Il Lake Garda is the largest Italian lake and boasts one surface of about 370 sq. km that extends over three regions, the Lombardy, Veneto and the Trentino-Alto Adige. To the north it has a narrow funnel shape while in the south it widens and is surrounded by morainic hills that make the landscape sweeter.
In the lake are present five islands small size. The largest is the island of Garda, on which in 1220 Saint Francis of Assisi he founded a monastero, later suppressed in the eighteenth century, and on which today stands a nineteenth-century palace in Venetian neo-Gothic style. The second largest island is theisland of San Biagio, known as "Of the Rabbits" by virtue of the fact that in the sixteenth century there were a large number of hares and rabbits among the local fauna. Being short distance from the coast, in dry periods can be reached on foot.
Along the eastern shore there are three other islands, theisland of Olives, isola of the Dream, also during dry periods reachable on foot from the coast, and theisland of Trimelone.
Already fromRoman times on the shores of the lake there were magnificent villas conceived as places dedicated to relaxation, thanks to the extraordinary naturalness of the place. In particular Sirmione it was a privileged place for the presence of sulfur springs , in fact here are the archaeological remains of one of the three most important Roman testimonies on the lake, one Roman Village known as Caves of Catullus.
Starting from Rinascimento the banks returned to populate with noble villas, experienced as urban settlements to be opposed to the countryside, and making the lake a destination for one elite tourism.
Tourism as it is conceived today developed from the end of the nineteenth century, although it is still an elitist tourism. One of the first tourist locations was Gardone Riviera, Where Luigi Wimmer, in love with the place, built a small hotel that, expanded over time, became one of the buildings that made up the Grand Hotel Gardone Riviera. Other small hotels and villas were subsequently built in the vicinity, and after that Gabriele d'Annunzio he built the Vittoriale degli Italiani, the fame of the place was further enriched.
Since second after war tourism has undergone a significant transformation, joining a long-term tourism, the so-called "hit and run" tourism; short breaks, only for the weekend or even for a few hours. Both types of tourism have led to considerable changes in the organization of the territory and inhabited centers.
In the last few years a type tourism has also taken place hiking, for which they have been made appropriate infrastructure and an extraordinary one "Fun tourism", thanks to the creation of important theme parks, such as Gardaland, the most visited Italian amusement park.