La Rocca di Manerba sul Garda: all the informations

The Rocca of Manerba is a very special place where you can live the nature and the beautyness of the Garda Lake: live the panorama and hike between the trees!

Home What to see La Rocca di Manerba sul Garda: all the informations

A spur of rock overlooking the lake, able to fascinate at first glance, even from a distance. This is the site where the remains of the Castle of Manerba rise, known today as Rocca di Manerba, easy to reach and suggestive to live, with the large cross that surmounts the ruins.

Loved by naturalists for the height of this relief exposed to the winds, with a cliff overlooking the lake, and by historians also for the presence of archaeological excavations from the Mesolithic period in the Sasso area, just below the Rocca. In short, a place that attracts many visitors, all to be discovered …

The history of the Rocca in Manerba sul Garda

Life in this rocky spur and on the shores of Lake Garda was born early, given that the excavations of the settlement under the Rocca tell us about populations in the Mesolithic period, between 8000 and 5000 years ago

The outermost excavations have identified settlements of the so-called Lagozza culture (about 4000 BC), which should also have been followed by settlements by Etruscans, Cenomanian Gauls and Romans.

According to some historians, the Rocca became the last bastion of resistance of the Lombards to the Franks of Charlemagne; with his “jump” of 150 meters, he managed to resist until in 776, he capitulated.

About a century later (878) Charlemagne donated the surrounding land to the monks of the church of San Zeno in Verona – and it seems that the remains of the first tower, which have emerged from recent excavations, date back to this period. After this phase, the Rocca di Manerba became a possession of the Scaligeri of Verona, like many fortresses on the Garda, and then passed to the Visconti and the Venetian Republic in the Renaissance. The structure gradually declined and was abandoned, resisted until 1574, the year in which it was destroyed by the Serenissima itself: it had become a refuge for bandits, considered unassailable and therefore dangerous. Today we see its remains, in a suggestive natural environment and with an exceptional setting, its position that still dominates the lake today.

Wolves and legends of the Rocca di Manerba: the cross and the rocks

A myth circulates about the history of this castle, and still today many cite it as a fairy tale … it seems that many centuries ago a wolf lived on the Rocca, who fiercely defended his lair in the rock overlooking the Garda.

There were many attempts to capture it but the animal always escaped the traps, so in the end the inhabitants of Manerba put a price on its head and several young people showed up in the hope of catching it.

In particular, 3 were very involved in wolf hunting: a boy from Raffa, one from Moniga and one from Pieve Vecchia. Many of unsucess has been made by the guys, but remained the success of the hunter of the Pieve Vecchia that entered in the legend.

Moniga’s one tried a live bait, but was thrown off the cliff. Raffa’s attempted a large net, but he too fell. The boy from the Pieve, on the other hand, attracted him with fake howls and faced him by protecting himself with a shield with a large cross. According to legend, the frightened animal retreated and fell into the cliff.

According to history, the cross erected on top of the Rocca di Manerba was born from here, while the rocks emerging from the lake are symbols of the other two young men who died in the attempt to hunt.

Visit the Rocca di Manerba

You can reach the top of the fortress through a walk, where you can see all the archaeological excavations and restoration works on the ruins of the fortress. Otherwise you can reach the car park, beyond which the area becomes a pedestrian area. Reaching the Rocca does not end the visit, because descending from its tip you can reach its Naturalistic Park, breathtaking and surrounded by nature. Only one tip: the right boots, water and small snacks.

How to get to the Rocca

If you want to arrive by car from the center of Manerba, for example, it is enough to know that the parking lot which is really a few meters from the top of the Rocca is easily accessible. The road is a bit narrow so I advise you to be careful, also in summer you risk not finding a place and … back off!

Here are the remains of the medieval castle and also of other structures, all reachable via an uphill walk that crosses the perimeter walls, stairways and wooden bridges. The route is scattered with educational panels, and offers panoramic points with a spectacular view of Lake Garda – a sort of 360-degree scenography on the Benaco!

For information on visiting the Rocca, I remember that near the car park there is also a Visitor Center of the Archaeological Naturalistic Park of the Rocca di Manerba del Garda.

The Rocca museum

A museum, which also houses the Civic Archaeological Museum of Valtenesi – here you can better understand the history of the site, following explanatory panels on the finds from archaeological excavations, on medieval or ancient settlements, in particular the remains of an inhabited area of the Age del Bronzo, the era of stilts on Lake Garda, which is part of the UNESCO world heritage.

The Rocca Park

Arriving at the cross of the Rocca di Manerba the beauty begins, that is to descend from its tip until you enter the Park of the Rocca di Manerba, covered by woods, bushes, and meadows: the stretch of coast of the lakefront has been defined Archaeological Natural Park of the Rocca and of Sasso (the area below the Rocca immediately reachable in 15 minutes of descent among nature, medium-low difficulty level).

Arrivati alla croce della Rocca di Manerba si inizia la discesa verso il Parco Naturalistico! Scarpe comode, mi raccomando!

In this environment the Mediterranean scrub is very vital, and there are about 400 types of vegetation, with different species of native trees and bushes (Holly, Black Hornbeam, Downy Oak, Honeysuckle, Hellebore), and 21 species of orchids: a real garden botanist on Lake Garda.

In addition, the area also has the Manerba del Garda Lake Park: the first for the study, enhancement and protection of the lake environment and the fish fauna of Garda.

Dopo la visita al Sasso si torna sulla punta della Rocca. Il percorso è in salita e abbastanza ripido ma comunque facilmente percorribile.

A place of study and protection of biodiversity, of a very rare ecosystem in Europe and unique in Italy. The terrestrial part of the Lake Park includes the Rocca and Sasso nature reserve.

The opening hours of the Museum and the Archaeological site

For those interested also in visiting the Museum I leave you the information regarding the timetables:

Spring and Summer:

  • From April to September it is open every day except Tuesday, from 10.00 to 18.00.

Autumn and Winter:

  • From October to March it is closed on Monday and Tuesday, while it is open from Wednesday to Friday from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm – Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. Closed 25 and 26 December.

The Nature Reserve and the Lake Park are always open.

The Museum and the Archaeological Park also offer guided tours with specialized archaeological guides. For more info contact me

Ciao lettore 🙂 Sono Michele, ho 30 anni e vivo sul Lago di Garda, più precisamente a Toscolano Maderno. La passione e la bellezza di questo territorio mi hanno spinto a condividere con voi i miei migliori consigli e tutto ciò che riguarda il Lago di Garda. Se avete bisogno di informazioni ulteriori commentate l'articolo e vi risponderò in 24 ore! Buon viaggio a tutti!


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