CASTELNUOVO, THE “CASTRUM NOVUM” OF GARDA
Through this article I would like to let you discover the three things to see in Castelnuovo del Garda, beginning with its own name and origins. The word “Castelnuovo” derives from the latin “Castrum Novum”, recalling the ancient history, which has been quite difficult but luckily with a good outcome.
In fact, this area is full of curious artifacts dating back to the Roman Empire and Early Medieval Era. Thanks to these, today it can testify the inhabitants’ life before the arrival of the ruthless Emperor Barbarossa.
Even though the town had been razed to the floor in the twelfth century, it did not remain so for long thanks to the willpower of its citizens. In fact, they quickly rebuilt a new stronghold around 1100. Subsequently the town suffered again due to the plague. An epidemic narrated also by Alessandro Manzoni, the villagers were crushed by it, reaching only 300 inhabitants.
However, their arduous past has come to a happy ending: Castelnuovo has risen from the ashes, and today it has become a marvellous village.
Located inside the beautiful morainic hills, the town has different districts, including in its borders the wonderful Lake Garda.
Keep reading to discover how to visit this place on Lake Garda!
Castelnuovo del Garda can be easily reached by car, taking the A4 highway and following the signs for Peschiera. In Castelnuovo there is also a train station, and the town is well connected to surrounding villages thanks to a lot of bus lines.
You will find it full of B&B, guesthouses and hotels, ready to let you unplug from the daily hectic life. Like previously mentioned, Castelnuovo del Garda also reaches the lake and so it has three beaches: Lido Campanello, Lido Gasparina and Lido Ronchi.
A small town with lots of things to tell and so it is extremely difficult to choose the top three things to see in Castelnuovo. Nevertheless, I will try to outline them step by step, to ensure you the best itinerary. Whether it is for a touch and go or a long holiday, you will certainly discover the things you must see!
YOUR PERSONAL GUIDE: THREE THINGS TO SEE IN CASTELNUOVO
For a multi-faced tour, I have selected three experiences dissimilar from each other.
Like all places, also Castelnuovo has its symbol. So that’s where I will start with. I am talking about the Colle di San Lorenzo and its church, the Chiesetta di Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Secondly, you won’t regret spending some time at the lovely Lido Campanello beach. And finally, we will talk about one the biggest entertainment parks in Europe, Gardaland!
Before talking about these main points of interest, I would like to share some general information about Castelnuovo and its historical treasures. The main point of the town is the Torre Viscontea, for sure. Remembrance of the ancient castle built by Giangaleazzo Visconti in the 1387, from its commanding position the tower overlooks the central part of the city.
Moving away from the tower, along the streets linking to the other districts of Castelnuovo, you can admire a lot of enchanting Venetian Villas. One of the most elegant ones and clearly visible from the outside, is Villa Cossali Rodolfi Stella, which dates to the 15th century.
Moreover, in Oliosi, another district of the town, between the narrow alleys you will see Casa Benati, an important place during the Battle of Custoza. In fact, a story tells that the soldiers of Forlì Brigade have barred themselves inside that house, withstanding the Austrian enemies until they started a fire nearby.
After this introduction, we are ready to deeply discover the historical excellences of this place to visit on the Lake Garda!
THE SYMBOLIC PLACE: COLLE DI SAN LORENZO
Do you know where King Carlo Alberto has inertly witnessed the conquest of Peschiera, during the harsh Independence Wars? Well, right here on the top of this hill, Colle di San Lorenzo.
Because he was finding himself in an isolated area of the town, the southern part of Cavalcaselle, the hill was the perfect place to be safe.
The little mount has also been an important location for shepherds as a resting point during the cattle transfer, before crossing the Mincio river.
Currently, this custom is still celebrated thanks to the Ancient Fair of Cavalcaselle in November.
There are so many places to visit on Lake Garda; if you are interested in historical and religious places, you should read the next part…
Arriving from San Lorenzo Street, you will be surrounded by a deeply and religious silence, in a sacral place where time seems to have stopped. In front of you, between two high cypresses, stands the Chiesetta di Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Dating back to the fifteenth century, the church, as little as suggestive, was built in stone, with dark wood doors and a bell tower. Inside the building, you find a well-preserved fresco depicting the Virgin breastfeeding Baby Jesus.
