Peschiera del Garda: UNESCO Heritage Fortress Guide

Peschiera del Garda: things to do and see. Fortified town south of Lake Garda, UNESCO heritage, with a long history and ancient traditions.

Things to do and see in Peschiera del Garda

Peschiera del Garda is a wonderful fortified town south of Lake Garda, boasting a rich history and ancient traditions. In this article, let’s explore the list of the things to do and see in Peschiera del Garda that you definitely shouldn’t miss.

Credits: Joshua Cox

How to get to Peschiera del Garda?

Peschiera is easily accessible both by public transport and by car. Here’s how to get there:

  • Train: Peschiera is one of the two towns on Lake Garda with a railway station (along with Desenzano). It is located on the Milan-Venice line, which also passes through nearby Verona.
  • Plane: The nearest airport is Valerio Catullo Airport in Verona. During the summer, the ATV 482 bus line will take you directly to Peschiera. Throughout the year, there is also a shuttle (ATV 199) from the airport to Verona Porta Nuova station. From there, you can find a train or bus to reach Peschiera.
  • Car: The A4 motorway passes south of the town. The most convenient exit is “Peschiera,” which is located 2 kilometers from the historic center.

For more information on bus schedules around Lake Garda, I invite you to read our dedicated article.

Within the historic center and in the vicinity of the fortress, there are many paid parking lots. If you are looking for free parking options in Peschiera del Garda, I have two choices for you:

  • Lungolago Bonomi Parking: Free parking from Monday to Saturday, very close to the highway exit. In just 10 minutes on foot, you will reach the historic center of the city.
  • Campo Sportivo Parking: Free parking every day, a 5-minute walk from one of the two city entrances.

Credits: Szymonek Pograniczny

Things to do and see in Peschiera del Garda

Thanks to its strategic location, the history of Peschiera del Garda has been marked by numerous dominations. A pile-dwelling site during the Bronze Age, it became a Roman fortress in the 1st century B.C., taking the name “Arilica”. Under the rule of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, it then assumed the appearance of the pentagonal bastioned fortress that we still see today.

Its role as a fortress continued during the Napoleonic and Habsburg eras. From the 1800s, it became an Austro-Hungarian stronghold and became part of the defensive Quadrilateral of Italy. It then joined the Kingdom of Italy in 1866 after the Third War of Independence.

1. UNESCO Heritage Fortress
2. Historical Center
3. Ciclabile lungo il Mincio

Credits: Franco Lanfredi

1. UNESCO Heritage Fortress

What is interesting about Peschiera del Garda? This village on Lake Garda is renowned for its magnificent Fortress, a feature that earned it a place in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017 among the Venetian Defense Works of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Fortress is a true “open-air museum.” If you’re looking for free things to see in Peschiera del Garda, a stroll inside is a must!

The Fortress was built starting in the 14th century under the rule of the Scaligeri. Later, it was modified and reinforced during the Republic of Venice era, with the addition of the five ramparts at the vertices of the pentagonal fortification: Bastione Feltrini, Bastione Tognon (where the optical telegraph used to be), Bastione Querini, Bastione San Marco (the highest one), and Bastione Cantarane.

An original and very suggestive way to discover the majestic complex of the walls and the Bastions is with the Boat Tour around the walls; Giro delle Mura. A tour of about 25 minutes that starts from Piazza San Marco, to admire the external part of the entire fortress of Peschiera. To stay in a Venetian atmosphere, a similar tour is also carried out by a gondola, typical boat of the Venetian lagoon.

The things to do and see in Peschiera don’t end here. Keep reading and discover more about this must-visit place on Lake Garda.

Credits: Szymonek Pograniczny

2. Historical Centre

The city of Peschiera del Garda consists of two islets surrounded by the waters of the Mincio River. The historic center of the city is easily recognizable: it is all within the walls of the UNESCO Fortress.

There are only two points of access: Porta Brescia, also called the countryside gate, and Porta Verona. The latter is recognizable by the replica of the Venetian winged lion of St. Mark, a symbol of the Serenissima. Destroyed by Napoleon, the facade of the gate remained without it for a long time. Thanks to the faithful reconstruction carried out by the Academy of Fine Arts of Verona, today you can admire it in all its ancient splendor.

Is it worth visiting Peschiera del Garda? Well, yes of course! It is one of the most charming towns on Lake Garda. Its unique structure will make your visit unforgettable!

Three things to see in Peschiera del Garda
Credits: Franco Lanfredi

The Habsburgs were responsible for the construction of the Military Quarter. Entering the historic center from Porta Verona, on your left, you will immediately find the Artillery Establishment. Completely restored and open to the public, it now houses the Civic Library. A little further ahead, you will notice the Austrian Powder Magazine, which served as a pyrotechnics laboratory.

On your right, you will see the green Catullo Park, home to the Infantry Barracks Francesco I, the Officers’ Building, and the Commander’s Palace:

  • The Infantry Barracks is the white building where the police school is currently located.
  • On the other hand, the Officers’ Building is light green. Inside, you can find small luxury shops and cozy spots to enjoy a great aperitif along the Middle Canal.
  • The Commander’s Palace is the prominent yellow building in the quarter. Today, it is also called the “Historical Building” because during the Great War, it hosted the Inter-Allied Conference. Representatives of Italy, France, and Great Britain gathered here along with King Vittorio Emanuele III. The decisions made in this palace were crucial for the conduct of the war.

