Museums in Lake Garda
The best museums in Lake Garda, dedicated to all kind of subjects from history to culture and art to culinary traditions!
Lake Garda offers various options for travellers who would like to get insights into the historical and artistic heritage, the wine gastronomy, and all kind of traditions of the region. Following you will find our suggestions for a museum visit.
MAG Museo Alto Garda
MAG stands for Museo Alto Garda and comprises two very important museum buildings of the Lake Garda area: the museum in the ancient castle Rocca of Riva del Garda and the Apponale Tower, just a short walk from the Museum across the town centre. The tower has a height of 34 metres, with foundations that go down 3 to 4 metres. It still features the bell of the local council, cast in 1532 to substitute the previous one, which had been unusable for some time. In the tower was also used as a prison and, during the First World War, as a lookout tower. On its top there is the figure of an angel, which has become the symbol of Riva.
The museum houses three permanent exhibitions alongside temporary exhibitions. The Pinacoteca art gallery displays regional works of the fine arts from the Late Middle Ages to the 19th century, while the archaeology section lets visitors explore the area’s findings that range from the Middle Palaeolithic to the Late Middle Ages. The third permanent exhibition depicts historical events around Riva del Garda and Sarca, the main river flowing into Lake Garda, in chronological order - from Prehistory to the Second World War.
The museum and the tower are open from 19 March, from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Car parks are close by. Tickets for the museum cost €5, for the tower €2. Further information is available on the MAG website.
Olive Oil Museum
The Olive Oil Museum is situated inside the Cisano oil factory (Oleificio Cisano), in Bardolino's locality of Cisano, on Lake Garda. Inaugurated at the end of the 80s, the museum registers 50,000 visitors per year. It takes them on an exploration of oleiculture in the Mediterranean from antiquity to this day and age, and shows the machines for olive harvest and olive oil production from the 18th century. A perfectly functioning oil mill with a water wheel and an oak wood lever press are also on display.
The museum includes a small shop where visitors can buy products from the Cisano oil factory and Lake Garda: olive oil, vinegar, grappa and spirits, wine and cosmetics made with natural ingredients.
Admission is free for individuals and families. The museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and from 3 pm to 6.30 pm. On Sundays and bank holidays from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. Disabled can access about half of the exhibition spaces. Guided tours for groups are available for a fee as well as video guides in various languages (Italian, German, English, French and Dutch). You can find further information on the museum website.
The museum is easy to find as it is located directly at the Gardesana street. It boasts a small private car park.
The Wine Museum is also in Bardolino. It is located inside the Cantina Fratelli Zeni Winery in the Costabella district. Subdivided into various sections, each one focuses on another aspect of the production chain - from wine growing to final bottling. The first area concentrates on the processes of wine growing and -producing and has old and new wine processing machines on display. It also exhibits different animal drawn ploughs, as well as pumps and bellows with sulphur- and copper-based pesticides traditionally used for pest control. In the second area, you can find grape processing equipment. The next section is dedicated to wine production and houses an ancient wine press, a few wine pumps and different corking machines. There are also areas dedicated to cooper’s tools, an exhibition of old winemaking machines and, finally, a section on bottling, the last phase of the production process. This part is the most exciting one, as it is situated in the area where the winery’s wine is actually bottled.
The wine museum, which boasts a car park, can also be visited by groups. There are tailored offers on request and at a charge, among them wine tours and tastings. For further information, visit the website of the wine museum.
Museum in the Castle of Torri del Benaco
The Scaliger castle on the lakeside of Torri del Benaco houses a museum, which hosts finds and objects testifying to the artisan and industrial past of the town. At the entrance you can find a well with a well curb of yellow marble. From here, visitors have access to a flat in the defence tower, nowadays the museum's location.
The museum consists of various museum halls, each dedicated to one theme. In the hall of the caulkers - artisans responsible for shipbuilding and maintenance - visitors can see their tools, among them three planes, various gimlets, and saws as well as three axes, THE cutting tool of the caulkers. Another hall is dedicated to olive oil, which - together with wine - is the regional product par excellence; inside there are machines for olive oil extraction and production, while outside you can find an olive oil mill from the last century.
The hall dedicated to fishing is subdivided in various sections. It displays fishing equipment, from various nets whose materials, loops and types of use vary according to the fish caught, to tools for depth sounding. Another hall focuses on the fishing guild "Antichi Originari" founded in the Middle Ages. Here, visitors can - among other objects - explore a series of documents and photos that tell their story. The next hall looks back on the history of Torri del Benaco and has a model of the town on display. The last section of the exhibition, located in the attic, houses local cave paintings. It is also possible to visit the Limonaia lemon house, testifying to the cultivation of citrus fruits in one of the northernmost regions of the Mediterranean.
The museum of the Scaliger Castle in Torri is open from April to October with varying opening hours: from April to mid-June and from mid-September to the end of October from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm to 6 pm and from mid-June to mid-September from 9:30 am to 1 pm and from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Closed on Mondays.
