BETWEEN HISTORY AND TRADITION: HERE WE ARE IN PONTI SUL MINCIO!
Among all the wonders inside its borders, there are absolutely three things to see in Ponti sul Mincio. There you can live again the historical events and also get in touch with the idyllic nature. It is a small, but historically fascinating village, completely surrounded by the Morainic Hills.
Maybe you don’t know that the last battle of Italy during the Second World War was fought on one of these hills, Monte Casale.
Even though there are only 2000 inhabitants, the little town surely deserves a visit for its cultural, natural and historical uniqueness. The historical finds of this rustic village are scattered in all its territory, extended up to the shores of the picturesque river Mincio.
In the valley of the river an unimaginable biodiversity hides. It is safeguarded as a protected area inside the Naturalistic Park of Mincio, and Ponti is part of it.
There are many places to visit on Lake Garda, in this case I propose a small village that is located directly on the shore of the river Mincio, the only emissary of the lake.
It is the Mantuan town nearest to Lake Garda, enjoying a particularly strategic position. As a matter of fact, Ponti sul Mincio is only 4 km far from Peschiera del Garda exit of the A4 highway Milan-Venice.
From the enchanting farmhouses in the fields, until the little houses in front of the ancient Scaligero Castle, in Ponti you breath cordiality and tradition everywhere. That is why, the municipality has been awarded with the prestigious “Bandiera Arancione” by the Italian Touring Club.
Just few realities of the Italian hinterland can be proud of the “Bandiera Arancione”. It certifies a superior touristic and environmental quality, recognizing the excellent hospitality by the facilities of the territory.
WHAT ARE THE THREE THINGS TO SEE IN PONTI SUL MINCIO?
Before discovering the top three of the most loved points of interest, it is also worth exploring the other historical jewels, which enrich the territory.
Despite the majority of the works belong to recent centuries, Ponti has its roots in the Roman Times, and later it was under the supremacy of the Scaligeri.
As you come across the street in front of the Castle, to the important Parolini Square, you will see the War Memorial Monument in front of you.
It was planned to represent an ascendent memorial monument. Its imposing staircase leads to a suggestive monolith, the “Pilo degli Eroi”. In relief on this structure there are all the names of all who died fighting to defend valiantly the Italian country.
The fascinating Saint Antony Abbot’s Church is located nearby.
On the other side of the village, you will find what remains of the ancient wash house. It is
an important past tradition of its inhabitants. It was a public place, where women went to wash their families’ garments. It is really surprising that it can still work. This usage has been jealously preserved, also thanks to a recent restoration.
Finally, the Regimental Piccola Caprera Museum is the last small fragment of history. The museum keeps alive the memory of the Young Fascists’ Regiment, thanks to many documents and relics.
After this important panoramic, we can finally discover the true pearls of the village Ponti sul Mincio.
1. THE SCALIGERO CASTLE
Our first stage among the three things to see in Ponti sul Mincio is the Scaligero Castle.
On the top of a small hill, it is an enchanting background for the entire town. The main tower overlooks the Parolini Square and has a clock which marks the hours all day long.
The Castle is one of the few really ancient buildings in the territory. Built in 1200, the Scaligeri family wanted its construction, and they designated it as architecture with a defensive purpose. From the Castle, its central core, Ponti expanded over time.
It is often compared to a real wall fence and the irregular polygonal form is still well-defined on each side. When you are in front of its wonderful perimeter, under the big walls, you experience an inexplicable feeling. As a matter of fact, it really seems to see someone who is still standing guard from those five mysterious towers.
The Clock Tower, the central one, can also be visited internally, to offer a wonderful panorama to the bravest.
If you belong to the Medieval history lovers, and you are looking for the structures of those times among the places on Lake Garda, you can’t miss a stop in Ponti sul Mincio.
The look-out tower of the fortress suggests the presence of an access door, once provided with an efficient drawbridge. All the floors of the castle which can be seen from the outside are covered with a lush and green vegetation. This adds a fairy-tale touch, which completes the beauty of the entire building.
