Peschiera del Garda is one of the symbolic cities of the entire Garda Lake, located in the south and historically called the “Pentagon.” In 2017, it was recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage cities due to its historical importance dictated by the grandeur and importance of its fortress. Peschiera is also a border between the Verona and Brescia shores, and there is a train station that makes it attractive for day trips (Verona is only 25km away) or as a starting point for circumnavigating the lake by ferry.
For those wondering what to see in Peschiera del Garda, let’s discover it together!
The History of Peschiera
As already mentioned, Peschiera is located in an extremely strategic position, and thanks to this, it has always been at the center of attention since ancient times. The first settlements in the area date back to the Bronze Age, then becoming a Roman fortress, a Scaligeri’s fortress, an important pole for the Serenissima of Venice, and then, from 1815, to the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom, becoming one of the fortresses that made up the Quadrilateral, the defensive system designed by the Austrians which also included Mantua, Legnago, and Verona.
A real fortress, therefore, with walls surrounding the town, making it impregnable. After being in the hands of the Austrians, Peschiera passed to Italy starting from 1866 with the Treaty of Prague, maintaining the beauty that still reflects in the already mentioned high fortified walls built and raised during its history.
What to see in Peschiera del Garda? One cannot but start from what made it a UNESCO World Heritage site: its fortress. The historic center is located right inside it, which can be accessed through Porta Verona, which is, in fact, the ancient door of the fort city. As you can see on this door, there is the large emblem of the Lion of the Serenissima with a Latin inscription that reads:
“Disce haec moneat praecelsa leonis imago ne stimvles cev leo in hoste vigent”
All clear, right? The literal translation is “May this high image of the lion dissuade you from provoking the Venetians, since they have the strength of the lion against the enemy.”
The second entrance, located southwest of the Verona entrance, is represented by Porta Brescia (dated 1770), from which you will immediately access the fortress to explore its alleys and the entire medieval village.
Proceeding towards the center of Peschiera and fully exploring the fortress, you can then observe different monuments and historic buildings full of history, as well as explore its bridges. Below is the list of what is absolutely not to be missed.
Military Hospital (Caserma XX Maggio)
Complex not visitable (except from the outside), built by the Habsburgs to provide Peschiera with a bomb-proof hospital to treat soldiers. The work for its finalization took 7 years, after which Peschiera became “Italian” again, converting the hospital into what at the time was a military prison.
A name that already tells a lot about this particular building: it was used by the Habsburgs as a “warehouse” for the cannonballs used in the past. A real ammunition depot ready for use.
La Palleria is easily recognizable also thanks to the particular marble courtyard.
Piazza Ferdinando di Savoia
Ex Piazza delle Armi, is one of the cornerstones of Peschiera del Garda where you can also visit the church built around the year 1000.
Ponte dei Voltoni
This bridge is one of the most recognized symbols of Peschiera del Garda. Built in 1556 with five arches, it is passable on foot or by boat, passing right under one of the already mentioned five arches.
This small park represents a green lung within the islet of Peschiera. Historically, this strip of land was dedicated to the world of agriculture; here, in fact, the vegetables necessary for subsistence were grown. Over time, it has been requalified and destined precisely for the function of a city park.
Palazzo del Comandante
Inside the ex-Military Quarter is perhaps the most important building, historically speaking, of this little town on Lake Garda: Historic Building or Palazzo del Comandante. Built-in 1853 by the Austrians to make housing for military officers and the commander: officers resided on the first floor, while the entire second floor was designed for the commander. As anticipated, it is a real piece of Italian history because right inside one of its rooms (visitable as it is a museum), King Vittorio Emanuele III held the “Interallied Conference” that led to the Italian resistance on the Piave and the consequent victory of the First World War. Right here, in fact, there is the museum dedicated to the First World War.
The Bastione Querini was one of the two sides of the entrance to the fortress passing through the lake, a real access road made up of it and the twin bastion, demolished in 1906 and therefore not visible in our times. From the top of the Bastione Querini, it is possible to observe the port of Peschiera as well as the lake itself.
Piazza San Marco
Characteristic central square of Peschiera where you can observe different historical symbols of the village such as the two obelisks from 1500, the Palazzo del Provveditore, and the arch with the clock.