Salò: the historic city of the Riviera dei Limoni
For several years I have been visiting Salò and, every time, I think it is one of the most beautiful villages on the lake. For this reason, I decided to share with you three things to see in Salò, those you cannot miss! It is the perfect place to walk along the lakeside, have an aperitif and walk through the streets of the center.
Salò is located on the western shore of Lake Garda, in the province of Brescia, and it is the first municipality of the Riviera dei Limoni. It is a town of 10,000 inhabitants, enriched in summer by a large number of tourists from all over the world.
The town is famous both for its beauty and for being the protagonist of the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. Just walk through the streets of the center or on the lakeside to re-experience the immensity of the place and feel its infinite charm.
Among the beauties of Salò should certainly be mentioned the Cathedral, also known as “Pieve di Santa Maria”, a masterpiece of classical architecture of the Renaissance Christian religion. You will surely be enchanted by the magnificence of the colors, marble columns, decorated altars, sculptures and frescoes. Inside the building, there are several pieces of art of a certain thickness, first of all the Ancona lignea by Bartolomeo da Isola Dovarese, in typical Gothic style.
From what derives the name Salò?
Even today it is a mystery and there are different interpretations. In the past, of some Etruscan archeological finds, it was said that it derived from an Etruscan queen, Salodia. However, as there is no evidence to support this view, there are other versions, such as the one that says that the name simply derives from “Salt“. This thesis is confirmed by the importance that the city had as a Roman colony. It was one of the richest thanks to its deposits of sea salt.
Whichever period you decide to go, you cannot fail to add Salò among the places to visit on Lake Garda. Read on and you’ll understand why.
In my opinion, what makes Salò so special is the fact that you can visit it in every season, it is fascinating all year round. Of course, if you go there in the summer season, you will have more activities available, but I recommend you not to exclude a visit during the winter or in the mid-season. Often, in fact, it is more likely to enjoy the most evocative views in winter, when the air is more sparkling and the light filters through the clouds. In addition, in the colder months, I invite you to take a hot chocolate in one of the many bars, which will make your visit even sweeter.
MY PERSONAL LIST OF THE THREE THINGS TO SEE IN SALÒ
1. Promenade at the Zanardelli lakefront and the beaches
Without a doubt, the first of the three things to see in Salò that I recommend is its fascinating lakefront.
Lungolago Zanardelli manages to combine natural beauty with architectural, with its modern structures and integrated with the surrounding environment. Thanks to the new project recently realized, you can walk along the lakefront with avenues, but above all with wooden, iron and masonry walkways. The route makes the village even more unique and manages to highlight the strengths and magnificence of the lake.
If you are with your children or seniors, there is no better walk than this to enjoy the lakeside and the fantastic views. In addition, the route is accessible to everyone, providing parts with steps always flanked by gentle climbs and descents. A further positive aspect is that thanks to this project, city traffic was eliminated on the lakeside, creating a pedestrian path available 365 days a year. However, pay attention if you are with children, there are not always protections, careful not to fall into the lake!
In summer you cannot miss a swim in the lake to cool off and, even from this point of view, Salò will not disappoint you. The country offers, in fact, different beaches to choose from, according to different needs.
If you are looking for a free beach and you do not need services and rentals, there are small and comfortable pebble beaches near the center. Despite being without services, they are very comfortable and functional, because they provide jetties and shade areas for the hottest days.
To find free equipped beaches I recommend the Tavine Beach, also for dogs, the Barbarano and Il Mulino, containing a “gym” for scuba diving.
Finally, I also want to mention a beach with a fee, the Rimbalzello, because it offers services and rental of all kinds.
Do you want one last tip to make the most of this place to visit on Lake Garda? I am about to give you some ideas I usually adopt.
Bring or buy a packed lunch to have a picnic on the beach or on a pier. You can eat it in front of a breathtaking view! My friends and I always go out to eat on the docks, and I can assure you it is a perfect alternative to a classic bar.
2. Church of San Bartolomeo
Continuing with the list of the three things to see in Salò, I recommend you visit the Church of San Bartolomeo. Whether you are a hiker or a nature enthusiast, this is the site for you!
The Church is located in the homonymous village near Salò and is one of the oldest structures in the area, although preserved in an excellent state. The Church has a typical medieval architecture, simple and poor, with a clean facade, embellished only by a circular rose window.
The position of the church, above a mountain and reachable by foot fully embodies the Christian preconception of the time. The devotee considered the churches to be the object of pilgrimage, where the journey symbolized an obligatory way to reach heaven on earth after a long suffering.
The Church is one of the most popular and beautiful places to visit in Salò, thanks to the lush nature that surrounds it. To get there, in fact, you have to take a walk of 3 hours, following paths immersed in nature, and then reach a heavenly view at the end of the route.
Even the Park adjacent to the Church will not disappoint you, it is well maintained and with a forest of chestnut groves where you can reap the fruits. A curiosity about the park? In the past, the friars used these fruits to create medicines and miraculous ointments… who knows if they could still have some power today.
Are you looking forward to having more tips on this place to visit on Lake Garda? In the next few lines, I’ll tell you about the last place on the list.
3. Palazzo della Magnifica Patria
The third and last place I recommend among the three things to see in Salò is the Palazzo della Magnifica Patria.
The building is located in the historic center of the village and is connected to the Palazzo del Podestà. It is a single structure, divided by a small covered porch, which becomes a perfect place to rest on the benches and stay in the shade.
The Palazzo della Magnifica Patria, currently occupied by the Municipality of Salò, has a very ancient history, which dates back to the 6th century.
Unfortunately, you can no longer see the 1500 building, which was damaged by an earthquake, but just a reconstruction of the last century.
Even the function of the building has changed over the years and it doesn’t host the confederation of 36 municipalities on the lake along the Brescian shore anymore.
Where does the name of Palazzo della Magnifica Patria come from? The name dates back to the 1496, when Salò passed under the rule of the Serenissima and acquired the title of Magnifica and eldest daughter of the Serenissima. From this past remains the representation of the lion of San Marco on the building and in other points of the historical center. In addition, on the porch there are the coats of arms of the countries belonging to the confederation of municipalities and four effigies, which testify the passage of important personalities.
The palace does not cease to amaze even inside, where you will find a large Sala del Consiglio and Sala dei Provveditori, with their immense frescoes.
Finally, passing the loggia, you will reach the Palazzo del Podestà, with such a very similar style that seems to be another wing of the palace.
After having shown you a list of the three things to see in Salò, I present you briefly the events that could enrich your visit to the town.
If you are a music enthusiast, I recommend seeing the city during the “International Summer Music Festival of Garda”. This festival is organized every year in honor of the inventor of the violin, Gasparo da Salò, and attracts musicians, singers and orchestras from all over the world.
However, it is not the only event for music lovers, who will also be satisfied by “Filo di Arianna. Art as a cultural identity”. It also includes concerts, as well as art exhibitions, dance shows and the opportunity to eat good food and consume quality wine.
Sports enthusiasts can decide to enroll in a sailing course or attend the Salò Sail Meeting and the Regata di fine estate.
Since 2007, the city also hosts the Filmfestival del Garda for film fans.
Finally, if you go to Salò during your summer holidays, you cannot miss the Estate musicale del Garda, which takes place between July and August.
With this article I hope I have helped you in planning your visit.