Desenzano del Garda is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy, Italy, on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda. It borders the communes of Castiglione delle Stiviere, Lonato, Padenghe sul Garda and Sirmione.

History

Sometime in the first century, the area around lake Garda, including what is now Desenzano del Garda, became a favourite vacation spot for the Veronese élite, Verona being one of the largest Roman cities in northeastern Italy. On the twenty-fourth of June, 1859, four divisions of Sardinian infantry fought a gruesome battle with elements of the Austrian Eighth corps, under Feldzeugmeister Ludwig von Benedek, in an engagement encompassing Madonna della Scoperta, Pozzolengo, and San Martino (as Desenzano del Garda was known). This action was part of the greater battle centered in Solferino, during the Second Italian War of Independence, and was a vital step in achieving Italian unification - unification that was gained only eleven years later.[3]

Main sights

  • The Cathedral of St Mary Magdalene
  • The House of St Angela Merici
  • The Tower of St Martin (Torre di San Martino)
  • An archaeological museum (Museo Civico Archeologico)
  • Several old-style villas (Villa Romana) and a castle

Tourism

The city is a popular holiday destination in Southern Europe. It attracts myriad tourists from the immediate area owing to its beautiful view of the Alps from the southern shore of Lake Garda, its three large beaches (Desenzanino Beach, Spiagga d'Oro, and Porto Rivoltella Beach), and its 27 major hotels. Desenzano is the heart of nightlife on the southern shore of Lake Garda, with several discos and pubs. In the summer, its main squares, Piazza Malvezzi and Piazza Matteotti, are crowded all night with young and partying people.

At the heart of the city is a series of interconnected piazze that house numerous open-air cafés, various shops, gelaterie (ice-cream parlours), and bars.

Transport

The city has a main port near the Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, from where several ferries operate. On the south-western outskirts of the city is a large railway station, the Desenzano del Garda-Sirmione railway station (Stazione Ferroviaria), which connects the city to the European railway system. Desenzano also has its own exit from the A4 motorway, the main road between Milan and Venice.

World heritage site

It is home to one or more prehistoric pile-dwelling (or stilt house) settlements, which are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps UNESCO World Heritage Site.[4]