The old town
A little treasure trove
The ancient walls
Walking around Bardolino means to enter a world in which past and present meet each other. Bardolino means not only beautiful landscapes, good wine and entertainment, but also discovering an important historic and artistic heritage.
While walking around the streets you will enjoy the remains of the medieval walls dating back to the twelfth century if not even before.
We know from reliable sources that the first defensive structures might date back to the ninth century, when king Berengario allowed the inhabitants to build fortresses to protect the villages of Lake Garda.
At that time Bardolino featured square city walls open towards the lake, with two doors and four towers, one for each side.
The city walls maintained their structure up to the eighteenth century, except for some widening during the Scaliger Era (including the turret); heedless of the ancient fortresses, private citizens started introducing new buildings.
In the nineteenth century further destructions only spared a few walls, that is the ones that currently exist. The port holds the tower that is placed against a seventeenth century building (the current Hotel Catullo); it is sloped due to sinking.
The two doors are visible too, one to the north and one to the south: Porta San Giovanni towards Garda and Porta Verona towards Verona.
Still in the heart of the village, there is the old and recently restored San Severo church, together with other historic churches that are worth visiting.
In the very centre of the village, Piazza Matteotti holds the magnificent and recent S.S Nicolò e Severo church overlooking the whole square.
The old town is made of tiny streets that are perpendicular to the coast; the houses, built one behind the other, offer a jump back into the past, when Bardolino was a village of fishermen.
Nowadays the alleys and their balconies in flower offer enchanting views while tiny shops and cafés create a happy holiday feeling.
Moving to the lakefront, visitors can enjoy the tower mentioned above and an interesting stone altar called “Preonda”.
It is a rough stone plank of unknown origins which might date back to the thirteenth century.
The name probably means “pietra dell’onda” (wave stone) as it was originally located on the beach, where it was in close contact with the waves.
Nowadays a kind of symbol for the inhabitants of the village, the Preonda has been placed in several different locations before reaching the current one.
In the past fishermen used it as a fish stall; it was also a meeting point used to discuss the latest news or to talk about politics but also a date place for couples.
According to the tradition going around the Preonda brings good luck and it means you will come back soon!
The whole promenade from Lido Mirabello (towards Cisano) to Lido Cornicello (towards Garda) is decorated with 72 tulip beds; both residents and visitors have caught it in thousands of pictures over the years.
The work is the outcome of a partnership with Parco Giardino Sigurtà. Thanks to the care the district gave to the greenery and its maintenance, in 2008 Bardolino was awarded with the national prize called “Comuni Fioriti” (cities in flower) rewarding the commitment of Italian local managements to embellish the city centres.
The same care is given to order and cleanliness; in 2011 Bardolino indeed gained a further recognition called “Borgo più felice d’Italia” (happiest Italian village).
Numerous villas look out onto the lake, such as Villa delle Rose with its gothic style and its enchanting garden or Villa Bottagisio Carrara with its wide park open to the public.
Today the Bardolino lakefront celebrates with numerous festivals, such as the Festa dell’Uva e del Vino and the enchanting Christmas markets.