Desenzano del Garda

If you want to experience a combination of quaint Italian charm and the amenities of a modern city, there's no better place to go then Desenzano. This city is widely regarded to be the capital of Lake Garda and houses a population of just over 20,000 people. In Desenzano, you'll experience the contrast between the hustle and bustle of a larger city with the same old world feel that all the other Lake Garda cities have.

Understandably, Desenzano offers a wide variety of activities and attractions that are appropriate for this city's size. There are lots of great quality hotels, camping sites and charming inns. The restaurant choices range from five-star fine dining to convenient cafes and street vendors. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy swimming pools, tennis courts and horseback riding around the area. Art and history lovers will appreciate the museums, libraries and artefacts that dot the landscape.

Getting to Desenzano

Travelling to Desenzano is easy. The train station is on the Milan-Venice line which makes it an easy stop in between these two metropolitan areas. There is also a freeway exit from the Milan-Venice highway that will take you directly to the heart of Desenzano. The V. Catullo airport is just 20 km away. And, as expected, you can reach Desenzano by ferry from many of the other Lake Garda Towns.

Although the outskirts of town have grown quite commercial in recent years, the heart of Desenzano showcases its rich history and maintains the spirit of the area. The Piazza Matteotti is a large paved area and is for pedestrians only. The surrounding archways house shops and cafes. At night, the section of the city bursts to life as young people from around the region come to experience the Desenzano nightlife. It's the place to experience a great night out!

Desenzano Shopping

During the day, you can occupy yourself in a variety of different ways. What's an Italian vacation without a little shopping involved? Desenzano doesn't disappoint in this area. Being such a large commercial centre, there are large chain stores that may be familiar to people from other countries. However, Desenzano is still home to lots of unique Italian shops that cater to tourists and locals who want some of the finer things in life. The shopping in Desenzano spirals out from the piazza and stores are sometimes hidden within other locations. For example, some of the best shops in Desenzano are accessible only through entering arcades! This makes your shopping something similar to a grown-up version of a scavenger hunt. But it all adds appeal to the Desenzano shopping experience.

Desenzano Culture

Desenzano has been attracting people for thousands of years. At the G. Rambotti Museum you can take a look at local archaeological finds that show evidence of people living here since the Bronze Age (2,000 B.C.). The museum houses artefacts that were discovered in a peat bog between Desenzano and Lonato. Ceramics, arrowheads, weapons, utensils and a nearly complete plough are all showcased. The museum is open Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

If you're looking to experience a little more recent history, head on over to the Roman villa to get your culture fix. The site, discovered in 1921, is one of the most well preserved examples of the great villas of the late Roman era. Thousands of artefacts from necklaces to oil lamps are on display as well as detailed murals on the floors of the ruins. The site is open every day except Monday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Medieval art lovers will be entranced by the Cathedral il Duomo. Dedicated to Santa Maria Maddalena and built between 1586 and 1611, the Cathedral is home to a wide variety of artwork by some of the most prominent artists of the era.

A True Italian Town

But you don't have to experience history to appreciate Desenzano. The wide harbour with its dozens of yachts and fishing boats can provide enough interest for you to enjoy a lazy Italian afternoon. Part of the magnificence of Desenzano is the ability to be completely entertained by just walking through the city streets. Don't let the size of this town fool you. Although it's bigger than many of the other cities on the lake, it still holds onto its quaint Italian charm.