Desenzano del Garda (Eastern Lombard: Dezensà) 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.[2] During the Third Italian War of Independence, Desenzano was bombarded by the Austrian navy.

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.

British Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May and her husband Philip holidayed in the town in 2017. [8]

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.[2]

Municipal government

Desenzano is headed by a mayor (sindaco) assisted by a legislative body, the consiglio comunale, and an executive body, the giunta comunale. Since 1994 the mayor and members of the consiglio comunale are directly elected together by resident citizens, while from 1946 to 1994 the mayor was chosen by the legislative body. The giunta comunale is chaired by the mayor, who appoints others members, called assessori. The offices of the comune are housed in a building usually called the municipio or palazzo comunale.

Since 1994 the mayor of Desenzano is directly elected by citizens, originally every four, then every five years. The current mayor is Guido Malinverno (FI), elected on 26 June 2017.

MayorTerm startTerm end Party
Massimo Rocca12 June 19947 June 1998PDS
Felice Anelli7 June 19989 June 2002FI
Fiorenzo Pienazza9 June 200210 June 2007DS
Felice Anelli10 June 200721 May 2012FI
Rosa Leso21 May 201226 June 2017PD
Guido Malinverno26 June 2017incumbentFI