32. The Lago di Garda.
Steamboat. W. Bank, between Desenzano and Riva: dep. from
Desenzano daily at 4 p.m., arr. at Riva at 8 p.m.; dep. from Riva at
6. 15 a.m. (Tues. 5. 15 a.m.), arr. at Desenzano at 10. 30 a.m. (Tues. 9. 30
a.m.; fares 4fr. 35, 2fr. 40 c). Stations Said, Maderno, Gargnano, Tignale,
Tremosine, Limone, Riva. — E. Bank, between Riva and Peschiera, every
day except Tuesday: dep. from Riva at 5 a.m., arr. at Peschiera at 9 a.m.;
dep. from Peschiera at 3.40 p.m., arr. at Riva at 7.40 p.m. (fares 4 fr. 50,
2 fr. 50 c). Stations Torbole, Malcesine, Assenza, Castelletto, Torri, Garda,
Bardolino, Lazise, Peschiera. (On Tuesday the steamboat of the E. bank,
starting from Riva at 5 a.m., plies from Lazise to Desenzano instead of
to Peschiera, and returns by the same route, leaving Desenzano at 3 p.m.).
— Restaurant (indifferent) on board the steamers; payment to be made in
The Lago di Garda (226 ft.), the Lacus Benacus of the Romans,
the largest of the N. Italian lakes, is 37 M. in length , and ly^-
10 M. broad; area 189 sq. M., depth in many places upwards of
1000 ft. The whole lake belongs to Italy, except the N. extremity
with Riva, which is Austrian.
The lake is rarely perfectly calm, and in stormy weather is almost as
rough as the sea, a circumstance recorded by Virgil (Georg. ii. 160). The
blue water, like that of all the Alpine lakes, is remarkably clear. The
carpione, or salmon-trout, which attains a weight of 25 lbs., the trutta, or
trout, 1-172 lb., the lagone, and the sardene are excellent fish.
The banks, although inferior in attraction to those of the Lake of
Como, present a great variety of beautiful landscapes, enhanced by the
imposing expanse of the water. The shores of the S. half are flat and well
cultivated, but they become bolder between Capo S. Vigilio and a point
to the N. of Said, where the lake contracts. The vegetation is luxuriant,
especially on the more sheltered W. bank. Even the sensitive lemon
arrives at maturity here, but the trees require to be carefully covered in
winter. This is accomplished with the aid of numerous white pillars of
brick, 8-20 ft. in height, erected at regular intervals, and united by trans¬
verse beams at the top. The fruit is more bitter and aromatic than that
of Sicily, suffers less from carriage, and keeps longer. Price in plentiful
seasons 3-4 fr. per hundred, but frequently as high as 10 fr.
Desenzano (Mayer's Hotel, prettily situated and well spoken of;
Posta Vecchia; *Due Colombe, moderate), a small town with 4300
inhab., at the S.W. angle of the lake, is a railway-station (p. 185).
Omn. from the steamboat to the train 50 c, luggage 25 c.
To the E., not quite half-way to Peschiera (p. 185), is the
narrow promontory of Sermione, projecting 3 M. into the lake,
which here attains its greatest breadth.
A pleasant excursion may be made thither by boat or by carriage
(6 M. from Desenzano), but the road is not recommended to walkers.
The fishing-village (poor locanda) adjoins the handsome ruin of a castle
of the Scaligers (p. 200). "We then cross the olive-clad height, past the
little church of S. Pietro, to (1 M.) the extremity of the peninsula,
where we obtain a charming view. On the hill are remains of baths,
and on the promontory are relics of a building extending out into the
lake, which are said to have belonged to the country house of Catullus,
who wrote his poems here ('Sirmio peninsularum insularumque ocellus1).
The Steamboat steers near the W. bank, but does not touch at
the small villages of Moniga and Manerba. Opposite the promon¬
tory of S. Vigilio (p. 189) it next passes the small Isola diS. Biagio
and the beautiful crescent-shaped Isola di Garda f or dei Frati,