If you have never been to this little gem overlooking Lake Garda, grab a pen and get ready to take some notes. And discover the three things to see in Torri del Benaco!
Instead, if you have already been in Torri you will surely agree with me when I affirm that it is an enchanting place, where relaxation reigns.
The charm of a town rich in history
Torri del Benaco is a town where you will be surrounded by history and culture. From the numerous rock carvings to the testimonies of the Roman era, every enthusiast will find what he or she is looking for. Some examples? The west tower of the Castle and the urban layout of the port and the Trincero.
It may seem unbelievable but the first signs attributable to the presence of man in this place date back as far as 2000 BC! In the 1960s, experts found traces of an ancient pile-dwelling settlement and ten years later they discovered tools dating back to the Bronze Age.
Since the Roman domination the town has been seeing the passage of various populations: Goths, Lombards, Franks and finally the Hungarians.
Interesting that Berengar I, king of Italy at the time, arrived in Torri and decided to erect in 905 two of the main city sightseeing. These are the walls, of which today we can admire some remains, and the Torre di Berengario, in Piazza della Chiesa.
Very famous is also the passage of Barbarossa’s troops in the 12th century.
But actually, I think the most important fact was the advent of the Scaligers in Verona. They decided to strengthen the defenses of the port of Torri. With this intervention, they created the fortified dock and built the castle, symbol of the town.
We will deepen this point of interest soon, since it is one of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco. For the moment, I can tell you that the merit was of Antonio Della Scala and the castle was built on the ruins of a pre-existing structure.
There are really numerous places to visit on Lake Garda and near the characteristic historic center of Torri, I have to mention its two hamlets. I am referring to Albisano and Pai, two little paradise corners that I would like to briefly illustrate to you
Before starting my list of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco, I definitely have to mention its lovely hamlets; Albisano and Pai.
One of the most characteristic hamlets of Lake Garda is certainly Albisano.
This small characteristic center develops around the central square and the church of San Martino. There are many couples who choose this place to celebrate their wedding. Would you blame them? Thanks to its raised position, perched on the mountain, you can enjoy a breathtaking view. A picture to be painted in your memories, with the lake as a background, with most of the Brescia side and the whole town of Torri seen from above.
Did you know that Gabriele D’Annunzio, who at the time lived at the Vittoriale in Gardone, chose a hotel in Albisano for a stay on the Veronese shore?
The other hamlet of Torri del Benaco I would like to tell you about is Pai. You will find this small village along the main road continuing north. It can offer truly special views.
If you come from the Gardesana road you will find the most modern nucleus of the town: Pai di Sotto.This area includes the entire lakefront and its inhabited area. A succession of stone coves that offer the opportunity to relax by the lake, empty your mind and enjoy the calm.
Furthermore, in this part of Pai you can admire the Romanesque church of San Gregorio, dating back to the 12th century. It is curious to know how the church was parish only until the mid-1400s. The reason is that the countess of the time who lived in this area insisted that the ancient chapel of the castle become a parish church. This is because it was closer to her residence. Understandable, being the countess (it is said) full of ailments and very old.
But let’s continue with our visit to this delightful hamlet of Torri del Benaco. If you look up you will admire the other part of Pai, the oldest one, set on the side of Monte Baldo, overlooking the lake. Pai di Sopra can reserve some wonderful views, just have courage and start climbing. And believe me, it will be worth it. Not only because in this area you can find the remains of ancient fortifications demolished by Barbarossa. If you love walking and hiking in the mountains, a route that I highly recommend starts from the town of Crero. In addition to ancient rock carvings, from here you can reach the famous Tibetan Bridge, one of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco.
I’m sure you are wondering “how can such a small fraction reserve so many activities?” This is the beauty of our areas, every place to visit on Lake Garda can reserve many surprises. This is the case of Pai di Sopra. Keep reading…
On the slopes of Monte Baldo, in this area you can find the Tanella Cave. If you are not afraid of enclosed spaces or you are even a fan, I suggest you do not miss this opportunity.
Following the path inside this cave you can start your journey to the heart of Monte Baldo, for about 400 meters. You will be able to discover an underground world made of tunnels, plays of light and spectacular colors; an evocative environment that you cannot miss. Clearly, to tackle this path I recommend comfortable and sporty clothing. Don’t forget that the temperature inside the cave is 12 ° C!
