Torri del Benaco is one of the most beautiful towns on Lake Garda.
Elegant and pocket-size, this lakefront town is a great destination for a day trip or a longer holiday on the shores of Italy’s largest lake.
Very easy to reach from nearby Verona, Torri del Benaco has a cute as a button historic centre, a picturesque harbour, an imposing medieval castle with a centuries-old citrus garden, some of the best views this side of Italy, as well as countless of hiking trails and some cute pebbly beaches right next to it.
In addition, the town offers many opportunities to practice water sports from swimming to sailing and it has a busy social calendar with large festivals and traditional celebrations taking place all throughout the year.
Buzzing with visitors and events in summer and enjoying a quiet and relaxed winter, Torri del Benaco is a must-see, especially if you love small Italian towns with good food, interesting history, and beautiful nature around.
Heaven knows, over my six years of living in Italy, I never missed an opportunity to visit Torri del Benaco. So, in this blog post today I want to share with you the 15 very best things you can do and enjoy here. I have also included lots of interesting details about the history of Torri del Benaco and many practical tips about reaching the town and exploring its surroundings.
Altogether, I hope that this travel guide for Torri del Benaco on Italy’s Lake Garda will provide you with just the kind of information to galvanise you to want to see this beautiful town for yourself and will allow you to make the best of your stay here.
Now, without further ado, let’s head to the shores of Italy’s largest lake and discover:
15 Best Things to Do In and Around Torri del Benaco, Italy
1. Visit the Scaliger Castle of Torri del Benaco, Italy
A sturdy medieval castle stands sentry over Torri del Benaco’s historic centre. You will see it from afar as you are approaching this small town on Lake Garda.
A fort has stood at this spot since Roman times when Torri del Benaco was known as Castrum Turrium. Later on, in the 10th century, Berengar I – King of Italy from 887 AD and Holy Roman Emperor from 915 AD until his death in 924 AD – erected a castle on top of the Roman ruins. In addition, he surrounded the whole town with a thick defensive wall dotted with watchtowers. Passages were also excavated underground to be used in case of sieges by the invading Hungarians.
The castle as we see it today was built in 1383 on the orders of Antonio della Scala – Lord of Verona and member of the Scaliger dynasty. It incorporates a few surviving portions from Berengar’s castle among which is the Western tower. The Scaliger castle was built to protect the town’s port which at the time also functioned as a shipyard.
In 1405, when the Republic of Venice annexed Torri del Benaco to its territories, the castle became the residence of the Captain of the Lake. This was the local ruler who was in charge of the federation of ten lakefront municipalities and looked after the local interests of the Republic of Venice.
Nowadays, Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle functions as a Historical Ethnographic Museum. A visit to it is a must for four reasons:
- The rooms of the castle host a very interesting exhibition tracing the history and traditions of the territory. From fishing and caulking to olive tree growing and olive oil pressing, the local crafts and occupations are thoughtfully explored. A visit gives you a first-hand understanding of how people used to live at Lake Garda over the centuries.
- Room number 9 of the museum contains an intriguing display about the history and the meaning of the many rock carvings found around the shores of Lake Garda. Some of them date back to pre-historic times and represent small figures of people and objects that have been chiselled on slickensides – rocks smoothly polished by ancient glaciers.
- At the back of the castle, you can visit a traditional for Lake Garda limonaia – a greenhouse for the cultivation of citrus fruit. Citrus trees were introduced around Lake Garda in the 14th century by the Franciscan monks. At one point in history, the lake was the northernmost place in the world where citrus fruits were grown commercially. The citrus greenhouse at the Scaliger Castle of Torri del Benaco was set up in 1760. Some of the lemon trees in it reach a height of ten metres and there is a small pond with fish and turtles at the entrance to the greenhouse.
- From the castle’s battlements, you can enjoy some of the loveliest views of Lake Garda and Torri del Benaco’s historic centre. Standing on the centuries-old towers feels like being on top of the world, especially on a clear sunny day when the eyes travel as far as Sirmione on the southern edge of the lake.
2. Explore the Historic Centre of Torri del Benaco, Italy
Torri del Benaco has a pretty as a picture historic centre which curves around the lovely shell-shaped harbour. Going for a walk through the narrow streets dotted with boutiques and gelaterias is a very pleasant activity in summer. Sitting for a coffee or a meal in one of the many bars and restaurants along the town’s promenades is a recipe for charming views and a great way to experience the delights of the Italian way of life.
