Malcesine Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by mikelisaanna
  • Note the boats just beneath the cliff
    Note the boats just beneath the cliff
    by iandsmith
  • Scaligero Castle
    Scaligero Castle
    by vichatherly

Most Recent Things to Do in Malcesine

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    The Public Beach

    by mikelisaanna Updated Feb 17, 2012

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    Malcesine's public beach lies just north of the town's signature castle. It is a pebble beach and is fairly small, but still provides what you need for a cool dip at the end of a long day of sightseeing. If you don't have beach chairs, there are some benches on the walkway right behind the beach.

    About 10 meters offshore is a platform from which kids can jump into the water. Our daugter Anna had a lot of fun jumping off the platform and swimming around in the water next to it.

    A highlight of our trips to the Malcesine beach was the day that a female swan and 6 of her cygnets (young swans) decided to visit the beach. They were an instant attraction, but people did a good job of keeping their distance and didn't scare them away.

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    The Scaligero Castle

    by mikelisaanna Updated Jan 21, 2012

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    The Scaligero Castle looms over the historic center of Malcesine. It sits on a hill that juts up out of Malcesine, with the lakefront side of the castle sitting atop cliffs that fall straight down to the water. The castle, which was built in the 1200s, is fairly plain, but has some interesting exhibits housed in rooms within it. One room has an exhibit about Goethe and the time that he lived in Malcesine. Another part of the castle has a small natural history exhibit, which had some good information about Lake Garda. From the castle, you can get some good views of the town and the lake.

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    Castello Scaligero - The Museums

    by suvanki Updated Jul 6, 2010

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    Your admission price includes entrance to the museums located in the castle grounds.

    With my ticket I was given a plan of the castle and booklets on 2 of the temporary exhibitions, one of which was the life size concrete African icons by Sunday Jack Akpan. I'd not heard of this sculptor before, but was quite impressed by his work. The exhibition here finished in October 2007.

    The Museo Castello Scaligero is permanently housed in the Venetian Palace and has exhibits of Natural History from the Lake Garda and Mont Baldo region.

    The museum is surprisingly larger than I'd anticipated. Many of the articles are identified in Italian, English and German. It was also more interesting than I'd expected!

    I particularly enjoyed the ethnological section, with its objects that were used in day to day life for the people living and working in the mountain and lakeside villages.

    Venetian Palace and Museum Venetian Palace and Museum entrance below Exhibit in Museo Castello Scaligero View of Venetian Palace and Lake
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    Catabatic favours

    by iandsmith Written Dec 5, 2009

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    A catabatic wind is one that comes from frozen parts on high and cascades down through channels to the lower areas. Such a wind occurs frequently here, tumbling down the valley and across the head of the lake at Riva.
    Thus, as far as sailing is concerned, this is a favoured lake and it is rare when there aren't sailing boats afloat somewhere.
    While we were there a regatta was taking place and I tried every day to get a decent shot but it was on the last day when I snapped this one. I thought it highlighted how wonderful the scenery was and how special a place this is to sail.

    Note the boats just beneath the cliff Lovely restored yacht
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    Chiesa San Stefano

    by iandsmith Written Dec 5, 2009

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    This is the Church of Saint Stephen, patron Saint of Malcesine, and it was erected on the site of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Isis.
    The church is mentioned in documents dating back to the 9th Century
    The facade you see today was reconstructed in the 18th Century (1729-1739) in a neoclassical -Baroque style.
    Impressive if you see it against its mountainous backdrop to the east, it has also got quite a bit to see in its cool and airy interior.
    It features the following:
    The altars of St Benigno and St Carlo (1769)
    Altar of Seven Joys - Sette Allegrezze- (1771)
    A 15th Century cibarium
    Paintings by Felice Boscarotti, Giuseppe Antonio Valentino and Girolamo dai Libris noted 'La Deposizione'
    Outside are some impressive stone figures, displayed in niches and pillars

    One of the altars
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    Around Malcesine

    by iandsmith Updated Dec 5, 2009

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    Other sights include the pieve of St. Stephen (8th century), the church of Santa Maria di Navene (11th century)
    Behind Malcesine rises the 1750 m-high Monte Baldo. Its summit is reachable through funivia, or cable car.
    Malcesine is a hive of innocent hedonism in summer, packed with pottering holidaymakers gorging on ice cream and sunseekers draped along the lake shore. It's not all laziness, however, as the town's ferry connections to other lakeside resorts make it a good base for sightseeing and the cable-car running up to Monte Baldo is a magnet for cyclists, walkers and paragliders.
    Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, and Malcesine lies towards the narrow and mountainous northern end, often compared to a fiord. The town is situated at the edge of the Veneto region, in the province of Verona. 'Malcesine' is a good exercise in Italian pronunciation: the name is pronounced approximately MalCHESinay.
    There are four principal tourist activities for visitors to Malcesine: wander the town's lanes; catch the boat to Riva, Limone or other lake resorts; take the cable-car up to the heights of Monte Baldo; eat ice creams. The town is a lovely place to stroll for an hour or so, with picturesque medieval lanes winding up the slope from the lake. There are pretty little squares, cafes and restaurants, gelaterie and shops selling handbags, shoes, limoncello and clothes. The main harbour is typical of Lake Garda: small, attractive, filled with boats and lined with cafes. A short distance away is the old port, the Porto Vecchio, a quieter spot with good lake views, curious sculptures and more restaurants.