For further information, have a look at the website of the museum.
Behind the castle, there is a big car park, which is subject to a fee.
The paper museum is located inside the centre of excellence of the Paper Mill Valley Foundation (Fondazione Valle delle Cartiere). Inaugurated in June 2007, it is one of the most important sites in Northern Italy when it comes to industrial archaeology.
The first evidence of paper mills or paper manufacturers in the Toscolano-Maderno area dates back to the 14th century. Since then, the area, also referred to as "Paper Mill Valley", has been dedicated entirely to paper production. Legend has it that the construction of the first paper mill was due to a shipwrecked boat whose sail was washed overboard into one of Toscolano’s bays. There it got soaked in water and was then dried and compressed by the sun in a way that made it suitable to write on. At the instigation of the city of Toscolano-Maderno, the paper museum was set up in the last paper mill to cease production. It is a study centre of paper and print production, with sections subdivided according to themes and procedures, as well as workshops and conference rooms.
The museum is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm from 1st April 2022 to 16th October 2022. From 22th October to 1st November it is open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, from 10 am to 6 pm. On request, groups can visit the museum all the year round.
The Paper Mill Valley, Valle delle Cartiere, can be reached by car. Visitors can park along the street. Further information regarding visits and entrance ticket fees can be found on the museum website.
Museum of Lake Garda
The Museum of Lake Garda (Museo del Lago di Garda) is located in Garda, more precisely in the Palazzetto delle Esposizioni.
It assembles finds and materials that testify to the customs and traditions of the Lake Garda area. From an original collection of objects that tell the stories of historical events, the collection has expanded and was finally turned into a museum in 2011. After a short closure time, it reopened to the public on 1 February 2015. The museum is situated on two floors, the first of which is dedicated to land, the second to water. On the lower floor, objects and tools from the agricultural sector, crafts, livestock farming, extraction and folklore are on display; on the upper flow, fishing tools such as nets, harpoons and hooks.
The museum is open from Friday to Sunday from 3 pm to 6 pm, On Saturdays it can also be visited in the mornings from 10 am to 12:30 pm. The Museum of Lake Garda can be easily reached on foot; there is a car park not too far away.
For further information consult the website of the municipality of Garda.
The Museum of Fishing and Lake Traditions
The Museum of Fishing and Lake Traditions is to be found in the headquarters of the Association Amici del Gondolin in Peschiera del Garda, in the Artillery Barrack of Porta Verona in the beautiful Radetzky Room, a former fireworks laboratory.
The permanent exhibition celebrates the art of fishing and collects and classifies a large quantity of material related to commercial and recreational fishing, caulking activity, hunting on the lake and much more. It is important not to forget the old customs and the heritage of a time when fishing used to be a source of life and a primary means of sustenance.
Photos of anglers, a collection of ancient postcards, captions of the different kinds of fishes and of geological qualities take the visitor on a fascinating journey through time. The exhibition continues with a collection of old and rare boats. Admission to the museum is free and it is possible to get a free audio-guide, to receive more information on the history and the use of the objects that are exposed in the museum.
Opening hours: Saturday, Sunday and holidays: from 10 am to 12.30 pm and from 3 pm to 6.30 pm.
In the south-east of Lake Garda, in Villafranca di Verona, you can find the Nicolis Museum of Italian cars, technology and international mechanics. It is not a traditional museum but a museum-company which, besides promoting knowledge, experimentation and innovation, is also founded on goals like growth and development. Here, through 8 main collections of vintage cars, bicycles, motorbikes, cameras, musical instruments, typewriters, small airplanes, Formula 1 steering wheels and other original items, you will embark on a journey that tells the story of transportation’s evolution and a lot more. Various exhibitions, activities and events are frequently organized at the Nicolis Museum, which also features a congress centre, a historical archive, an educational section, a vintage store and a bookshop dedicated to the automotive world.
The museum is easily accessible to everyone and open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. The other days are on request. The full price of the ticket is €14, while the reduced price is €12. More reductions are available for children, schools and groups. For further information visit the website of Museo Nicolis.
Children's Museum Verona
The Children's Museum is located in the industrial area of Verona, a new museum dedicated to children and the discovery of science in a playful manner. It is spread over two floors and includes various rooms that encourage children to learn, discover, imagine and play.
The museum offers a wide range of stimulating activities for all ages. It features a workshop area for manual and creative activities, educational games, a ball pool, a light gallery, and many other colourful and fun rooms.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday for two shifts of visitor, namely from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm and from 5.15 pm to 7 pm. On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 9.15 am to 7 pm for a total of four shifts. The entrance fee is 8 € for adults, 5 € for children from 1 to 3 years, 9 € for children from 3 years of age, free of charge up to one year. Discounts are available for schools and groups. For more information visit the official website of the Children's Museum Verona.