Here are some of the most interesting sights to see for yourself in the historic centre of Torri del Benaco:
- Historic Harbour – pretty and shell-shaped, the harbour is populated with colourful boats and it’s right next to the medieval Scaliger Castle.
- Gardesana Palace – this elegant building with a long portico flanks the historic harbour of Torri del Benaco. It was built in the 15th century on top of Roman ruins. While nowadays it functions as a luxury hotel, in the past this is where the meetings of the Council of the Gardesana dell’Acqua were held. The Gardesana was the federation of ten lakefront communities to which the Republic of Venice had granted significant independence. At the head of the Gardesana dell’Acqua’s Council stood the Captain of the Lake.
- Domizio Calderini’s Memorial Stone – in the portico of the Gardesana Palace stands a tall marble stella. It was erected in the 15th century in memory of Domizio Calderini – a native of Torri del Benaco. He wrote about classic literature and under the patronage of Pope Sixtus IV translated Ptolemy’s important works on geography.
- Torre dell’Orologio – the town’s historic clock tower was built in the 13th/14th centuries as a military structure destined to keep watch over the town. The clock was added in 1561. During the same century, the tower’s function changed and it became both:
- a storage place where the collected taxes in the shape of one-tenth of the crops were kept; and
- a meeting place where the Vicinie (the group of the heads of the town’s families) held its auctions and public assemblies. These were called with three rings of the large bell on the tower’s rooftop.
- Lungolaghi – the lovely Italian word lungolago means a lakefront promenade and Torri del Benaco commands some of the prettiest promenades this side of Lake Garda. Go for a walk along Lungolago Barbarani in the centre of town and continue down Lungolago Vittorio Veneto for uninterrupted lake views. Dozens of bars, coffee shops, and restaurants provide a front-row seat for you to relax over a drink or a meal and engage in some gentle people watching.
3. See the Historic Churches of Torri del Benaco, Italy
Italy’s churches open a door to the country’s history, art, and traditions so a visit to at least one of them is a must when you are exploring a new Italian town. Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda has a lot to offer in this regard. There are many small ancient churches to see for yourself in the town’s historic centre and the adjacent area.
Here are some of the most interesting religious buildings here:
- Oratory of the Holy Trinity (Chiesa Oratorio della Santissima Trinita’) – originally built in the late 13th century, you will find this small church right on Torri del Benaco’s historic harbour and opposite the medieval Scaliger Castle. For centuries, the oratory served as the private chapel of the Council of the Gardesana dell’Acqua – the federation of ten lakefront communities to which the Republic of Venice had granted significant independence. In fact, the Gardesana Palace where the Council would regularly meet is right next door to the Oratory of the Holy Trinity. Inside the oratory, you can see precious frescoes from the 15th and the 16th centuries as well as a War Memorial.
- Parish Church of S.S. Peter and Paul (Chiesa Parrocchiale dei Santi Pietro e Paulo) – an imposing 18th-century church in the Neoclassical style with baroque altars. The church’s organ was built between 1742-1744 by the Bonati family of Desenzano del Garda – at the time the leading organ makers in the area of Lake Garda and Verona. A church has been standing at this place at least since the Middle Ages. First mentioned in a document in 1145, it was built near the Trincero’ – the fortress erected at the time of King Berengar I to protect Torri del Benaco from the Hungarian incursions. Nowadays, only one of the original four towers of the fortress still stands and you can see it right next to the Parish Church of S.S. Peter and Paul.
- St. John’s Church (Chiesa di San Giovanni) – a deconsecrated Romanesque Church with beautiful frescoes from the 13th and the 14th centuries. Nowadays, it’s used as a conference and wedding venue.
Within an easy reach from Torri del Benaco, don’t miss:
- St. Mark’s Church (Chiesa di San Marco) – about ten minutes away by car, the parish church of the nearby village of Pai enjoys beautiful panoramic views of Lake Garda. The oldest part of the church incorporates the chapel of a fortress that had been built here by King Berengar I in the 10th century. Two centuries later, the fortress was destroyed by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
- Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona – this is an important Christian sanctuary about 40 mins away by car. Its main church is half-hewn in the rocky face of a steep cliff over the valley of the river Adige. For full information on how to visit this impressive place, please, read this blog post: Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona – Visiting Italy’s Church Suspended Between Heaven and Earth.
