The Rocca di Manerba, guardian of the precious ecosystem of Lake Garda.

Sometimes, feeling your heart skip a beat doesn't require immense efforts; it takes just a few steps to see the horizon open up from the cliffs of Lake Garda: the Rocca di Manerba Nature Reserve.

One of the most evocative protected areas of the entire Lake Garda is located in Manerba del Garda: the Rocca and the Sasso Nature Reserve and the Lake Park (1,160,000 square meters of land and 850,000 square meters of lake). Established to protect and enhance the natural and landscape characteristics of the area with the ancient and archaeological ones, as an important heritage of history and biodiversity.

The main points of reference are the ancient medieval fortress with its Civic Archaeological Museum of Valtenesi, which is a memory and testimony of the reasons for which man has decided to settle in this wonderful context since ancient times (some finds date back to Mesolithic – 8000-5000 BC).

La Rocca, that is the foundations and remains of an ancient medieval castle, is located on a spur of rock more than 150 meters high overlooking the lake, which make it an unmistakable reference of the coastal profile of Lake Garda, easily recognizable from any panoramic point.

How to get there to visit the Rocca di Manerba del Garda?

The simplest and shortest way is to follow the signs for the Rocca from the center of Manerba del Garda (BS). They will lead you to a large dirt parking lot near the Museum (there is also a bar there). Going up briefly along the path you will reach the Rocca and the large iron cross that dominates the whole breathtaking panorama. On site there are many information signs (in Italian, English and German) that explain its history in various chapters: the medieval castle, the castle church (dedicated to San Nicola), the pictorial decorations of the fifteenth century, the church bell of the castle, the late Roman attendance and the early medieval settlement, the defense system of Garda and the neighboring valleys between the 5th and 7th centuries, ritual activities on the Rocca from the Late Bronze to Roman times, the ancient traces of human presence and the settlement on terracing from the Neolithic period to the Copper Age. In short … a beautiful bath of history that will not leave fans indifferent.

Trekking route in the Rocca Nature Reserve.

After visiting the Rocca and admiring the wonderful panorama that also includes the Island of San Biagio and the Isola del Garda, we recommend that you continue the dirt path that descends and then climbs towards the Sasso plateau (another overhanging panoramic point on the lake where it will be beautiful to lie down for a sunny picnic) and continue on the right along the cliff. You will lose yourself admiring the landscape, the colors of the water, the vertical rocks that host the flight of the seagulls, and many native trees and bushes (such as the Black Hornbeam, the Downy Oak, the Butcher’s Broom, the Honeysuckle and the Hellebore) that they easily coexist with trees and bushes typical of the Mediterranean scrub.


The downhill path is quite bumpy, definitely not suitable for small children who must be accompanied. In addition, the stretch along the cliff is in some places near the cliff without protection, so even here we recommend that you monitor children and pets. It is also not recommended for cyclists, again for safety reasons.

Enthusiasts who wish to have a particularly prepared guide, as well as on the typical technical aspects of hiking, also on the cultural ones, both naturalistic (botany, zoology, geology, ecology) and anthropological (history, ethnography), can contact the media companions. mountain, regularly registered in the Register, available to lead groups along the paths of the Rocca and Sasso Nature Reserve of Manerba del Garda and the area surrounding the lake. For guided tours you can contact: tel. +39 3396137247 –

I conclude with a brief personal reflection: for a moment, immersed in observing those cliffs overlooking the blue, I literally felt I was on vacation. I looked down at the waves breaking on the cliff and didn’t understand where I was: Under the Turnberry lighthouse in Scotland? Along the Route des Cretes in France? If they had brought me there blindfolded, I would have thought I was very far from home, which for me is Lake Garda, so unique and incredible is that panorama.

See you next time dear Outdoors!

Silvia Turazza – Garda Outdoors editorial staff

Silvia Turazza

According to the art of onomancy, the meaning of my name is described as follows: "it lives in the woods, sylvan and wild". Sometimes fate knows the way before you, and forges you with the most akin experiences. I live in the heart of Lake Garda in Castelletto di Brenzone. Passionate about trekking, photography and writing, which I combine in small adventures. If you are looking for me, you will find me in the forest overlooking the lake... with my Roberto and Gea.