The Garda Veneto Castles

They are among the main attractions of the hamlets that stud the Veneto shore of Lake Garda and its backcountry.

They are among the main attractions of the hamlets that stud the Veneto shore of Lake Garda and its backcountry. For their grandeur, they are often used as film sets or exclusive locations for events and ceremonies.
You heard right. It is possible to get married in these castles (those in Malcesine and Torri) and they are becoming ever more popular with visitors from all over the world, who choose them for their wedding day!

Malcesine’s Scaliger Castle
It is the symbol of the town, and was declared a national monument in 1902. It was built by the Lombards, and after many ups and downs, was rebuilt by the Scala family between the 11th and 12th century. Some of its points of interests are Mount Baldo and Garda’s Natural History Museum, the Sala delle Galee, or Galley Hall, and the former armoury, built by the Austrians and dedicated today to W. Goethe. This last hall holds the drawings the German intellectual made during his trip to Italy. And don’t miss the spectacular view from the balcony overlooking the lake (a 24 metres drop). Equally exceptional is the 70-metres-high keep, or Mastio, which towers above the lake.

Torri del Benaco’s Scaliger Castle
Originally a defensive wall built by the Romans in the first century b.C, it was made into a proper castle in the 10th century by Berengar I of Italy. After that, it saw the domination of the Scala, the Visconti, and Venice, which is when its decadence began, with the destruction of the outside walls in 1760 to build the lemon orchard, still standing today. It hosts a museum with objects and artefacts of artisanal-industrial activities of Torri del Benaco’s past.

Lazise’s Scaliger Castle
It was around the end of 1,000 A.D. that the Castle and the city walls started to be built. This defence system was later expanded by the Scala, the Visconti, and later by the Most Serene Republic of Venice, for which the hamlet became strategic to dominate the whole of Garda. At the end of the 16th century, the French turned it into a saltpetre factory, then the Austrians sold it to a private citizen who made it into a pit to recycle the stones as building material. Towards the end of the 17th century it was bought by the Buri family, which deserves the credit for its restructuring. The part of the fortress accessible by tourists is the one along the walls, both outside and inside, that have been perfectly preserved.

Valeggio sul Mincio’s Scaliger Castle
Open air cinema and shows during the fine season attract visitors from far and wide, but the truth is that this 14th century castle is attractive the whole year round. Of the three drawbridges that protected it, only one remains. The oldest part was nearly completely destroyed in the earthquake of 1117, which only spared the horse-shoe shaped Round Tower dating back to the 10th century.

Castelnuovo del Garda’s Castle
Unlike the others, this castle was built by the Visconti, not the Scala. Having defeated the Scala, Giangaleazzo Visconti wanted to take control of Verona, so in 1387 he commenced the works for the Castelnuovo fortress, the Verona Citadel and the bridge in Borghetto di Valeggio sul Mincio (also known as Visconti bridge, where every year a spectacular banquet is held for the festival of the Nodo d’Amore, or love knot, celebrating the Tortellino di Valeggio). Two walls surrounded the castle. In the middle of the second one is the impressive Visconti Tower.