- Sanctuary of Montecastello – a beautiful hilltop sanctuary about 1 h 15 mins away by ferry and car. It enjoys stunning bird’s-eye views of Lake Garda and it’s close to the pretty medieval village of Tremosine sul Garda.
4. Go for a Hike in the Beautiful Surroundings of Torri del Benaco, Italy
Perched on the lakefront where steep slopes kiss the sparkling lake waters, Torri del Benaco is a great starting point for many exciting hikes to suit all hiking abilities.
Go for a stroll through the olive groves that for centuries have been keeping an eye on Lake Garda. To get an adrenaline rush, cross the nearby Tibetan bridge. Or conquer Rocca di Garda – a steep hill with a flat top that opens the most captivating views over Italy’s largest lake and the towns on its shores. Then, for the ultimate history experience, hike to see the rock carvings that date back to prehistoric times.
The best bit is that all of these destinations are within an easy reach from Torri del Benaco. Here are some of the most picturesque hikes in the area to experience for yourself:
- Tibetan Bridge – less than 10 mins by car to the village of Crero and then 30-40 mins hike to the bridge itself. Almost 40 m long, the Tibetan bridge hangs over the steep canyon of Val Valzana. For full information on how to do this hike, please, read this blog post: Lake Garda’s Tibetan Bridge – A High-Adrenaline Hiking Experience in the Veneto, Italy.
- Grotta Tanella – less than 10 mins away by car, this is a beautiful cave located at the foot of Monte Baldo. It can be visited as part of a guided visit which follows an itinerary of about 400 m into the heart of the mountain.
- Pai to San Zeno di Montagna – drive the seven-minute distance to the medieval village of Pai and then follow on foot the easy circular route which connects it to the picturesque town of San Zeno di Montagna on the slopes above Lake Garda.
- Rocca di Garda – about ten minutes away by car, this flat-top steep hill that takes about half an hour to conquer overlooks two of Lake Garda’s most important towns – Bardolino and Garda Town. For full information on how to do this hike, please, read this blog post: Rocca di Garda – Hiking to the Best Panoramic Spot of Lake Garda, Italy.
- Parco delle Cascate and Molina – less than an hour away, this is a beautiful nature park nestled between three lush valleys. It is surrounded by dramatic peaks and it is famous for its 18 waterfalls. Next door to the park, you can explore the medieval village of Molina with its centuries-old water mills. For full information on how to visit this stunning place, please, read this blog post: Parco delle Cascate and Molina – A Great Day Out in the Province of Verona.
In addition to hiking, the area around Torri del Benaco is also great for mountain biking, climbing, paragliding, canyoning, and nordic walking. So, it’s the perfect destination for lovers of nature and/or high-adrenaline sports.
5. Take the Ferry Across Lake Garda from Torri del Benaco, Italy
Crisscrossing Lake Garda on the board of a ferry is a pleasure like no other. Luckily, Torri del Benaco has a very well-served ferry terminal that is operational all year round.
Leaving from Torri del Benaco the ferry boats take just half an hour to reach the towns of Maderno-Toscolano on the opposite side of Lake Garda. They transport both cars and pedestrians.
The journey is short but very beautiful. Long promenades, pastel houses, sprawling beaches, little coves, towering mountains glide past you framed by the blue waters of the lake and the blue skies above.
Definitely, don’t miss a chance to take the ferry from Torri del Benaco across Lake Garda. The western shore of Italy’s largest lake is dotted with lovely towns and has a long list of sights for you to explore on a day trip or over a longer period of time.
For more information about taking the ferries at Lake Garda, please, have a look at point 2 in this blog post:
6. Go to the Beach at Torri del Benaco, Italy
Lake Garda is a great place to go to the beach on a hot summer day. Torri del Benaco has some of the nicest lake beaches for you to top your tan at.
A particular mention here deserve:
- Spiaggia Sboco Valle Randina – right next to the historic centre of Torri del Benaco, this is the favourite beach of the local residents. Free of charge.
- Sunset Beach – right next to the ferry terminal and the Scaliger Castle, this beach attracts a young crowd and has a very hip atmosphere. There is an entrance fee and you can also rent umbrellas and sun loungers here.