If you’re a history enthusiast, Peschiera del Garda is the perfect place for your vacation! Grab a pen and paper, and let’s explore together the symbol of the city.

Credits: Joshua Cox

Most photos of Peschiera del Garda feature the same subject: the Ponte dei Voltoni. Symbol of the city, the bridge overlooks the Middle Canal, the waterway that separates the two islets of the town.

Built in 1556, it is easily recognizable with its 5 arches. Accessible by both car and on foot, it’s an excellent spot to capture one of the most characteristic images of the city.

Let’s cross the bridge and now explore the larger islet of the city. There, you can find many historical landmarks.

The main and largest square of Peschiera del Garda is called Piazza Ferdinando di Savoia (formerly Piazza Armi). Here, you can admire the imposing Bombproof Military Hospital with its characteristic E-shaped structure, which later became a military prison.

Overlooking the square is the Church of San Martino Vescovo, one of the oldest places of worship in Verona. Additionally, next to the church, you can see the Roman remains dating back to the 1st-4th century AD, unearthed during excavations.

But wait, there’s more! The historic center of Peschiera del Garda is perfect for a leisurely afternoon of strolling and shopping. A perfect activity to enjoy even as temperatures drop.

And if you are looking for other things to do in Peschiera del Garda or on Lake Garda in winter, read our article here!

Credits: Patrick Pahlke

In Peschiera del Garda you will find bars and restaurants serving traditional dishes and classic Italian favorites: plenty of pasta, pizza, and gelato! If you’re looking for what to buy as souvenirs from your vacation, there are also shops with typical and handmade products.

A must in the list of three things to see in Peschiera are Lungolago Mazzini and Lungolago Garibaldi, along which you can take a stroll. The best way to enjoy the beauty of the lake and capture incredible shots.

This is also one of the best things to do in Peschiera del Garda on a hot night. For other suggestions, here‘s our dedicated article.


Mincio Cycle Path

Among the things to see and do in Peschiera del Garda, the cycle path that connects the city to Mantua is a must-visit. A spectacular cycling and pedestrian path stretching 44 km along the banks of the Mincio River. The route is mostly flat and well-marked, easily accessible for both experienced cyclists and amateurs.

It’s particularly suitable for families, as it’s away from road traffic and immersed in greenery. The only sounds accompanying you will be the gentle flow of the river.

If you’re interested in more information about all the cycling routes around Lake Garda, you can read our article here.

Tre cose da vedere a Peschiera del Garda
Credits: M. Piavoli

Where does the Mincio Cycle Path begin? Right outside the Fortress of Peschiera del Garda! The trail starts at the Bastione Feltrin, keeping to the left once you exit from Porta Brescia and cross the bridge. A sign indicates the beginning and displays the entire route, which, as you’ll notice, passes through the lush Regional Park of the Mincio.

The route not only offers the pleasure of a peaceful and relaxing bike ride in nature but also leads to several beautiful points of interest. Among them, it’s worth making a stop in Borghetto sul Mincio, rightly included in the list of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.” The picturesque village is crossed by small watercourses and is famous for its waterfalls.

Reaching Borghetto sul Mincio is certainly one of the best day trips from Peschiera del Garda that you can do. Discover everything you need to know about it here!

Tre cose da vedere da Peschiera del Garda
Borghetto sul Mincio – Credits: Nico Angeli

After this enchanting break between nature and history, the Mincio Cycle Path continues towards Mantua.

Once you exit the Mincio Natural Park, the landscape changes, and on the horizon, you see the city of Mantua with its crenelated towers and palaces. A system of lakes, built as a defense for the city, almost entirely surrounds it, and the entrance to the center is truly evocative.

A visit to Mantua is a must once you arrive before getting back on the saddle for the return journey. For more information about the city of the Gonzagas, I invite you to read our dedicated article.

Tre cose da vedere a Peschiera del Garda
Mantova – Credits: Clara Bertasi (IG: @clamaval)

On the return journey, there are several detours you can take. From Monzambano, you can reach the medieval village of Castellaro Lagusello, nestled among the morainic hills with its famous heart-shaped lake. Alternatively, before reaching Peschiera, you can turn towards Ponti sul Mincio, a small medieval town dominated by a beautiful castle offering breathtaking views.

The Peschiera – Mantua cycle path is part of the European itinerary Eurovelo 7, which aims to connect Nordkapp to Malta through a complete cycling route.

Tre cose da vedere a Peschiera del Garda
Credits: Simone Villani

The list of things to do and see in Peschiera del Garda is complete, but I can’t let you go without telling you about the city’s main events!

  • Saint Martin’s Feast. The most famous event is undoubtedly this one. November 11 is the exact day of the Patron Saint Martin. In Peschiera, however, the celebrations last for three days and culminate in the famous Incendio dei Voltoni. Tourists from all over Italy and beyond come to admire this magnificent spectacle.
  • Canal Games. In July, three days of fun and a bit of madness are organized. Participants will engage in bizarre disciplines such as “ciclotuffo” and the inflatable race on the Middle Canal—laughter guaranteed.

Here ends the article on the things to do and see in Peschiera del Garda. I hope I’ve helped you! And if you’re looking for boat trips in Peschiera del Garda, visit our section here!


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