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 Trentino-Alto Adige. To the north it has a narrow funnel shape while to 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 San Francesco d'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 a short distance from the coast, in dry periods it can be reached on foot.
Along the eastern shore there are three other islands, theisland of Olives,isola of the Dream, also in dry periods reachable on foot from the coast, and theisland of Trimelone.
Already starting 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 Renaissance the banks returned to populate with noble villas, lived as urban settlements to contrast with the countryside, and making the lake the destination of a elite tourism.
Tourism as it is conceived today developed from late nineteenth, even though it is still an elite tourism. One of the first tourist locations was Gardone Riviera, Where Luigi Wimmer, in love with the place, he built a small hotel which, enlarged over time, became one of the buildings that made up the Grand Hotel Gardone Riviera. Allesue proximity arose subsequently other small hotels and villas 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, alongside tourism with a long stay, the so-called “hit and run” tourism; short breaks, just for the weekend or even for a few hours. Both types of tourism have caused notable changes in the organization of the territory and of the 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 "Entertainment tourism", thanks to the creation of important theme parks, such as Gardaland, the most visited Italian amusement park.