- Spiaggia Lido Brancolino – a private beach with paid entrance further down the road from Torri del Benaco and next to Punta di San Vigilio (see point 7 below). There are umbrellas, sun loungers, showers, toilets, and a bar.
- Parco Baia delle Sirene – curving around a small secluded bay at the back of Punta di San Vigilio (see point 7 below), you will find this beautiful beach just under five km away from Torri del Benaco. Surrounded by an olive grove, the beach has its own car park. The price of the entrance ticket includes parking, sun lounger rental, access to table tennis, kids’ playground, TV area, showers, and toilets.
For more information about the beaches at Lake Garda and how to spend a great beach day at Italy’s largest lake, please, have a look at these two blog posts:
- Lake Garda Beaches – 16 Top Tips for a Great Day at the Beach at Italy’s Largest Lake
- 3 Unmissable Lake Garda Beaches to Sun Yourself On This Summer in Italy
7. Fall in Love with Lake Garda’s Most Romantic Corner Right Next to Torri del Benaco, Italy
Punta di San Vigilio is a small promontory which stretches deep into Lake Garda and separates its wide southern end from its narrow northern stretch.
Often referred to as the most romantic and the most charming corner of Lake Garda, Punta di San Vigilio is only about ten minutes down the road from Torri del Benaco. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore it!
From one of the best beaches on Lake Garda to a medieval hamlet that nowadays functions as a luxury resort, from gorgeous views across the lake to a gulp of cormorants nesting on a small islet just off its shores, Punta di San Vigilio is a truly lovely place that is steeped in legends and has attracted many celebrities and even royalty over the years.
For more information about Punta di San Vigilio at Lake Garda and what to do and see there, please, have a look at this blog post:
8. See Italy’s Shortest River Just Up the Road from Torri del Benaco, Italy
Less than half an hour away from Torri del Benaco, you can see Aril – officially, Italy’s shortest river. Only 175 m long, Aril runs through the small village of Cassone before flowing into Lake Garda – officially, Italy’s largest lake.
Visiting Aril is a great experience. The river runs fast and furious from its freshwater springs down to the lake navigating a small weir and three bridges along the way. Plus, the village of Cassone is pretty as a picture and it was actually painted by one of the most famous symbolist artists – Gustav Klimt (of ‘The Kiss’ fame).
Apart from the River Aril, in Cassone, you can also see the Museum of the Lake which preserves the memory of the local fishing traditions. The museum has two water reservoirs where trouts, carps, and eels swim.
For more information about the River Aril, Cassone, and what to do and see in their vicinity, please, have a look at this blog post:
9. Take the Cable Car to the Top of Monte Baldo Near Torri del Benaco, Italy
For the ultimate birds’-eye views of Lake Garda, make sure that you ride the cable car to the top of Monte Baldo – an Alpine mountain chain that shelters the eastern shore of Italy’s largest lake and is split between the Province of Verona and the Autonomous Province of Trentino.
You will find Monte Baldo’s cable car station in the town of Malcesine which is about half an hour up the road from Torri del Benaco. There is a large car park right next to it. The journey to the top of Monte Baldo is split in two. The first cable car takes you to the station of San Michele at 560 m height. The views of the town of Malcesine as the cable car smoothly glides uphill are soul-inspiring. You feel like you are flying over the red rooftops which slowly grow smaller and smaller and the enormous expanse of the lake fills the panorama with its sparkling blue colours.
At San Michele, you take a second cable car that is bigger and even swisher than the first. While you wait, an open-air platform provides even more stunning views. Board the second cable car and don’t worry about trying to bag the best spot inside for panoramic views and pictures. The cable car slowly swivels around its axe providing a 360 degrees view thus giving everyone on board the chance to enjoy it from all possible angles.
After a short but exhilarating ascent, the cable car stops at a modern terminal at a height of 1760 m. In summer, people go there to hike, paraglide, practice Nordic walking and mountain bike or simply to take in the mesmerising views. In winter, you can ski, snowboard or sledge.
Plus, there is also a chairlift there which takes you down the opposite side of Monte Baldo. The chairlift is only operational in summer and it gives you a chance to see that portion of the mountain chain which is in Trentino.
10. Explore Beautiful Lakefront Towns Starting from Torri del Benaco, Italy
Torri del Benaco is one of a number of beautiful towns dotted on the shores of Lake Garda. If you are spending more than a day in the area, then Torri del Benaco is a great point of departure to visit as many of them as possible. Rich in history, culture, and nature, Lake Garda’s towns are a delight to discover one by one.
