from Wikipedia, December 27th, 2006
Lake Garda (Italian Lago di Garda or Benaco) is the largest lake in Italy. It is located in Northern Italy, about half-way between Venice and Milan. It is in an alpine region and was formed by glaciers at the end of the last ice age. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the provinces of Verona (to the south-east), Brescia (south-west), and Trento (north). The lake is a major tourist destination, with a number of hotels and resorts along its shore.
Formation and overview
The northern part of the lake is narrower, surrounded by mountains, the major of which belong to the Gruppo del Baldo. The shape is that typical of a morain valley, probably having been formed under the action of a Paleolithic glacier. Although traces of the glacier action are evident today, in more recent years it has been hypothesized that the glacier occupied an already existing depression, created by stream erosion from 5 to 6 million years ago.
The lake has five islands, the largest being Isola del Garda. Nearby is the Isola dei Conigli ("Rabbits' Island") or San Biagio. Both face San Felice del Benaco, on the Brescian side. The three smaller islands are Isola dell'Olivo, Isola di Sogno and Isola di Trimelone.
Localities and sights
The ancient fortified town of Sirmione, located on the south of the lake is one particularly popular destination, home to the Virgilio & Catullo Spa Complexes, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, hotels, fashion stores and a market. The picturesque Scaliger castle dates from the 13th century. The Roman villa was home to the poet Catullus. The sulphur springs at the tip of the peninsula have a reputation for the healing of catarrhal conditions, particularly those involving the ear.
Nearby, there is Gardaland, one of the most famous parks in Italy.
Villages that lie along its coasts are: Sirmione, Desenzano, SalÚ, Gardone Riviera, Toscolano-Maderno, Gargnano, Limone sul Garda, Moniga, Padenghe sul Garda and Lonato in Brescia side of the Lake, Peschiera del Garda, Lazise, Bardolino, Garda, Torri del Benaco, Brenzone, Malcesine in Verona side of the Lake, Riva del Garda, Nago-Torbole in the province of Trento.