Most people think that Lake Garda is a summer holiday destination but that couldn’t be further from the truth, Lake Garda is a facinating place to visit all year round!

Primavera, A Great Time for Walking in Lake Garda

OK so it’s a bit drizzly today, but the weather has been so amazing the whole of the winter that a little bit of rain is actually quite welcome. The lack of rain thus far hasn’t stopped the wild mountain flowers from blooming, Periwinkles, Snowdrops and Primrose have all burst into colour and it will soon be the turn of the Peony, Lilly of the Valley and numerous other varieties which unfortunately I’m not knowledgeable enough to name.

The trees and shrubs are also exploding into full blossom, pinks and whites of the fruit trees and the yellow Forsythia will soon be outshone by the cherry blossom. If you like walking holidays then now is as good a time as any to visit Lake Garda, you get to walk among the beautiful flora and witness the stunning views with a comfortable temperature.

I’m not usually here this early in the year, but I came early to ready my new house for the coming season. I love to walk and I go for a couple of hours most mornings but if walking isn’t your thing then there are still plenty more things to do in Lake Garda at this time of the year.

Even with the work I’m doing on my house, I’ve still found time to visit a Marso in Trentino Adige, and an Agriturisimo and a Cantina on the Veneto shore of the lake.

Speck Alto Adige

The Marso I visited is special because it is home to Tito, one of the finest Speck producing companies in the region. Speck, like Parma Ham, is produced from the whole leg of a pig. It is salted and smoked to produce an amazing product that is very local to the region. Infact Speck Alto Adige is protected by the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) recognition, anything similar produced outside of this region, quite simply isn’t Speck.  I visited the shop and the fattoria before enjoying a fantastic lunch infront of a traditional woodburning fire (we were 1200m up in the snow). I won’t go into too much detail now because I’m going to dedicate a whole post to my experience and hopefully I’m going to introduce Tito’s sumptuous products into the UK… this space.

Lake Garda Agriturisimi

The Agriturismo I visited was just to the east of Bardolino, about three or four km from the lake. I could have been anywhere though, right in the middle of the countryside, which is another thing I love about Lake Garda…..the diversity of experiences it offers are never ending. Cows, goats and even an ostrich greeted us on the outside, on the inside we were greeted by the very friendly owners Ca’ del Ponte, who were extemely happy to give us a guided tour before we sat down to another yummy meal. Again I wont go into too much detail here as I will dedicate a post or a page to my experience, but so far as to say that the inside of the 18th century farmhouse, which was built from local stone, like most of these old Italian farms, was very beautiful……especially the cantina. They also produced a cured ham from the leg of a pig, but they had there own special method of curing which involved soaking it in Amarone, one of Italy’s most famous wines, which also happens to be a product of the Veneto.

We were very fortunate to sample this exquiste gastro delight when we were served up a plate as a starter to our three course lunch. Italian food never seems to amaze me, so simple yet so sophisticated, food as good as you’d get in any top London restaurant, produced using an old family recipe on a farm……I love it. In fact I love it so much that I’m also going to see if I can introduce this into the UK market. I’m also going to start advertising this quaint Agriturismo on my website, as well as the fantastic restaurant they also have 12 rooms available at a very reasonable rate. So check back for more details but for now you can find out more about Ca’ del Ponte here.

Tasting the Famous Wine of Bardolino

We drove straight from the Agriturismo to the Azienda Agricola Gasperini vinyard which was just a few km away. We were in the heart of of the Veneto, which is one Italys most famous wine regions and where some of it’s better know wines are produced. With the exception of Chianti and Pinot Grigio, Bardolino is probably Italy’s best known wine in the UK and it is accredited with the DOCG (controlled designation of origin guaranteed) lable, the highest accreditation possible. This means that this wine is only produced in this very localised area right next to Lake Garda, yet another reason to visit this amazing place. Other wines that you will probably know from this area are Soave and Valpolicella which are both accredited with the DOC (controlled designation of origin)status. If you are really into your wines you will probably have come across Amarone della Valpolicella, an Italian wine which is among the best in the world.

The Gasperini brothers, like all wine producers in this region, were very keen to show off their wine and very proud of their produce. It really doesn’t matter what time in the year you visit, the cantina doors will always be open. We were very lucky to be able to taste a number of wines including Bardolino, Valpolicella, Pinot Grigio, Merlot and a very nice Rose called Fojari, which was quite unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. Needless to say it is my intention to introduce the amazing products of Valerio and Domenico Gasperini into the UK market. But that may take a while so in the meantime if you’re in Lake Garda you should certaimly pay them a visit.

Lake Garda Towns

While we were on that side of the Lake we thought it would be a great opportunity to visit some of the Lake Garda towns that we usually only get to when we hire a boat in the summer. Bardolino and Lazise are small enough to get around in an hour or so, that’s if you don’t get drawn into too many of the interesting little artisan shops, or sit too long taking a coffee or aperitivo in one of the numerous cafe bars. These are both Lake Garda towns that we know very well and you will be able to find out more about them in my Lake Garda Town page that I’m working on now. We also stopped at Peschiera, which is a town that we aren’t so familiar with but which is becoming extremely popular, probably due to the growing number of family campsites in the area, some with beaches right on the lake. Don’t forget to check back to the site soon and find out more about all of the fascinating towns that sit on the shore of this a beautiful lake; beautiful no matter what time of the year you visit.

If you’re reading this you’re probably coming or thinking of coming to Lake Garda. If you haven’t already booked your accomodation why not see what’s on offer in Bardolino, Lazise or Peschiera.