Here are the ones you can easily reach by car, ferry or public transport from Torri del Benaco:
- Garda Town – less than ten minutes down the road, this is a beautiful lakefront town with a picturesque historic centre where many large-scale events take place throughout the year. The Christmas market is especially lovely!
- Bardolino – under 15 minutes down the road, this is a lakefront town with a rich history, a cute historic centre, several churches dating back to the 11th-12th centuries, and 12th-century defensive walls. Plus, the local wine is especially famous!
- Malcesine – less than half an hour up the road, this is a dreamy town with a medieval castle, steep cobbled streets, and beautiful houses. A must-see!
- Nago-Torbole – just over 40 mins up the road, these two towns are heaven for surfers and hikers. Plus, their historic streets are so beautiful!
- Riva del Garda – about 50 mins up the road, this is one of Lake Garda’s most elegant and important towns. Expect Austrian architecture, a stunning lakefront location, many unmissable sights, and an air of pure relaxation.
- Toscolano-Maderno – half an hour away by ferry across the lake, these two towns offer great beaches, several museums, the ruins of a Roman villa, and a very relaxed atmosphere.
Please, note that all travel times are approximate, by car, and start from the parking lot behind Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle. If you are travelling by public transport, then bus 484 connects Torri del Benaco with Garda Town going south and with Malcesine, Torbole, and Riva del Garda going up north. To reach Bardolino, you can either take one of the many buses that connect this town with Garda Town or walk on the lovely lakefront promenade between the two.
For more ideas about towns to see around Lake Garda, please, also see this blog post:
11. Discover Charming Medieval Villages around Torri del Benaco, Italy
Don’t limit yourself to exploring just the towns on Lake Garda. Near Torri del Benaco you will also find a large number of ancient villages. Pretty as a picture with their centuries-old houses, they offer quick access to beautiful corners of nature, surprising historic facts, and rich local heritage.
Here are some of the best villages to see for yourself near Torri del Benaco:
- Pai – less than ten minutes up the road, this village stands on the site of an ancient fortress that was built by King Berengar I and later destroyed by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. The village also has a modern part – Pai di Sotto – on the lakefront.
- Crero (also known as Crer) – less than ten minutes up the road, come here to see the prehistoric rock carvings that were chiselled several millennia ago on slickensides – rocks smoothly polished by ancient glaciers. Crero is also a starting point for the hike to Lake Garda’s Tibetan Bridge.
- Albisano – only ten minutes away, this is a small medieval village with beautiful panoramic views over Lake Garda and olive groves growing on the steep slopes that hurtle down to the lake’s blue waters.
- Campo di Brenzone – a 1,000 years old medieval village in the lush hills above Lake Garda. To reach it, you need to park your car in Marniga – a small lakeside community about 15 to 20 mins away by car from Torri del Benaco. Then, you need to hike for 30 to 40 minutes following centuries-old mule tracks that weave through olive groves higher and higher above Lake Garda. For full information on how to do this hike, please, read this blog post: Campo di Brenzone – A Great Day Trip to a Medieval Village in the Hills Above Lake Garda, Italy.
- Canale’ di Tenno – about 1 h 25 mins away, visiting this medieval stone village takes a bit of time but it’s so worth it. Among its tall stone buildings, you will find the workshops of many gifted craftsmen and artisans. Plus, Canale’ di Tenno is close to the stunningly beautiful Lake Tenno which is so small and manageable that you can easily walk around it in about an hour or so.
Please, note that all travel times are approximate, by car, and start from the parking lot behind Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle.
For more ideas about charming villages to explore in the Italian region of the Veneto (of which Torri del Benaco makes part), please, also check this blog post:
12. Practice Water Sports on Lake Garda at Torri del Benaco, Italy
A big portion of the pleasure of being at Lake Garda is the ability to practice many different water sports here.
For example, renting a boat for a few hours, a whole day or even longer makes it possible for you to explore the lake at your own speed and to discover hidden beaches, small coves, and less touristy villages and towns. There are several companies in and around Torri del Benaco renting motorboats and sailing boats to visitors. You can even hire a skipper in case your boating skills are a bit rusty.
