Among the natural beauties of Garda, we know that the many villages on the lake often emerge, always rich in suggestions for those who love history and old-time atmospheres.
One of these villages is located in the Malcesine district, on the Venetian coast, and is called Cassone. Let’s find out what to see and how much a visit to its lakeside can be worth!
The medieval village on the Riviera degli Ulivi
Cassone di Malcesine is located on the Venetian side of Lake Garda, right in correspondence with a territory defined by the many olive, citrus, and palm tree cultivations, with the mountains behind and the lake in front, with water that is always clear and blue at these latitudes.
An area where olive oil has been cultivated for centuries and Cassone was founded in the Middle Ages, given that the first document that mentions it dates back to 1022.
The ancient tower of Cassone is located right in front of the lake, and at the port called Toresela, where several boats are usually moored, in an almost enchanted setting. The portico, in fact, is well preserved and, in addition to a windmill, also houses a small Lake and Fishing Museum. Here, the tools of ancient fishing are exhibited, as well as other everyday work instruments, with photos of sailing boats of the past, and even… some fish species!
There are trout, carp, and eels that recall the destination of this building in the past, for fish farming. In the summer, the harbor is also a reference for the Regata delle bisse, typical Venetian boats that race in August.
Among the other things to see in Cassone di Malcesine, there is an eighteenth-century church dedicated to San Benigno and Caro, and it is located in the part of the town. It probably dates back to the end of the fifteenth century, built with one nave, with a chapel dedicated to the Madonna del Rosario, and a square bell tower added in the eighteenth century. Now it is no longer a parish, as it used to be, but an Oratory for various confraternities.
The shortest river in Italy is located between Cassone and Garda!
Perhaps the greatest peculiarity of this area is the Aril river. It is a real river, not a stream, but its length is really that of a small stream – in fact, its inhabitants call it Ri. Why? Because Aril is the shortest river in Italy, only 175 meters – it competes with other tiny rivers in the world!
It is one of the rivers that flows into Lake Garda and crosses Cassone after being born in a spring in the heart of the village. It flows forming a small basin of water. In this pond, the trout come to lay their eggs, swimming upstream – fortunately, it is now a protected fishing reserve.
From the spring basin, it continues to descend towards Garda and also creates some mandatory passages with three small bridges and a waterfall. Thanks to this “power,” between the end of the nineteenth century and 1913, this river powered a power station and two mills!
This landscape is certainly worth seeing in winter, during the Christmas period, when a scenic floating nativity scene is created on the river.
Visiting Cassone di Malcesine
Today the village in the port area is still intact, with its Venetian-style houses, with a few hundred inhabitants, while in the more modern branches of Cassone there are several bars and shops. It is worth booking in restaurants and pizzerias for an evening immersed in an enchanted place, or during the day, it can be a perfect place for nearby beaches.
Here, water sports such as sailing or windsurfing are often practiced, and there are several schools for scuba diving. The lakeside is perfect for walks or bike rides and is a starting point for excursions towards the mountainous part.
Further on towards Malcesine, you can reach the pebble beach called Val di Sogno, sheltered in a cove of Garda. It is crossed by the cycle path and the lakeside promenade, thus becoming a beautiful stop between Cassone and Malcesine.
In front of the beach, there is also an islet, the Island of Dreams, which emerges from the waters of the lake and can also be reached on foot during periods when the level of Garda is low.
A curiosity about Cassone di Malcesine is that the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt also stayed here, who painted the painting La Chiesa a Cassone (1913) in that period. It is still visible today, but in the collections of the National Gallery in Rome – in Cassone, you can admire the original landscape that inspired him!