The surrounding region

A region full of attractions

There many places worldwide that offer tourists a wide variety of attractions. There are not many, however, that, in addition to their wealth of attractions, are capable of satisfying visitors with different interests and of different cultures, every day of the year.

One of the areas that enjoys this privilege is that surrounding Lake Garda, with the province of Brescia and Franciacorta to the west, Trentino (with the Adige Valley and the Dolomites) to the north, ancient Verona (the home of Romeo and Juliet, with its magnificent Arena) and Vicenza (with is splendid Palladian villas) to the east, and Mantua (the jewel of the Gonzaga heritage) to the south. From this region, which can be traversed from one end to the other in less than two hours, it's easy to reach the cities of Padua, Venice and Bolzano, as well as the South Tyrol region.

This geographical area, which is made up five provinces, offers a wealth of attractions for Culture, Art, Nature and Sports enthusiasts alike. Exploring this region, you'll encounter a unique natural landscape, pervaded by the incredible aromas and flavours rooted in the culinary traditions of the various geographical areas themselves.

The Lake Garda area alone is a veritable inland sea that offers a wide range of tourist attractions and sports activities, including sailing, wind-surfing, kite-surfing and canoeing. A passenger ferry service connects the beautiful towns along its shores, each boasting its own attractions for every type of tourism, all year round. On summer nights, easy to lose track of time at the clubs and discotheques that animate the shores of Lake Garda: from quaint lakeside piano bars, where the music mingles with the chatter of the guests until dawn, to the most elegant locales, whose lush gardens offer guests the magnificent backdrop of the lake by night.

In the western part of the region, visitors will find the province of Brescia, renowned worldwide for its famous and regularly re-enacted Mille Miglia road rally, as well as for its spectacular art exhibitions. The territory of Brescia also boasts a large number of archaeological sites, offering evidence of human habitation dating back to the Bronze Age and even the Paleolithic period.

The province of Brescia is also home to Lake Idro and Lake Ledro, two smaller lakes located in the foothills of the Alps north west of Lake Garda itself, as well as the larger Lake Iseo, which can be reached by traversing the vineyards of the Franciacorta wine region. Here, like in many other valleys, visitors will have the opportunity to visit numerous wineries and sample some of Italy's best wines. And while you're in the area, don't miss out on the chance to enjoy the traditional culinary delights found in the areas of Bassano and Asiago, like the grappa of the Alpini and the tasty cheeses produced in the Alpine foothills.

Moving into the province of Mantua, it's easy to organize trips by boat and by passenger ferry through the beautiful Natural Reserve of the Mincio Valley, or even riding excursions, thanks to the various stables catering to tourists. The city jealously preserves the splendour of the Gonzaga family, which was the patron of numerous extraordinary works, like the magnificent frescoes by Mantegna in the Ducal Palace and the spectacular Palazzo Te, which boasts suggestive and, sometimes even ironic, frescoes.

For history, culture and art enthusiasts, the Palladian villas surrounding the city of Vicenza offer a magnificent way to experience the architecture of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, open all year round. The city also is also home to another gem and majestic symbol of Palladian architecture: the Teatro Olimpico, the oldest indoor theatre in the world, whose scenic and artistic features will be sure to impress every visitor.

Leaving the majestic Teatro Olimpico, we continue our tour of the region with a visit to the Arena of Verona, which this year is commemorating the centennial of the Opera Festival, with the return of the Master Placido Domingo as the festival's honorary artistic coordinator. The master will also be directing and even performing in various productions at Palazzo della Gran Guardia, one of Verona's most prestigious and renowned venues for exhibitions, like that which will be held from February 2nd to April 1st 2013, entitled "From Botticelli to Matisse - Faces and Figures". Some other attractions include the balcony of Romeo and Juliet, the church of San Zeno and the Torricelle, all within a city that's rife with relics from its ancient Roman heritage, thus rendering Verona a necessary stop for every visitor to the area.

Heading north to continue our tour, we find ourselves entering the magical world of the Trentino region. In the summertime, the mountains become a picturesque destination for hikes and excursions, even with the help of the numerous ski lifts for those who don't want to overexert themselves. A lush natural landscape with countless trails and streams, mountain lodges, mountain bike rentals for riding back down into the valley, not to mention a rich cultural and culinary tradition. In the wintertime, on the other hand, this region becomes a skier's paradise. The ski destinations, set against the unforgettable backdrop of the Dolomite peaks rising over the snow-covered fields, are all immaculately kept and equipped with artificial snow systems, offering runs for every skill level, from novices to World Cup athletes.

Furthermore, the entire region boasts thermal bathing facilities of all kinds, for therapeutic purposes or simply for personal well-being, including the Baths of Recoaro or the centuries-old Baths of Sirmione, an ancient town situated on a peninsula, whose waters are widely known for their health benefits, or even the Baths of Colà di Lazise, ??immersed in a majestic nineteenth century garden: an oasis of physical and mental well-being.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this region has to offer. There are numerous activities for children and youths, including Gardaland, Italy's largest amusement park. The area is also home to some of Europe's largest water and nature parks, like Parco Natura Viva, which hosts various endangered species, not to mention numerous film and television studios.

Finally, for visitors wanting to extend their itineraries just slightly beyond the confines of our area, there's the amazing seaside town of Jesolo, Venice and its suggestive lagoon, the incredible architecture of Padua, boasting extraordinary frescoes by Giotto, and, not far off, even the large Euganean Spas. Moving south towards Modena, on the other hand, in addition to its Romanesque cathedral and the Ghirlandina, visitors can find one of the world's most famous places: the town of Maranello, home to Ferrari and its incredible museum.