In addition, you can surf, kitesurf, water ski, dive, paddleboard, even practice canyoning and canoeing. You don’t have to be an expert either. Many water sports companies around the lake offer tasters, individual and group training, and guided practice. So, if you have ever wanted to try sailing, for example, you can do it in and around Torri del Benaco at Lake Garda.
- Water Sports page on Lake Garda’s Holiday Portal
13. Eat Local Food in and around Torri del Benaco, Italy
One of the best things about Torri del Benaco is that thanks to its location it gives you quick access to all three Italian regions – Veneto, Lombardy, and Trentino-Alto Adige – which border on Lake Garda. This way, you can sample the cuisine of all three during your time at Italy’s largest lake.
Here are some famous local foodstuffs to taste:
- extra virgin olive oil – Lake Garda’s microclimate has favoured the cultivation of olive trees since ancient times. Nowadays, some of Italy’s best olive oils are produced here. You can trace the traditions behind them in the Museum of Olive Oil in the village of Cisano which is less than 20 mins down the road from Torri del Benaco.
- fresh fish from Lake Garda – the lake waters team with fish – from common carps and eels to brown trouts and even pikes. A great way to learn more about Lake Garda fish species is to visit the Fishing Room in the Scaliger Castle of Torri del Benaco (see point 1 above). Local restaurants serve a large variety of fish dishes. Sample as many as you can if fish is something you love to eat.
- black truffles – found on the slopes of Monte Baldo, you can see stalls selling these fragrant tubers at local events and Christmas markets.
- peaches – Lake Garda is famous for its peach orchards which thrive thanks to the lake’s mild microclimate.
- kiwi – the kiwis grown around Lake Garda help Italy maintain its position as the world’s second-largest producer of kiwi fruit.
- citrus fruit – citrus trees were introduced around Lake Garda in the 14th century by the Franciscan monks. Nowadays, large citrus fruit gardens – called limonaia – flourish on the lake shores. Don’t miss a chance to sample the locally grown lemons and oranges.
- chestnuts – the famous chestnuts of San Zeno di Montagna (about 20 mins away from Torri del Benaco) are particularly tasty and enjoy a Protected Designation of Origin status. They are the fruit of centuries-old forests that grow around this little town in the slopes above Lake Garda.
In addition, enjoy the large variety of local cheeses and wines. The pink claret of Bardolino is particularly famous.
For dessert, head from Torri del Benaco to Riva del Garda and enjoy the patisseries there with German and Austrian influences. As a nice edible souvenir, stop at Punta di San Vigilio (less than ten minutes down the road from Torri del Benaco) and buy a bag of San Vigilini. These are the tasty biscuits that were invented to mark the visit of Winston Churchill to that most charming promontory on Lake Garda.
14. Have Fun in and around Torri del Benaco, Italy
Torri del Benaco is a great place to visit and stay at if you want to experience traditional Italian events and festivals. This small town on the shores of Lake Garda has a rich calendar of happenings that take place all throughout the year.
Here are some of the most important ones:
- Olive Festival – For three days at the end of January, Torri del Benaco celebrates the green gold of Lake Garda. Expect tastings, guided tours, workshops, and conferences exploring the flavoursome world of olive oil.
- Festival of San Filippo – Torri del Benaco marks the day of its patron saint on 26th May each year. The highlight of the event is the burning of a boat on a bonfire in Lake Garda.
- September Carnival – expect festive parades, performances, and fireworks.
Should you miss these events and yet you find yourself in Torri del Benaco wishing to have a bit of fun, then you are in luck. For within a short distance of this small town on Lake Garda, you can find several of Italy’s largest and most popular amusement parks. Have a look at their official websites for further details: Gardaland, Gardaland Sea Life Aquarium, Canevaworld, Busatte Adventure, and Jungle Adventure Park.
15. Take a Day Trip from Torri del Benaco to Some of Italy’s Most Beautiful Cities
Torri del Benaco is an easy distance away from some of the most beautiful and richest in history cities of Northeastern Italy. If you are spending more than a day or two in this pretty lakefront town, then make sure that you pencil a day trip to a larger nearby city.
Here are some of the best destinations:
- Verona – universally known as the City of Romeo and Juliet, Verona is a great place with a multilayered history and dozens of sights to explore. It will take you from around 45 mins to just over an hour to reach Verona from Torri del Benaco. For detailed information about all the unmissable things to tick off in Verona in a day, please, read this blog post: 20 Best Things to Do in Verona, Italy in One Day – The Ultimate Itinerary with Photos and Tips.
