ FishBase - Salmo carpio Linnaeus, 1758

External links

  • VisitGarda is the official website for the promotion of tourism of Lake Garda.
  • Gardalombardia is the official website for the promotion of tourism of the western coast of Lake Garda.
  • Brescia Tourism is the official tourism board website of Brescia and Garda Lake.
  • Virtual tour Garda Lake.
  • Lake Garda at DMOZ
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