Malcesine is a lovely small town on lake Garda. It has always been a destination and refuge for artists. For example, in the summer of 1913, the painter Klimt chose this beautiful city for his only trip abroad. Malcesine looks like a medieval village and, as many other towns on Lake Garda, its origins date back to Prehistory. In fact, scholars found the remaining’s of a pile-dwelling village.
Curious about this town? Maybe are you considering visiting it during your next stay on Lake Garda? If so, continue reading for some ideas on what to do in Malcesine!
It is a small medieval town with a maze of narrow streets and squares. Once you step inside the center, you will be delightedly surprised by the scenery that you will find in front of you! It is full of charming tiny boutiques, artisan shops, rustic houses and beautiful views on the lake! All the streets lead towards the small harbor. Next to this, you can find the Palazzo dei Capitani del Lago, built between the 13th and 14th century by the Scaligeri, lords of Verona. It was then finished with a Venetian touch in the 15th century as they added their typical gothic style to this building.
What to do in Malcesine
A MUST while spending time in this town is to visit the Scaliger Castle. The most important and ancient part of this structure is the mastio or donjon, which is thirty meters high. Inside the castle you will also find a Museum of Natural History. It is interesting to note that Goethe was detained in the castle! Arrived in Malcesine, struck by the beauty of the castle, he cannot help but paint it. The inhabitants perceived this apparently harmless action as suspicious and reported him to the authorities. The latter then decided to arrest him, thinking he was an Austrian spy. However, luckily, this misunderstanding did not last long, and they quickly released him!
Just five kilometers from Malcesine, you can visit the village of Cassone. It is crossed by the river Aril, which is considered the shortest in Italy and among the shortest in the world. It is definitely worth going there!
Activities in Malcesine
There are many beaches in Malcesine and many opportunities to practice watersports like windsurf and sailing. For mountain lovers, Malcesine offers the possibility to climb mount Baldo with the cable car, one of the most innovative installations in the world. Thanks to its rotating cabins, it is able to show you a full view of Monte Baldo and of Lake Garda. In just a few minutes, it will take you up to an altitude of 1800 meters above sea level. There you will be able to make both easy and more difficult walks. Are you seeking for adrenaline? No worries, you can go back in a more dynamic way, by jumping down with a paraglide or hang-glide. For those passionate about cycling, Malcesine will surely satisfy their needs as there are many cycle paths of different kind of levels.
Moreover, Malcesine is well-known for its oil extravergine and its wine, which you can both taste in the various wine shops and oil mills.
Events in Malcesine
During the summer, and not only, Malcesine organises music events, sports and gastronomic events where you can taste typical recipes in which local products such as fish and oil are the main ingre-dient Some of the most famous events are: Ciottolando con gusto, the Cyclamen Festival, the Festa delle Associa-zioni and the Festa di Campagnola. On 26 July, the feast of “SS Benigno and Caro” takes place with the traditional fireworks show “i fuochi di sant’Anna”. For those passionate about music, the municipality organizes, with the help of local associations, concerts on the sailing boat “La Siora Veronica” and weekly appointments with classic and opera music inside the Palazzo dei Capitani and the theatre of the Scaliger Castle. On the website visitmalcesine.com you will find the dates of the events.
As we already said, Malcesine is an amazing small medieval town, and we are not the only ones to think this. Some of the most prominent people have shared this opinion with us, as they chose it for their holidays and fell in love with it. Here, we are going to list only 3 of them, but keep in mind that there are many more!
Famous people that visited Malcesine:
- Pipino, king of the Longobardi: son of the emperor Carlo Magno and king of the longobardi, he stayed many times in the castello Scaligero in Malcesine in 806. He went there to visit the saints Benigno and Caro.
- Wolfgang Goethe: Struck by the beauty of the castle, he felt the urge to stop and paint it. At this point, he is mistaken for an Austrian spy and arrested. He then will talk about this story in his book “Viaggio in Italia”, contributing to increase the city’s fame.
- Gustav Klimt: During this stay in Malcesine, he painted some of his most loved paintings: the “veduta di Malcesine” (destroyed in 1945) and the “Chiesa di cassone”. The perspective with which the paintings are represented suggests that he painted them more or less near the actual hotel Bellevue-San Lorenzo di Malcesine.