At this point I think the overview is complete.So, it’s time to get specific and list the three things to see in Torri del Benaco.Ready to take note?
The first of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco; 1. Its city centre and the beaches
Torri del Benaco is a town that has its roots in the most ancient periods. Thanks to its position, it has always enjoyed a strong strategic and political importance since the first millennium.
Surely one of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco is the town center, where history and tradition can be breathed in every corner.
The center develops around the port area. A small shell-shaped mirror, where the colorful fishing boats are reflected on the water, creating a spectacle to be absolutely immortalized in a few photos. It is in this area that you can admire some of the most representative buildings of the country. You will find yourself in front of old merchant residences, among which the ancient Casa dei Vicari deserves a special mention, marvelous with its particular facade.
Then just look up to see the Scaligero Castle or turn north and admire the fifteenth-century Palazzo della Gardesana. This building, now used as a hotel, owes its name to the fact that in 1405 the Council of the Gardesana dall’Acqua met there. It is a federation of 10 municipalities, to which the Republic of Venice granted ample autonomy and some repressive and fiscal burdens.
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It will take you a few steps to find yourself in front of the church of Santissima Trinità, with its clear facade, designed by 3 twin arches.
From here you can finally wander through the central streets, full of bars, shops, typical restaurants and stately homes, such as Casa Marai and Casa Viola.
If after an ice cream and a few photos you arrive to the Gardesana road, you cannot fail to notice the fourteenth-century Clock Tower. A building born in the Scaliger period as a watchtower with military functions, in the mid 1500s it also acquired a political-administrative function. Just think that his watch dates back to 1561… almost half a millennium ago!
But there is an even more ancient site to visit in the center of Torri: the imposing Tower of Berengario I. He was king of Italy at the turn of the ninth and tenth centuries and thanks to him the homonymous tower and the walls were built. Nowadays remain only a few substantial ruins of the tower hidden among the houses.
Before moving on to another particularly popular destination, I would like to quickly talk to you about a place located in the south of the country. I am referring to the church of San Faustino which, in addition to the beautiful fifteenth-century frescoes, reserves a fascinating story. It all dates back to the period between 1500 and 1600, when there were great plagues in Torri, so devastating that they halved the population. And it is precisely in the monastery annexed to the Church of San Faustino that the plague victims were collected.
After all this wandering around the center, a stop on the beach is what you need. Let’s see together the most beautiful beaches of this place to visit on Lake Garda.
The beaches of Torri del Benaco
I believe that the beaches in these areas are among the most underrated on the lake. Actually, they are little corners of paradise ready to be discovered. Indeed, in my opinion you might find them among the most peaceful and relaxing beaches of the whole lake.
Feel the summer heat, imagine the calm water of the lake that attracts you for a refreshing bath and the peace all around you. Or maybe you prefer some kiosk for an aperitif with friends or some refreshing drink.
The beaches are definitely one of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco, here are some that you cannot miss:
Sbocco Valle Randina Beach
It is one of the favorite beaches for visitors and residents. Very close to the center of Torri, it allows you to enjoy both the calm of the beach and the beauty of the town. This pebble beach was created in the bay of the pines and offers every comfort, from catering to toilets. For sports lovers there is also the opportunity to stay active within various sports facilities.
Do you like the Caribbean atmosphere? Clean water, straw umbrellas, cocktails and relaxation? Then Sunset Beach is the beach for you. It is practically in front of the Castle and it also guarantees all the equipment to make your Caribbean dream come true, without leaving the lake. And how about a nice aperitif at sunset? All these reasons push many young people every summer to populate this beach a stone’s throw from the center. Surely now you will swing by too, right?
Lido Brancolino beach
Another well-known beach in the area is the Lido Brancolino private beach. This gravel beach is located on the coast that connects Torri to Punta San Vigilio. It is a paid one, but believe me, it will be worth it. Here you will find all the comforts for your relaxation on the beach. The only small flaw of this place is the parking. In order to avoid inventing imaginative stops with your car, my advice is to reach this beach by bike or motorbike. Better not to ruin your day by incurring annoying fines, don’t you think?
