The town of Garda became important - and probably gave its name to the lake - because of the important strategic position it occupied on the southeastern shores.
Long before that however the people of the late Bronze Age had left evidence of their existence in this area and graves and etchings have been discovered in the area of the town and surrounding hillsides.
The "Rocca" at the southern edge of the town of Garda is a rock outcrop just under 250m in height. It was originally a fortress dating from the fifth century and stories from those days, such as that of the flight of Queen Adelaide to marry King Otto, feature in German traditions. The fortress was actually destroyed by the Venetians when they took control of Lake Garda. These days it is possible to walk up the Rocca - a path leading up through the trees leaves the edge of the town either to the Rocca or the statue of Madonna del Pino.
The Ostrogoths were the first to build a fortification on the hill to the south of Garda, the "Rocca", and were followed by other invaders until the fortress and town below came under Venetian control and became the headquarters of the administration on the lake. Influences of the Venetians can still be seen in parts of the old town.
The Palazzo dei Capitano is a Gothic palace on the lake front and the square in front of the building was once the harbour before being filled in. Nowadays it is one of the busy squares full of tables for eating, drinking and people-watching.
Punta San Vigilio
Punta San Vigilio is the strip of land on the eatern shore which separates the narrower northern and central part of Lake Garda from the flatter bay area to the south. A cluster of buildings lies at the end of an avenue of cypresses. The Villa Guarienti was built in the 16th century - today it is in private hands - and has regularly hosted heads of state. Nearby is a hotel and restaurant, while on the northern side is a