- Arco – this small city with Austrian heritage is a must-see just off the northernmost tip of Lake Garda. With a picturesquely ruined hilltop castle and a cute historic centre, Arco is a great destination for a day trip. Plus, the surrounding area is perfect for hiking. You can stop here on the way to Canale’s di Tenno and Lake Tenno (see point 11 above). It will take you between 45 mins and just over an hour to reach Arco from Torri del Benaco.
- Rovereto – a little-known yet stunningly beautiful city in Trentino. A curious mixture between Austrian and Italian architecture and traditions, Rovereto is a delight to explore. It will take you between 50 mins and 1 h 15 mins to reach Rovereto from Torri del Benaco. For more information about the things you can see and do in Rovereto in a day, please, read this blog post: 20 Photos to Make You Fall in Love with Rovereto in the Italian Alps.
- Trento – the capital of the Autonomous Italian province of Trentino, Trento is a lovely city surrounded by mountains. This is where the Council of Trent was held in the 16th century and where, nowadays, you will find a host of historic sights and some of the prettiest streets and squares this side of Italy. It will take you between an hour and an hour and a half to reach Trento from Torri del Benaco.
- Venice – a must-see if you are in the area, Venice is quite a bit further away from Torri del Benaco than the other options on this list. Yet, if you have never been to Venice before or want to re-visit the gorgeous city on water, then make sure that you head there on a day trip to remember. It will take you between 1 h 40 mins and 2 h 30 mins to reach Venice from Torri del Benaco. For more information about many of the things you can see and do in Venice in a day, please, read this blog post: Hidden Gems in Venice – 101 Things to Do in Venice, Italy Off the Beaten Track.
Please, note that all travel times are approximate, by car, and start from the parking lot behind Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle.
For more ideas about beautiful historic cities to explore in Northern Italy, please, also check this blog post:
Useful Information about Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda in Italy
Where on Lake Garda is Torri del Benaco?
You will find Torri del Benaco on the eastern shore of Lake Garda. Small and picturesque, the town is about 41-45 km away from Verona and it’s within the confines of the Northern Italian region of the Veneto.
The historic centre of Torri del Benaco is right on the lakefront. Several small villages in the hills above Lake Garda are part of the Municipality of Torri del Benaco. Some of them are Albisano, Pai, and Crero.
How to Reach Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda?
One of the main towns on the shores of Lake Garda, Torri del Benaco is easy to reach by car, ferry, and bus. Here is how to do it:
- By car – depending on traffic, it will take you from 40 mins to just over an hour to reach Torri del Benaco from Verona.
- By ferry – it takes about half an hour to reach Torri del Benaco by ferry from Toscolano-Maderno on the western shore of Lake Garda. The ferry takes both pedestrians and cars. This way, you can drive to Toscolano Maderno from Milan, for example, and then take the ferry for the last portion of the journey.
- By bus – you can take a bus from Verona to Garda Town and once there, change to bus 484 which will take you up to Torri del Benaco.
For extensive information about travelling around Lake Garda and reaching the towns on its shores from the nearby large Italian cities and most important airports, please, have a look at these detailed blog posts:
- 8 Best Airports for Lake Garda or How to Quickly Reach by Plane Italy’s Largest Lake
- Getting around Lake Garda – 8 Best Ways to Travel around Italy’s Largest Lake
- 3 Easy Ways to Travel from Verona to Lake Garda, Italy
- 3 Easy Ways to Travel from Venice to Lake Garda in Italy
- 3 Easy Ways to Travel from Milan to Lake Garda in Italy
When is the Best Time to Visit Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda?
Protected by the slopes of Monte Baldo, Torri del Benaco enjoys a mild Mediterranean-style microclimate. Winters are rarely freezing and in summer a lovely breeze brings a welcome respite even on a scorcher of a day.
When to visit Torri del Benaco depends entirely on what you want to do and see. If it is beautiful views, great hiking, amazing food, and historic towns, feel free to come at any time of the year. The lake is gorgeous in any season.
Late autumn, winter, and early spring are mostly crowd-free and offer many different types of local entertainment like Christmas and craft markets, food and wine festivals. When the weather gets warm visitors start flocking to Lake Garda. In July and August, the streets are densely packed, restaurants are abuzz with people, and cooling in the clear lake waters is a pleasure like no other.
