Bardolino, the town of wine and olive oil
What are the three things to see in Bardolino? Today I will talk to you about this, but first, it is better to start with a little information. If this is the first time you hear of this town, it is useful to know that it is located on the Veronese side of Lake Garda, more precisely between Lazise and Garda. This wonderful town has various beaches, a stunning lake promenade and a pedestrian-cycle path that connects to the other two neighbouring localities.
As the other places to visit on Lake Garda, it is natural asking yourself … “What are its origins and above all … What can or should I see in Bardolino?”
The churches and places of worship to see are the Church of San Severo with the ancient frescoes dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Also, worth seeing; the magnificent parish Church in Piazza Matteotti. Are you more interested in a culinary topic? Then you should consider the Oil Museum in Cisano, which offers an educational and historical tour to discover more about the traditional oil production. It might sound strange but most people before knowing Bardolino as a town, they know the name because of its wine. And so, of course, I suggest visiting the Wine Museum, to taste, buy and discover the famous Bardolino wine more in detail!
And finally, the little streets of the city are a must-see for any visitor of the area. Here you will find many typical shops where you can buy souvenirs, taste something local or simply have a real Italian aperitivo or gelato!
In the old town of Bardolino there are well-kept green areas, for example the public gardens in Parco Bassani. An ideal place to sit back on a bench but especially families will find a spot to let their children have their play moment!
The little Longobardi town
Bardolino is situated on a hilly area 65 meters above sea level, on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. This town is located 30 km far from Verona and is bordered to the North by Garda, to the South by Lazise and to the East by Affi and Calmasino. Its territory covers 55 square kilometers and has a population of around 8000 inhabitants.
The origin of the town has its roots in the Italian culture of pile-dwellers, while the name derives from “bardus” which can be translated as “longobardo”. Therefore, the meaning of the word Bardolino is “little Longobardi town”. Numerous artifacts date back to the Roman period and evidence various activities; of particular interest are graveyards, sculptures, little objects as coins, city walls, dwellings and some local toponyms.
Afterwards, the small town underwent several invasions and was dominated by Longobardi, Visconti and Franchi. In the 9th century b.C. there was an important battle between the Veronese and the inhabitants of Benaco. In that period the city of Garda became increasingly important so that the original name of Lake Benàco was changed into Lake Garda.
As time passed, the municipality started to defend itself by building fortresses and castles. In particular, the castle was continuously rebuilt until the Scaligeri era, when it took its final form; the remains are still visible today. In a map of the 15th century, for example, the local topography was already evident. It was already possible to observe the city walls, the two towers on the sides, the main entrance doors and the churches of San Severo and San Zeno.
After the Scaligeri era the town passed into the hands of the Serenissima Republic of Venice. Becoming the heart of the struggles and naval battles in Garda territory. Then, many years later it fell under the control of Habsburg empire, the reign of Napoleon and finally under the Lombardo-Venetian rule. Only in 1866 Bardolino was recognized as part of the Reign of Italy.
Bardolino is twinned with the German town of Rednitzhmbach, in Bavaria. This bond was established after the visit of the German delegation to the grape festival in Bardolino, which is held annually in the autumn period.
There are a lot of places to visit on Lake Garda and most people don’t have a lot of time on their hands. If this is your case, read the next lines and discover the three things to see in Bardolino!
1. Bardolino Lakeshore
The first thing to see in Bardolino is its famous lakeshore. This panoramic point offers a stunning view. Especially at sunset, when the lights go down at the opposite side of the lake and the golden glow starts colouring the nearby mountains. A unique opportunity to take a romantic selfie with a wonderful landscape or a photography of the perfectly well-kept flowerbeds!
A very important element of this trail is the harbour, meeting point of several boats and place full of colours. Every year the feast “Il Palo della Cuccagna” is celebrated here. The participants climb a pole covered with grease and try to get the flag at the end of it. This event is very funny to watch and for the braver ones to participate.
