Desenzano is an enchanting town and pleasant seaside resort lying fan-like on the first circle of the morainic amphitheater. Desenzano has an artistic, historical and archaeological heritage that has its roots in Roman times. In the Middle Ages it was the subject of bitter struggles between Brescia and Verona, in the fifteenth century it came under the dominion of Venice, becoming a thriving commercial center in modern times. The heart of the city rises around Piazza Malvezzi and the Porto Vecchio, embellished by the sixteenth-century palaces of the Brescia architect Giulio Todeschini.
The city boasts the nickname of “capital of Garda”, because it offers the possibility of intelligent tourism able to combine fun with the discovery of landscapes and historical-environmental memories very fascinating. An example is the largest morainic amphitheater in Italy which extends southwards and is perfect for relaxing walks in the hills. In addition, Desenzano is close to two airports and three large cities full of artistic masterpieces: Verona , Mantova and Brescia .
Things to do and what to see on a day trip in Desenzano del Garda
Desenzano del Garda is the home of two illustrious citizens: Angelo Anelli, librettist who worked with Rossini writing for him the libretto of “L’italiana in Algeri”; and Sant’Angela Merici, founder of the Ursuline order and patroness of Desenzano. La Merici was proclaimed a saint in 1807 by Pope Pius VII. According to tradition, the saint had the premonitory vision of the foundation of the Company of S. Orsola in the place where the Mericiarum of Desenzano now stands, a large natural park, an oasis of peace and silence.
Civic and Archaeological Museum.
One of the testimonies of the origins of the city is found in the archaeological civic museum: it is an almost complete plow dating back to 2000 BC. It is considered the oldest such find in the world. The Desenzano museum also collects artifacts found along the southern banks of the Benaco from the Paleolithic to the Bronze Age. The museum focuses on the prehistoric pile dwellings of the lower Garda area of Brescia, or the “houses on the water” in which the men of that time lived. The very humid environment has allowed a high level of conservation of these houses, providing us with valuable information on the agricultural techniques used.
Castle of Desenzano del Garda.
Of the imposing castle that dominates the city , built to defend the barbarian invasions, remain the walls and the entrance keep with the remains of a drawbridge. In the 15th century the castle contained 120 houses and a small church dedicated to Sant’Ambrogio. At the end of the 19th century it was transformed into a barracks until 1943. The peculiarity of this place is that from the keep you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Lake Garda.
Cathedral of Desenzano.
In the heart of Desenzano stands the Cathedral dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. Perhaps not everyone knows that the Baroque building was built on a project by Giulio Todeschini, a famous architect from Brescia of the 16th century. Also inside the Cathedral stand out the works of Andrea Celesti , a Venetian painter of the ‘600, and in the chapel of the SS. Sacramento can also be admired “The Last Supper” by Giambattista Tiepolo , one of the greatest Venetian painters of the 18th century.
Roman Villa of Desenzano del Garda.
The Roman Villa is a very important archaeological site for the entire area of Lake Garda. The Brescia area, starting from the capital itself, is rich in Roman remains, villas, mosaics and evidence of the classical era. In 1921 excavations for the construction of a house began in Desenzano, but they were soon interrupted when the first polychrome mosaics were found. Studies have highlighted several construction phases: the Roman Villa as we know it today dates back to the 4th century AD.
In recent decades Desenzano has also become the most renowned town on the Garda for its vitality and entertainment offer; it is the country with the busiest nightlife, the one that attracts most of the young people. This is because it offers numerous attractions, including beach clubs and trendy nightclubs . It has many trendy bars to sit down for an aperitif in the late afternoon, or to spend the evening with friends over a cocktail. Many of the bars stay open late into the night and offer live music to keep the atmosphere as lively as possible.
Hotels – Restaurants – Experiences on Lake Garda.
On Lake Garda there are many structures in which to stay, from small and well-kept B&B’s to resorts with wellness centers and beauty services, in the section dedicated to hotels find all the information you need to find the most suitable accommodation for you.
The same goes for restaurants, at this link you will find our selection of restaurants on Lake Garda. Remembering that Lake Garda offers several starred restaurants and the quality of the culinary offer is very high.
There are many activities and experiences you can do on Lake Garda, so we recommend you visit the section dedicated to experiences in our magazine by clicking here.
How to Reach Desenzano del Garda.
Desenzano can be easily reached by train, the station is unique and is called Desenzano del Garda – Sirmione, from there on foot it is 5 minutes to the center and 15 minutes to the nearest beach. The bus then leaves from the station to go to Sirmione, another really beautiful city that we recommend you visit once you are there.
You can arrive via the A4 motorway that passes through cities such as Milan or Turin, you will find the Desenzano exit which is a few kilometers from the center.
Milan Linate: this is the airport located just outside the center of Milan, from here you can reach the Milano Centrale station and take the train to Desenzano in 50 minutes with the FrecciaRossa train or in an hour and twenty minutes with the regional train.
Orio al serio: this is Bergamo Airport, from there you can reach Bergamo station and then arrive in Brescia in an hour, from there in 15 minutes you can reach Desenzano del Garda Sirmione station.
Catullo Airport of Verona. from there you can reach the Verona train station and get to Desenzano in 30 minutes, or rent a car.
For any questions about your holiday on Lake Garda, do not hesitate to contact us by commenting on this article or by writing on our social channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter , TikTok), we are always available to help you.
See you next time dear Outdoors!