What Is the Meaning of Torri del Benaco’s Name?
It is believed that a settlement had existed in the area of Torri del Benaco since at least 2,000 BC. Originally, it was known as Tulles – a name which was changed to Castrum Turrium when the Romans conquered these lands at Lake Garda around 1st century BC.
Its current name, the town owes to the ancient towers (in Italian, torri) which are dotted around its historic centre and to the old Latin name of Lake Garda – Lacus Benacus.
What is the History of Torri del Benaco on Lake Garda?
This beautiful corner of Italy has been a hubbub of human activity for millennia. In prehistoric times, pile dwellings existed in the area.
Many rock carvings from that period have survived to our days. They consist of human figures and many different objects that have been chiselled on slickensides – rocks smoothly polished by ancient glaciers.
The rock carvings are mostly centred around the villages of Crero and Brancolino. In addition, you can learn about their history and significance in Torri del Benaco’s Historical Ethnographic Museum which is housed in the town’s medieval Scaliger Castle.
Towards the end of the 1st century BC, Torri del Benaco was conquered by the Romans. They built a fort here and changed the name of the settlement from the original Tulles to Castrum Turrium.
In the 10th century, King Berengar I fortified Torri del Benaco and built a castle here to protect the town from the incursions of the Hungarians.
At the end of the 12th century, the ruling family of Verona – the Scaligers – took control of Torri del Benaco. The town’s medieval castle as we see it nowadays dates back to this historical period.
In 1405, Torri del Benaco was annexed by the Republic of Venice. The town kept its importance in the context of Lake Garda’s towns. So, the meetings of the Consiglio della Gardesana dell’Acqua took place here. The Consiglio was the council of the federation of ten lakefront municipalities.
Between the 16th and the 17th centuries, the plague hit mercilessly Torri del Benaco and its adjacent areas. This was followed by famine and epidemics. Typically, the locals survived thanks to fishing, cultivation of olive trees, citrus fruit growing, and marble quarrying.
At the end of the 18th century, Napoleon’s troops occupied the area. They were pushed away by the Austrian army and the town remained part of the Austrian Empire until 1866 when it joined the Kingdom of Italy.
For its beautiful location, charming architecture, and mild climate, Torri del Benaco has been attracting visitors in their droves for centuries. Among the famous people who have spent time here enjoying the delights of Lake Garda are the opera singers Maria Calas and Beniamino Gigli, the actors Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, as well as King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
Nowadays, Torri del Benaco is one of the prettiest and most important towns on Italy’s largest lake. It is a place which captivates the heart with its beauty and leaves a memory to last a lifetime in everyone who has had the good fortune to spend even a short amount of time here.
Torri del Benaco is a gem on the shores of Italy’s Lake Garda. This small town has a millennial history, a handful of unmissable sights, and it is surrounded by beautiful nature.
If you are looking for a place in Northern Italy where you can be both close to history and culture and yet have fun on the beach and/or hike to your heart’s content, Torri del Benaco is just the perfect destination. You can either base yourself here for the duration of your holiday or come for a day trip.
To help you find out what to see during your time here, in the above blog post, I have listed in detail the 15 best things you can do in and around Torri del Benaco, Italy. From historic sights in the shape of a medieval castle and a centuries-old citrus garden to tasty local food, unmissable hikes, ancient villages, and great events, everything is covered.
Thank you for reading!
Enjoy your time in Torri del Benaco, Italy!
More Helpful Links for Lake Garda, Italy
- Best 12 Towns to Visit around Lago di Garda – Italy’s Largest Lake
- Lake Garda with Kids or The Best 11 Things to Do at Lake Garda for Families
- 8 Best Airports for Lake Garda or How to Quickly Reach by Plane Italy’s Largest Lake
- Getting around Lake Garda – 8 Best Ways to Travel around Italy’s Largest Lake
- 30 Days of Adventures in the Veneto, Italy – #30daysofadventures
- Top 15 Places to Visit in the Veneto, Italy – The Ultimate Guide
- 10 Best Cities in Veneto, Italy to Visit and What to See in Each
- 8 Most Beautiful Villages to Visit in the Veneto, Italy
- Day Trips from Verona – 16 Destinations in Italy to Fall in Love with (With Travel Times and Train Tips)
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