2. THE ARDIETTI FORT, THE SECOND DESTINATION TO VISIT
A gem of the historical architecture of immeasurable value appears on the border with Peschiera, hidden in the nature before the slope towards Mincio. The Ardietti Fort deserves with no doubts to be part of our list of the three things to see in Ponti.
Built after the First Italian Independency War of 1848, the Fort belongs to a fundamental defence system of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Certainly, you have heard about it as the “Quadrilatero”. If not, the Quadrilatero consists of four fortified cities, among them Peschiera. Together, they had to defend Italy from any potential enemy.
The Ardietti Fort had the strategic role to close the trenches of the Southern sector of the entire complex, which ended with the river Mincio. The big construction with an octagonal plan is symmetrically perfect. The Fort develops on two floors around a circular yard.
The Fort can currently be visited, offering its visitors a rich history lesson, enjoyable in every season. Even without sun, the characteristic autumn-winter fog will make the surrounding atmosphere magical.
Moreover, inside you can admire the artillery which tells about the battles, that happened from 1500 until the last century. And from the outside you can enjoy an exceptional view, directly on the river Mincio. I am sure, you will experience the same feeling of protection and power, that was felt and told by soldiers at that time.
3. BETWEEN PESCHIERA, PONTI AND MANTUA: THE MINCIO CYCLE PATH
Following the track of the ancient railway connecting Peschiera to Mantua, we find a pedestrian and cycle path, the so called “Ciclovia del Mincio”, listed among the most beautiful of the entire North-Italy.
Running along the limpid river on one side and the Naturalistic Park of Mincio on the other one, the cycle path will lead you to the discovery of an unusual fauna. It offers numerous postcard- views. Here shadow and sun alternate among the treetops, and you will live a very pleasant experience. At the same time you will be accompanied by the light breeze coming from the river.
An important point of the path is for sure the dam. Shortly before, if you are lucky you could see a small rainbow, watching the water which descends into the river through the hydroelectric system.
The requests of information about cycle paths around Garda and in the surroundings are a lot. They represent real places to visit on Lake Garda.
Ponti is surely one of the most immediate access to the “Ciclovia”. Leaving from the street behind the castle, Via della Palude, turn right to Via S. Nicolò. Turn left at the first crossroads, and right at the second one: in an instant you will get there!
Next to you, you will see the thermoelectric central, easily recognizable thanks to its white and red striped small tower. Now you can start your itinerary: if you are brave and adventurous, Mantua is waiting for you. Otherwise, Borghetto sul Mincio is an intermediate destination, absolutely worth a visit, as it is in the list of the most beautiful small villages of Italy.
By foot or by bicycle, you will be pleasantly surprised by the silence, which surrounds all the valley. You will only hear the simple and splendid singing of the nature.
As a passing visit or as a stage of a wider tour, Ponti sul Mincio will certainlly enrich your cultural and personal background. With no doubt it will be an experience to treasure.
Otherwise you could take advantage of some events taking place in Ponti sul Mincio to visit it.
The traditional events cheering the alleys of Ponti every year mostly take place during summer, taking advantage of the beautiful weather.
For a couple of years three nights of blues music have been organized in June inside the Scaligero Castle, that offers a fabulous location. The event is known as the Ponti Blues Festival. Artists from Italy are not the only guests, they also come from many foreign countries.
In July the Maria Zamboni Festival has been taking place for many years, and it consists of three music nights.
Another annual event is the Bike Tour, organized by the Municipality, which allows to admire the most beautiful sceneries of the territory.
But the most important event is certainly the San Gaetano Festival, particularly appreciated by the inhabitants and also by the near towns. It usually occurs around the 10th August, with typical dishes, carousels, music and fireworks.
The three things to see in Ponti sul Mincio and the events I described should have convinced you to visit the village. If not, I would like to invite you giving a possibility to this enchanted town. It will for sure repay your expectations.