In addition to this, in this zone you can find many restaurants and typical local dishes to suite your taste.
The ultimate symbol of Bardolino is “La Botte”, a 3-meter-high and 2-meter-wide wooden barrel, located at the end of the lakeshore. They have chosen this symbol to honour the town beloved red Bardolino and Chiaretto, a sophisticated rosé appreciated by the most refined palates. The barrel has an opening to allow all visitors of Bardolino to enter and to look out of the heart-shaped window. So don’t forget to take a photography too if you are a fan of Bardolino wine!
2. Lake side walking- and cycling trail
The pedestrian-cycle path that connects the wonderful Bardolino to Lazise runs along the lakeside and is about six km. You can admire the spectacular blooms, nearly all year round and the typical lake fauna like, swans, ducks and mallards.
In addition to this, the route is provided with kiosks and cafés where you can relax and recover your energies. However, especially in the summertime, the path is very much visited by both pedestrians as bikes. Not without reason of course, as it earned the reputation of the most popular pedestrian-cycle path of Garda Lake. Another reason why it is part of the list of three things to visit in Bardolino.
If you are planning to visit this path too, it is useful to know that on foot it takes about one hour and by bike only twenty minutes. Considering also the return it could seem a lot of time, however, the ground is paved and completely flat. It is walkable even in case of rain, since there is no risk to get dirty or covered in mud. Moreover, it is perfect for families with children, because the road is not particularly steep and runs along the lake. Far from the main road!
Having said this, I feel I can tell you that city bikes, mountain bikes or e-bikes are a good choice to visit the various places on Lake Garda. As they will allow you to discover its landscapes and scents without a big effort. For those who do not have their own bicycle, it is possible to rent it in one of the available shops in the centre.
In Cisano, a village close to Bardolino, there is plenty of cafés and restaurants where you can drink or eat something. There are also several meadows, piers and beaches where you can sit and admire the beauty of the landscape. Last but not least, it is full of colourful flowerbeds, little tourist harbours and romantic spots.
3. Bardolino Beaches
Along the path from Bardolino to Lazise there are different beaches where you can relax and go swimming, after a stroll in hot weather. Whether they are public or private, almost all beaches are well-equipped, easy to reach and made of gravel and pebbles. Among the most popular bathing establishments we can find Lido Holiday Beach, located at the north entrance of Bardolino. It is a private area that offers every kind of entertainment for those who want to get relaxed by the lake. For example, there is a night discotheque for music lovers!
Other beautiful beaches are Lido Mirabello, Lido Cornicello and Lido di Cisano. This last one is a public zone that can be reached both from Bardolino as from Lazise by walking along the coastline. In this area, the water is shallow, and the beach offers a playground for kids and a green area where it is possible to have lunch or a nice pic-nic. On the other hand, Lido Mirabello is situated at the south entrance of the town, offers a fee-paying beach and is characterized by deep water. It is the ideal place for those who literally want to dive into the lake! Finally, Lido Punta Cornicello is a free beach very close to the town centre where you can rent paddle boats.
These three things to see in Bardolino are just some of the many interesting areas of this town to visit on Lake Garda. If you are among those interested in events, I suggest you reading the last part of the article!
Events in Bardolino
The most important events in Bardolino are the Wine Festival and the Olympic Triathlon. The Wine Festival, also known as “Festa dell’Uva”, is one of the most important events of the Venetian tradition. It is usually organized in the vendemmia period (grape harvest) between the end of September and the beginning of October. Every year tourists from all over the world crowd around the wine stands just to get a taste of this precious red wine. Do you remember the 6-meter-high barrel I told you about earlier? Well, that barrel is the symbol of this event!
The second event is dedicated to sport lovers! The Olympic Triathlon, a famous sport competition usually planned in June. The high number of people from all Europe proves the importance of this event.
The contest is scheduled in a 30 minute-swimming test and a one hour and 30-minute bike race where participants’ abilities are examined.