I have a particularly exciting Travel Tuesday post for you today! My dear friend Rebecca (who lives in Europe) recently visited the Italian gem Lake Garda and shared the most magical trip photos and food details with me to share with all of you! How exciting is that?! I still have not traveled since 2019 so I thoroughly enjoyed this little virtual vacation and I hope you do too.
Lake Garda is in northern Italy about halfway between Milan and Venice (and very close to Verona) and has been on my dream travel list since I first saw it grace the pages of Town and Country as a teenager. The lake is quite large with several different villages around it. Rebecca largely explored the east side of Lake Garda and Isola del Garda, the neo-gothic Venetian-style villa on the island in the center of Lake Garda owned by the Borghese Cavazza family. You can book a guided tour (which includes a boat ride to the island) and even get married at Isola del Garda.
The gardens alone are insane! This is exactly the kind of thing I like to do on vacation: a leisurely boat ride followed by a meandering walk around exquisite gardens followed by pasta with a water view back on the banks of Lake Garda. You can book several fun experiences on the island, including yoga days, astronomy lessons, and cooking classes, or just a tour. Tours last about 2-2.5 hours, not including the 15-40 minute boat ride to and from the island. (Duration varies based on what port you select. Isola del Garda can pick you up at several points around Lake Garda.) For a full list of tours and experiences, visit the Isola del Garda website.
Back on the eastern side of Lake Garda, Locanda San Vigilio looks particularly dreamy with its stone arches and green canopies. This resort has been welcoming visitors to Lake Garda since the 1500s. Sign me the heck up to experience that level of historical luxury! Even if you don’t stay at the resort, the restaurant looks absolutely magical; Rebecca raved about the food! Seafood here is a must. This resort is officially going on my bucket list.
My jaw was on the floor while I was perusing the San Vigilio website. I particularly enjoyed this quote:
“There are three areas in the world: Africa, Asia, Europe; Europe is the most beautiful in the world; Italy is the most beautiful in Europe; Lombardy is the most beautiful in Italy; Garda is the most beautiful in Lombardy; San Vigilio is the most beautiful in Garda. Thus, San Vigilio is the most beautiful place in the whole world.” Agostino Brenzone, 1540
Though known for its cured meats and cheeses, the truffle pasta at Osteria Metti looks particularly enticing. This restaurant is about twenty minutes away from San Vigilio. It’s situated a bit back from the water and has lovely vineyard views with the lake just beyond.
Rebecca highly recommends the baked Parmigiano-Truffle-Tartufo for a starter at Ristorante Giardino delle Esperidi. The desserts here also look like a work of art! One look at their Instagram and you can see: this is clearly a must-visit spot for foodies.
Rebecca also had a quick bite at Divino Griglieria Ristorante Pizzeria and had a decadent looking pasta dish. Is that burrata I spy? They’re known for their pizza but the pasta and seafood offerings look incredible. This is also a stone’s throw away from Ristorante Giardino delle Esperidi.
About three miles down the east side of Lake Garda is beautiful Ristorante Classique. The views at Classique are out of this world. This looks like somewhere James Bond would eat! Located on the promenade, this restaurant occupies the nineteenth century villa once owned by Princess Caterina Strauss.
I hope you enjoyed this culinary tour of Lake Garda as much as I did! This is the first time I’ve EVER written about someone else’s trip here on The Rose Table but the photos were so lovely, I couldn’t help but share. I can’t even wait to see Lake Garda in person someday!
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