A legend circulates about this painting: it is said that a priest, scandalized by the representation of an uncovered Virgin, obscured her chest with paint. The story says that Jesus detached his lips from the breast when the sacrilege happened; reattaching only when another priest cleaned up the damage.
Have you been in Scotland yet? Well, I must say that the mysterious atmosphere surrounding the entire hill reminds me of those amazing landscapes!
THE SECOND THING TO SEE IN CASTELNUOVO: LIDO CAMPANELLO
To free mind and body, a must during your trip must be Lido Campanello.
The beach has both pebbles as a big grass field, where you can relax yourself while listening to the sound of the waves.
You also find a swimming pool and a beach bar, where you can enjoy a beautiful lake view, drinking something or have a bite.
I recommend you visit this Lido in the afternoon, so you can stay until the early evening to see the beautiful sunset on the opposite side of the lake. A beautiful scenery thanks to the warm colors reflecting on the calm surface of the water.
Moreover, if you are among those in love with walks on the lake promenade. I suggest you walk to Lido Pioppi in Peschiera del Garda or go in the northern direction up to Lido Ronchi and to Lazise.
During your walk, you will discover some old wood bridges: some say one of them resembles a real pile dwelling. But one thing is sure, they are an ideal background on your photos, or postcard pictures.
Finally, it will surprise you the wildlife hiding inside the thick water reeds. If you pay attention, you could see some families of little ducks of many kinds and enchanting white swans.
THE LAND OF FUN: GARDALAND!
Who says that only kids have fun?! By visiting Gardaland you will feel as carefree and happy as a child too!
Gardaland is one of the most beloved and biggest amusement parks in Europe and ideal for all ages. As soon as you arrive, before going inside, you will see a big fountain with in its middle the official mascot, the goofy green dragon Prezzemolo.
Once you arrive inside the park, you also can have the opportunity to see him walking around with his funny friends, among fantastic rides and amazing rollercoasters. But that’s not all of it: colored snow cones, delicious sandwiches, some pizza and fairy-tale sweets will surely satisfy your appetite.
Gardaland is one of the places to visit on Garda Lake. Why? You’ll find out!
A magical and picturesque world; too good to be real, where all dreams come true!
Beyond the attractions, there are a lot of other experiences you should not miss. The 4D cinema and live shows are just a few things to do. Next to Gardaland you also can find Sea Life Aquarium, to admire the marine life of all oceans and seas.
Along your way through this park, you will be accompanied by its unforgettable theme songs. Many of those who have already been there, say that they still remember the unique melody of: “Oh, oh! Gardaland!”
These three things to see in Castelnuovo have not convinced you to visit Castelnuovo yet? Well, I did not tell you everything yet. Below you can find a short list of the best local events.
In July usually takes place the Sport Festival, in the district of Sandrà.
I already mentioned Casa Benati. Every year, in honor of the historical event of the 24th of June, the “Festa della Bandiera” is celebrated in Oliosi. In fact, locked inside the house, before surrendering, the soldiers cut their own Regimental Flag in 13 pieces; hiding them before prisoned.
On the 15th of August there is usually a firework show. Thus, the most appreciated event, also by people from the near towns, is the annual “Festa dell’Uva” in September. To celebrate the grape harvest inside the historical center of Castelnuovo, with local cuisine and live music.
In November, there is a fair I have told you about while describing the fascinating Colle di San Lorenzo: the Ancient Fair of Cavalcaselle.
The event is located on the top of the hill, and it commemorates the folklore, the local animals and the typical flavors of the territory. This custom is celebrated in the memory of both shepherds during the cattle transfer and of the women who prepared meals to sustain them.
The best part is what is coming right now. This could be a last important element to convince you that Castelnuovo is one of the places to visit on Lake Garda…
Concluding, the greatest food & wine festival of Castelnuovo, “Il Moro nel Piatto” deserves a special mention. The event is celebrated by a lot of locals in the town.
From mid-September till the end of October, you can taste some delicious and special recipes made with the finest local wine, the “Moro dal Castel”.
Particularly, the Cantina di Castelnuovo del Garda offers the opportunity to buy inside its Wine Shop the sophisticated “Moro” and a lot of other options.
The choice between rosé, white, red and sparkling wines, will be plenty but always of quality.