Exploring Soiano del Lago, cradle of beauty and tranquility

Nestled among rolling hills, lush vineyards and breathtaking views, this little village enchants visitors with its unique mix of history, beauty and peaceful atmosphere.

Welcome to Soiano del Lago, a little gem of Valtenesi, nestled among the hills of the magnificent Lake Garda in the province of Brescia. Let’s explore it together!

Historical overview

Soiano del Lago has deep roots that trace back to ancient times, even dating back to the Bronze Age, as evidenced by the findings of pile-dwelling villages. Throughout the centuries, Soiano and its surrounding areas witnessed various events, from Roman occupation to the invasion of the Hungarians, which caused devastation in the region. During the Middle Ages, the village came under the dominion of the Bishop of Verona, and later it was controlled by noble families such as the Della Scala and the Bohemians. In the 14th century, the Franciscans built the San Rocco convent along one of the main communication routes between Soiano and Padenghe. In the 15th century, modifications were made to the local statutes, extending the holidays to a total of 68 in addition to Sundays. The 18th century was marked by the War of the Spanish Succession, which brought devastation and violence to Soiano as well. It was only in 1947 that the village finally gained autonomy after being merged with other municipalities like Polpenazze and Padenghe.

What to see in Soiano

The Castle

The Castle of Soiano del Lago, built in the 10th century on a hill at 198 meters above sea level, was originally conceived as a defensive refuge, dominating the Valtenesi region and maintaining visual contact with other surrounding castles. Built on the remains of a Roman fortification, evidenced by the foundations and archaeological finds, the castle, along with other sites in the area, constituted a defensive system against enemy incursions. Despite its strategic importance, the castle was never a noble residence but primarily served as a refuge for the local population and their belongings during times of conflict.
During the Middle Ages, the castle was the center of community life, hosting meetings to elect representatives and discuss important issues. In 1330, it underwent significant renovations under the rule of Mastino della Scala, the lord of Verona, and subsequently came under the control of Giovanni di Boemia. Over the centuries, the castle remained a landmark for the local population, offering shelter during wars and maintaining its social importance.

The bell tower, erected on the ruins of a previous tower in the 13th century, became a distinctive feature of the castle. During the Second World War, the bells were hidden to prevent them from being melted down for war purposes. Today, the sound of the bells marks the highlights of community life.
Fun Fact: The bell ringer was responsible for the bells and had the privilege of residing inside the castle, paid by the municipality. The parish archive still preserves a register listing all the duties of the bell ringer that remained in force until half a century ago when he was replaced by electric automatisms.

The Church of San Michele

The Parish Church of Soiano, dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel and built starting from 1622, stands on a site believed to have housed an ancient chapel linked to the military settlement of the castle. Its proximity to the castle and dedication to Saint Michael, venerated by the Lombards who dominated the area, suggest this origin. The church underwent various embellishments over the centuries, with a complete restoration in 1926 adding elements in late Liberty style. However, it still retains its original seventeenth-century structure, with three altars on each side and a large apse.
The interior decorations, stained glass windows, wooden statues, and artworks mainly date back to the post-World War II restoration. Among the most significant works is the Altar of the Holy Rosary, erected in memory of the victory of Lepanto over the Turks, adorned with remarkable stucco decorations and statues of Saints Catherine of Siena and Dominic. The organ, made in 1693, and the Main Altar of 1790, with an altarpiece attributed to Giovanni Antonio Caroto, are other noteworthy works.
Particularly precious is the Altar of the Annunciation, which houses a canvas by the Genoese painter Bernardo Strozzi, dating back to the first half of the seventeenth century, commissioned by the wealthy Venetian family Carminati. The latter, owners of vast estates in the region, also donated the relics of Saint Alban the Martyr, co-patron of Soiano, visible in the reliquary at the foot of the altar. The gilded wooden altarpiece, an example of Brescia carving from the seventeenth century, completes the altar, giving it an imposing majesty.

The Church of San Carlo

The Church of San Carlo, located in the Chizzoline area within the municipality of Soiano del Lago, was built in 1610 following the pastoral visit of Saint Charles Borromeo to the diocese of Brescia in 1580. This event deeply impacted the local inhabitants, who decided to commemorate the saint and his visit by constructing this church. Architecturally, the church features a sober and simple design, with a single nave and a small bell tower. The gabled facade is enriched with elements that lend an elegant touch to the building. Inside, there is an important work by Andrea Bertanza, an altarpiece depicting the Madonna of the Snow with Saints Giustina and Charles Borromeo, notable for its attention to detail and beauty, which adds luster to the small church.

Festivals and traditions of Soiano

During the summer, the medieval castle becomes a natural theater for numerous events and concerts. Among the most anticipated events is the celebration of Ferragosto, followed by the festivities in honor of Saint Roch, while the last Sunday of September marks the festival of the patron Saint Michael the Archangel.

Garda Golf Country Club Soiano

The Garda Golf Country Club is a golf course consisting of 27 holes, located on the morainic hills of Soiano del Lago. In 2020, it was rated as the 2nd best golf course in Lombardy and the 4th best in Italy.

Where to sleep in Valtenesi

We recommend two different and unique places:

BorgoLuna Luxury Holidays House is a small jewel set in the village of San Felice del Benaco. 3 exclusive suites, born from the union between history and innovation, between sustainability of materials and respect for tradition.
For further information click here.

The Hotel San Filis, with all its charm of an ancient 17th century residence, is located in the historic heart of San Felice del Benaco. Swimming pool, garden, restaurant and many services available to guests.
For further information click here.

Experiences in Valtenesi

The cultural and natural heritage of Valtenesi offers many opportunities to live unique experiences in the area. Here are some ideas for many beautiful emotions!

To experience the waves of the lake as true protagonists on Wakesurf, E-foil, Foil, Jetsurf you cannot miss an adventure with the Your Wave team.

To visit a unique and exciting location surrounded by vineyards and book a food and wine tasting we recommend the Conti Thun Winery.

Do you love adventure? Do you like to get excited? Try parasailing and discover Lake Garda by flying thanks to the Garda Parasailing team.

Have you ever experienced the silence of an electric boat? At Nautica Elettrica San Felice you will find it for hire.

Do you like to photograph? Contact professional photographer Stefano Maraggi to guide you in your search for the perfect shot.

Even though the historic center of Soiano is indeed very small, let’s not underestimate the beauty and tranquility it truly offers. Here, there’s a piece of Lake Garda frozen in time, waiting to be discovered.
Until next time, dear Outdoors!

Silvia Turazza

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.