You can visit several castles and fortresses at the shores of Lake Garda. Often, these buildings shape the landscape in which they are located and become veritable landmarks, as is the case in Sirmione, Lazise, Malcesine and Torri del Benaco.
The only entrance to Sirmione's old town is through the Scaliger castle. It was commissioned by Mastino della Scala, then Lord of Verona, in order to protect the town from attacks.
The arcade, in which memorial stones with inscriptions from Roman age and medieval times are exhibited, as well as the mural gangway, are open to visitors.
The wooden stairs which lead to the tower spire have been restored and allow for a splendid view of Lake Garda.
Sirmione Castle is one of the best preserved castles in Italy and also one of the rare moated castles.
The medieval Scaliger castle Malcesine was probably erected on the ruins of a Lombard castle. Over the centuries, the castle has been inhabited by the Visconti, the French and the Austrians - as well as the noble Scala family.
Inside the castle, there is a museum dedicated to Goethe. The writer made the castle famous when writing about it in detail in his travel essay "Italian Journey".
The castle also hosts a museum of natural history and one of fishing.
The castle was built in the 9th century, at a time when the fishing village had to protect itself from the warlike Huns. The castle had seen many reconstructions and changes in overlordship of castles over the centuries, until it became a true fortress of the Western Verona. Only a few parts of the original castle still stand today.
In 1796, it was nearly completely destroyed by the French, who used the castle to produce salpetre and gun powder. Later on, the Austrians sold the castle to a private citizen, who went on to use it as a stone quarry and to build new houses.
Thanks to the intervention of Lord Buri who bought the castle and renovated it, we can visit it in its current form.
Torri del Benaco Castle
The first archaeological evidence of the fortification can be dated back to the year 15 B.C., although castle Torri enjoyed its heyday under the rule of the Scala family.
In the following centuries, the building deteriorated with the castle eventually being demolished in the 18th century in favour of a lemon house. This lemon house can be visited to this day and is open to the public. The defence tower can also be visited, the so-called death room; which gained notoriety because of the spikes prisoners fell onto through the trap door.