You don’t want to stop here, do you? The places to visit on Lake Garda are countless, I know, but Torri del Benaco still has many goodies in store for you. Read on to not miss any.
Can you guess the second of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco? It’s Castle of course!
Let’s move on to the second of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco and talk about the star of the town: the Scaliger Castle. It is difficult to accurately date the origins of the castle, as the fortress was built on the ruins of a pre-existing medieval manor. But historians refer to much earlier …
As already mentioned, Torri is located in a strategic position and the Romans knew this well. Some experts attribute to them the origins of the castle, which at the time was a castrum with purely defensive functions. A hypothesis not to be discarded if we consider that the current west tower is clearly distinct from the other two in terms of construction technique. According to other experts, instead, the castle dates back to the earliest years of the 10th century, when King Berengario I arrived in Torri.
Whatever its origin, it is however interesting to know that underground passages branch off from the castle. These are partly still existing and at the time served as an escape route in case of a siege.
Few also know that Antonio della Scala decided to have the castle and the walls of Torri rebuilt, because he was frightened by the threat of the Visconti. However, this was not enough to stop the Milanese family, which in 1387 conquered the fortress of Torri and the entire shore of the lake.
Over the years the domain passed to the Da Carrara and finally in 1405 to the Republic of Venice.
From here began the decline of the structure. The culmination was the demolition of the outer walls in the XVIII century, where today we find the fragrant citrus greenhouse.
Time keeps passing by and the ownership of the castle passed first to the Nuvolari counts and then to Mrs. Giuseppina Arduini. In 1973 it was purchased by the Municipality of Torri and only in the early 1980s was opened to the public as an ethnographic museum.
So far it is clear how much the castle of Torri is definitely one of the places to visit on Lake Garda. But you haven’t read the best part yet …
As anticipated, in 1983 the Museum of the Scaliger Castle was inaugurated.
Crossing the threshold, you will immediately notice the keep, once higher, which overlooks the entrance and a well, made of local yellow marble.
You will feel like going back in time, because stone vessels for the extraction of marble, a very strong activity in the area, will surround you. In addition, you will be able to admire an octagonal-shaped stone basin from the ancient church of S. Giovanni. According to tradition it is an ancient baptismal font dating back to the 15th century.
Inside the castle you can visit the rooms, each dedicated to a specific theme. You will find the Sala della Pesca, with ancient nets, and the Sala dei Calafati, the ancient craftsmen who built and repaired the fishing boats.
An entire floor was dedicated to the rock carvings of the lake and in the Hall of the Originals stop to contemplate some local history. Here you will find documents illustrated with the history and activity of the guild of fishermen founded in 1452 and still operating.
Also, very interesting is the Sala dell’Oliva which illustrates the cultivation of these plants, typical of the Gardesan area. Just think that until the last century, the olives were ground in the “torcoj” scattered throughout the territory of Torri. In this room you will see the equipment used and a small “home” press.
Finally, I strongly suggest you visit the Sala del Plastico. You will be able to contemplate the center of Torri until the early 1900s, while two large eighteenth-century topographic maps illustrate the surrounding area until 1700.
Before moving on to another important place to visit on Lake Garda, there is one last suggestion I want to give you about the Castle towers.
Imagine the characteristic marina, the historic center of the town and the blue water that stretches out on the horizon, all seen from above. A painting that will remain etched in your memories and, why not, even in some selfies.
The lemon greenhouse from 1760 is also very beautiful. It is the only active one in the entire area of Lake Garda that can be visited. You don’t want to miss it, do you?
3. The last of the three things to see in Torri del Benaco is the Tibetan Bridge.
Opened a few years ago, this destination reflects the ideal experience for those who love walking in the midst of nature. A steel structure with non-slip grids, safe even for the little ones, connects the town of Pai di Sopra with Crero.
This bridge, 34 meters long and just over a meter wide, allows the passage of a maximum of 15 people at a time. If you decide to take this trip by bike, remember that once you get to the bridge you will have to walk, carrying the bike by hand.
If you decide to cross the bridge I hope you don’t suffer from vertigo. Below you will find a wild gorge about 45 meters deep!
Don’t worry, the Tibetan bridge is safe and stable… at most you will enjoy some oscillations, just in order to not to miss a little thrill. But believe me, it will be worth it, we are in the middle of Val Vanzana and the view from here is truly breathtaking!
