The name of the village appears for the first time in a document of 937 as Garniano, perhaps derived from the latin staff Garenius. Documents of Tito Livio and tombstones, testify to the presence of the Etruscans, Celts, Cenomani and Romans. From 1350 to 1426 the territory of Gargnano was Visconti domain as the main town square in the Magnifica Patria, then follow the history under the rule of the Republic of Venice. Since the demise of the Riviera will be annexd to the Republic of Brescia which will follow the fate under the napoleonic domination, as the capital of the canton, and then the Hapsburg up to the Reign of Italy.
Gargnano possesses one of the most beautiful historical centers of Lake Garda. Certainly deserve a visit the Palace and the Villa Feltrinelli and Villa Bettoni. Not far from Gargnano, Toscolano Maderno, within the Valley of the Cartiere, where a time stood the ancient industrial center for the production of paper, rises the Paper Museum. Through a path divided into four zones allows to discover the long and elaborate process that a time was scrupulously followed in order to obtain the production of paper.
To discover the flavors of Gargnano, there is no better place than the Lemon Groves. Here, more than in any other place of the lake, are still running limonaie conducted in the traditional manner, some of which retain copies of old trees of the variety 'Madernina', Lemon Lunario or rare cedars of Salò. Gargnano also boasts, in addition to the refined lake fish caught each night by the family of the Dominici (the famous 'Frans') and sold the following morning in Piazza, the renowned cheeses of the coast and Briano, as well as the famous oil extra virgin olive oil, produced by variety Casaliva and Leccino and by rare varieties Gargnà. Do not underestimate the production of capers, that here spontaneously by stone walls that embellish the landscape with their flowers.
In the 13th century, on grounds where the church and cloister of San Francesco presently stand, there was a monastery whose monks began lemon cultivation. Thanks to its mild climate, Gargnano’s economy was linked to its lemon groves for centuries; these were true cathedrals of pillars built to make citrus cultivation possible at this latitude, the northernmost in the world. In 1840, next to the convent, the “Società Lago di Garda” (Lake Garda Company) became the first agricultural cooperative in Italy, formed to harvest and market this valuable product. The citrus industry reached its peak between 1850 and 1855 when Gargnano was home to half of the lemon greenhouses on the western shore. The death of 80% of the plants from the gummosis disease, competition from southern produce following the unifi cation of the Kingdom of Italy and, most especially, laboratory synthesis of citric acid, gradually led to the activity being abandoned.
Gargnano is a land rich in tasty foods that take their unique fl avours from the rugged calcareous soil and temperate micro-climate. Traditional foods include the lemons and citrons still grown in the ancient groves according to traditional methods; olives, which produce a renowned extra-virgin olive oil characterized by a delicate herbal and slightly spicy taste; capers, with the wonderful fl owers of the plant, which grows wild on the stone walls exposed to the sun; fresh fi sh from the lake, including chub, whitefish, trout, pike, perch, eel and the famous large lake carp, which is found only in this lake, at great depths. Small farms provide milk for genuine cheese made from cow’s milk and goat’s milk. The hunting tradition in the area provides abundant game, especially wild boar, which has a particular, wild taste.
The favourable Mediterranean climate allows the grapes to be grown that make wines such as the white Lugana, typical of the area south of Sirmione; Groppello, also known as Red Valtenesi, made using half Groppello grapes and the rest from Marzemino, Barbera and Sangiovese grapes, and Claret, a rosé wine made from the same grapes as the Groppello, vinifi ed as a white wine with soft pressing.
Gargnà, Casaliva, Frantoio, Leccino, Miniòl, and Pendolino are the names of the varieties of olive trees that grow in Gargnano. Always cold-pressed, shortly after harvesting, they yield a light, extra-virgin olive oil with very low acidity that is slightly bitter and spicy, with aromas ranging from artichokes, almonds, cut grass, vanilla, and flowers. A bit of trivia: Lake Garda is the northernmost place in Europe where olives are grown.
Village of Gargnano
Municipality of Gargnano
Province of Brescia
Altitude centre: 66 m s.l.m.
the Municipality is part of:
Comunità montana Parco Alto Garda Bresciano
Protected natural areas:
Brescia High Lake Garda Regional Park
Municipality of Gargnano
Via Roma 47 - Gargnano (BS)
Tel. +39 0365 798811