Overlooking the largest lake in Italy, Lake Garda, is the small and relatively unknown village of San Felice del Benaco. Although it currently enjoys a comfortable seclusion, this town has frequently been the centre of attention over the centuries. Poets like Dante, Goethe and Byron sat by the lakeside here, drawing inspiration from its classic beauty, nobles chose this region as the setting for their magnificent Venetian villas and medieval commanders and monks would erect castles, fortresses and monasteries here. |
I’m sure history aficionados are already sold on a visit to Lake Garda - holiday here to see for yourself all that San Felice del Benaco has to offer.
San Felice Castle
Product of a turbulent and engrossing past, today the San Felice Castle stands as a picturesque ruin – a Romantic reminder of its former glory as a military fortification. It was built in the Middle Ages by the influential Scaligeri family. They wanted to defend themselves amidst the local turmoil caused by the conflicting political ambitions of the two highest powers at the time: the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. Parts of the castle have since been converted to a church with a fascinating bell tower.
Isola del Garda
Not far from shore is the Island of Garda (Isola del Garda). Huddled among its thick forests and vegetation is a stunning neo-Gothic palace owned by the Borghese Cavazza family, who open it to the public between March and October. When planning a visit to Lake Garda, holidaymakers should allow for a visit to the island and the palace. Guided tours are available and, should you arrive in the evening, you may have the opportunity to experience one of the live concerts that are frequently held here.
Sanctuary of Madonna del Carmine
Upon entering this beautifully frescoed church, you are flooded with an unusually soothing sense of peace and quiet. You would be excused and, in fact, justified for thinking this is not a place used to the sound of human voices. Since its construction in the fifteenth century, the church has seen generations of nuns from the Carmelite order who took life-long vows of silence.
The site of this sanctuary was originally a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fishermen came and prayed to her for safe voyages and deliverance from harm during storms.
Where to Stay
For accommodation that is close to all of these sites (and has some historical interest itself), consider staying at the Hotel San Filis. Built as a luxurious villa in the sixteenth century, the hotel offers its guests a perfect combination of elaborate classic style and the luxuries of modern life.
For a historical stay in a gorgeous town, there’s no better place than Lake Garda. Holiday here to experience all the wonders and hidden gems San Felice del Benaco has to offer.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing many a luxury Lake Garda holiday, as well as holidays to Bermuda, Sicily and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.
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