The proposed itineraries are varied and for all levels, from families who want to take a walk with their children, to more expert hikers.
First of all, I think it is important to emphasize that, although the paths may be easy, it is not recommended to bring strollers. In some places it would be very difficult to continue the path.
We come now to the itineraries. Can’t you wait to find out how to reach these places to visit on Lake Garda? Then read on …
I want to show you all the possibilities, so I’ll start from the shortest to the most consistent.
Are you looking for a simple walk, maybe you are with the children and don’t want to take a too demanding path? Then follow the itinerary I’m about to show you.
You can start from Crero, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the lake from the parking. As soon as you have reached the enchanting church of San Siro you can continue the journey on the dirt road surrounded by the olive trees of Garda. In 20 minutes you will arrive at Val Valzana and its Tibetan bridge.
From here, after a few usual photos, if you don’t want to continue, you can go back to the car along the same path you followed on the way.
If, on the other hand, you want to continue enjoying nature and clean air, you can decide to take two different routes.
You can continue to Pai di Sotto and arrive in the town in 40 minutes. Just follow the Cai path n. 38 and for the return follow the same route as the outward journey.
For the most trained, however, the longest itinerary proposed is the circuit that also leads to visit San Zeno di Montagna. It is a beautiful circular tour, but with a difference in height of about 680 meters, therefore recommended for the most trained. The beginning is the same, park in Crero, arrive at the bridge. Take the path to Pai, until you notice the Cai path n. 38, which leads to San Zeno di Montagna. Saddle up, the climb begins!
The difference in height may put you to the test, but the landscapes that you will find will fill your heart and lungs with joy and satisfaction. After a refreshening and many souvenir photos, the return path awaits you. You can breathe a sigh of relief, because the path is downhill. The CAI path n ° 39 leads to the località La Spighetta di Albisano, where you will cross the famous Pilgrim’s Path that will take you back to Crero.
Weren’t all these tips enough for you to bring this country to the top of your list of places to visit on Lake Garda? Then let me tell you about the events you can attend.
In addition to the three things to see in Torri del Benaco that we have seen, you can enjoy fun moments by participating in the various scheduled events. Let’s see the recurring ones together.
Feast of San Filippo
A festival that you certainly cannot miss is the one dedicated to the patron saint of Torri del Benaco: San Filippo. In his honor every 26th May, the Saint is celebrated with a very animated feast, which culminates with “the burning of the boat“. During this festival, a wooden boat is literally set on fire, on whose sail the inscription “Viva San Filippo” triumphs. Dragged by another boat, together with a myriad of floating candles, it will illuminate the waters of the lake, giving a magical show.
But you are probably wondering what San Filippo has to do with burning a boat …
Perhaps not many know that San Filippo was the one who, around 1600, had freed Torri from the terrible plague that afflicted the town.
According to the legend, the Torresani, after the Saint freed the town from plague, set fire to his boat, to prevent him from leaving.
But there is another version, always linked to the plague. According to some historians, it would be the custom of burning off the clothes of people affected by the plague, repeated over the years as superstitious sign.
If you are like me an olive oil lover, do not miss the traditional edition of the “Olive Festival” towards the end of January.
There will be a rich schedule: interventions by experts, awards to producers, a market with the most original olive-growing equipment. But the best part is that you will be able to taste this delicious mouthwatering typical product on bruschette and risotti. Obviously, all accompanied by folkloric music that will fill the streets of the historic center of Torri.
Regata delle Bisse
It is a rowing race of the Garda tradition, in which historical boats from the time of the Venetian Republic participate. If you don’t know them yet, the Bisse are 10.5-meter boats, used for standing rowing or, precisely, Venetian rowing.
This competition dates back to 1967, when the Lega delle Bisse began organizing the “Bandiera del Lago” championship. This is repeated every year in various villages around the lake and Torri is one of them.
The events in Torri del Benaco certainly do not end here. Every year you can enjoy many new initiatives, such as the Medieval Festival with costume parades, concert series, painting exhibitions and much more.
This year, on the occasion of the “Lago di Garda in Love” series of events, Torri was chosen as location of a dream live performance. Two wonderful voices joined by the sweet notes of a piano, made this evening special, immortalized in a spectacular setting.