I had forgotten how much I loved travelling, until I had the privilege of a trip to Lake Garda last weekend. With winter looming and lockdowns likely, we headed first to Gardaland for some socially-distanced family fun. This was a real treat, and so well-decorated for Halloween; the kids absolutely loved it. But we also paid a visit to the enchanting town of Lasize, so I’d like to tell you a bit more about that.
About Lake Garda
It’s a famous holiday destination, given. But did you know the following?
- Garda is the largest Lake in Italy, with a maximum length of 54km, maximum width of 18km and a 145km circumference.
- Garda has been a popular holiday resort since Roman times: the poet Catullus had a villa there.
- St Francis of Assisi founded a monastery on the Isola del Garda, the largest island on the lake, in 1220 A.D. Unfortunately, this was demolished by Napoleon.
- Lake Garda has a Mediterranean microclimate so that it is easy to grow olives and lemons on its shores. There was once a thriving lemon-growing industry but this died out nearly 200 years ago with the discovery of artificial citric acid. You can still buy lemon soap in the local shops, but most of it is factory-made.
History of Lasize
As this was a weekend getaway, and we spent a whole day in Gardaland, we only had time to visit one town. The nearest was Lasize, recommended by locals for its restaurants, so this is where we headed.
Approaching the town, you will see the still-intact Medieval walls with the Scalglier Castle guarding their entrance. The community of Lasize was given the right to fortify and defend its territory in 983 by the Holy Roman Emperor, Oto I. This makes Lasize the oldest commune in Italy, and possibly in Europe.
The commune was under the control of the Scaglieri family of Verona in the 13th and 14th centuries. They built the formidable Scaglier Castle. From 1405-1796, the commune fell under Venetian rule, followed by Napoleonic, Austrian and eventually Italian governance. This is a small town with a rich and important history.
Lasize is an atmospheric place to visit at night, and feels very much like a seaside town with a small harbour, only lacking the salt tang of ozone in the air. The wonderful lakefront walkway with its black and white wave-pattern paving is lit softly at night, making it the perfect place for a romantic twilight stroll.
The food is excellent. We only ate in one restaurant, Gio & Max, but all the restaurants nearby had great reviews, too. This one I cannot fault: excellent food, impeccable service. Italian cuisine is good by definition. This was local cuisine done simply to perfection. I had taglioni with perch and lemon as I wanted to try a local dish, and I was not disappointed: fresh, simple, delicious!
I was charmed by this town: just full of atmosphere. In the daytime, the boutiques spill their wares onto the street, Italian style at affordable prices. I could have spent a day happily shopping, if the family had let me!
I believe Garda has many picturesque and delightful towns dotted along its shores, so I definitely want to go back once this lockdown/pandemic misery is over. And as soon as I do get back, I promise to send another postcard…
Visit my Instagram page @Experimentsinfiction for more photos from Lasize.