    The small marina inside the town Enchanting back streets Narrow and pleasant
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    Scaligeri - part two

    by iandsmith Written Dec 5, 2009

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    Sturdy yet dreamlike, with its 31 metre high pentagonal tower it dominates the north part of Malcesine and the surrounding area. Its background is served by the chromatic blue of the lake and green of the Monte Baldo mountains.
    The original building date is not documented and though it is believed to have taken place during the reign of the Longobards it has had many modifications, restorations and additions to the original edifice made over the centuries. The castle was destroyed by enemy armies and rebuilt with emphasis on the defensive position of the castle for the town. The name Scaligero has its roots in the name of the noble family Della Scala from Verona, who dominated the area in 1280 and whose name is also on the famous castle at Sirmione.
    The castle then fell into the Lands of the Venetian Republic who improved the defensive system on the lake front.
    Then came the French followed by the Austrians in 1780 who made important modifications to the entire structure, culminating in the castle we see before us today.
    Having strolled through the picturesque cobble stoned alleyways of the town you reach the entrance to the castle having passed through the gateway into a courtyard you see on your left the “Casermetta”. At one time the guardhouse this building is now home to the Natural History of Garda and Monte Baldo museum.
    Taking the stairway to the right you reach the “Polveriera” room, built by the Austrians and now called the “Sala Goethe”. Inside is a brief resume of the pictures and drawings that this great poet-artist dedicated to Lake Garda and Malcesine during his Italian journey.
    Crisscrossing the castle courtyard you will find a well and many walkways looking our from the castle walls. The next room is the “Residenza Scaligera” (the scaligera residence) which houses and interesting exhibition dedicated to the history of fishing on the lake. Under the paving two rooms have been discovered on the floor below, though their use remains unknown.
    Continuing up the stairs your reach the “Sala Congressi”, (Congress hall) which houses art exhibitions and the tower. Stair to the top of the tower pass through platforms which allow time to pause and rest before continuing the climb. The original tower was much longer than now. The fifth floor has six windows carved into the thick stone walls, which give a taste of the fantastic views from the top of the tower. Here you will also see a large bell manufactured in 1442 and positioned in 1909 by the town hall as a time piece striking the hour for the towns people.

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    Scaligeri Castello

    by iandsmith Written Dec 5, 2009

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    Castillo Scaligero is situated on a rocky outcrop that looks over Lake Garda that offers splendid views over the lake.The castle is clearly signposted wherever you are in Malcesine,and is well worth a visit. However, do check times as it is not always open.
    Once you enter the courtyard to your left there's public rest rooms, a small gift shop and the entrance to a fascinating interactive exhibition which describes flora and fauna of the region,how the lake was formed and the social and political history of the Lake Garda region. Exhibition descriptions are multi lingual and there is enough to keep you entertained for an hour or two.
    The pretty gardens are full of modern art sculptures and as you go further up into the castle itself there is a permanent Goethe memorial exhibition which describes the noted man's love of the region (he did a famous painting of the castle), an exhibition of artifacts from a great sailing ship which was purposely sunk to prevent the Venetians from gaining a grip on the area around the 15th century.
    The clock tower offers great views across the lake towards Limone,Torbole and Riva del Garda.The castle also offers a popular wedding service.
    The entrance fee is very reasonable but I suggest you also keep an eye out for the performances in the theatre behind the castle-the theatre nestles in a natural basin in the rock and sits around 400 people. It is wheel chair friendly, unlike the castle.

    The prominent tower Coming from beneath First view inside Classic castle architecture
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    A village by the lake

    by iandsmith Written Dec 5, 2009

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    Just being there is enough reason to visit. It's such a pleasant place I made sure to include it in my itinerary the third time I went to Italy.
    The feature of the place used to be the Scaligeri Castle, and it still is prominent but these days the town is growing and the castle is nestled in a side alley, but still sticks out when you approach the town from the north.

    View from our hotel window Foreshore
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    Castello Scaligero -The Museums - Goethe Hall

    by suvanki Updated Feb 6, 2009

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    Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe is probably this castles most famous visitor.

    During his life changing 2 year Italian Journey (1786-1788), Goethe was forced to land in Malcesine (In the 18th century, the roadway around the lake wasn't constructed, so Goethe left Tobole by sail rigged row boat.)

    At this time Malcesine was the frontier between the Austrian Empire and Venetian Republic. Strong winds forced the boat to stay in the shelter of the towns harbour. Struck by the sight of Castello Scaligero, Goethe proceeded to sketch the view. However, this was interrupted by soldiers arresting him for spying - the castle being a military base!

    Luckily he was saved partly by his own diplomacy and charm, and by a local man named Gregorio, who had visited Germany.

    He told the military leaders that "We should treat him as a friend and set him at liberty, so that he may speak well of us to his countrymen and encourage them to visit Malcesine, whos' beautiful situation so well deserves the admiration of foreigners"

    (It's not recorded if Gregorio was planning a chain of hotels, or if he worked for the tourist Office ;-) )

    Goethe stayed 2 nights in Malcesine - a plaque outside The Hotel San Marco on the Lakeside commemorates this. He then headed for Verona.

    Prior to visiting Malcesine, Goethe had resided in Torbole, where he wrote "Iphigenie'

    Whilst here he also stayed one night in an inn which was called Alberto alla Rose. This is now a lakeside appartment, but a plaque outside states that he stayed here the night of September 12th 1786.

    In the grounds of the castle is a memorial plaque and bust of Goethe.

    In The Goethe Hall , which was once the powder room of the fortress, are sketches, and pieces of writing by Goethe, plus articles about the man who is considered to be the best German writer, and one of the foremost thinkers of the Western world.

    Goethes work spans literature, poetry, drama, science, theology, and humanism. Although he commenced studies in law at University, he was diverted by poetry and literature.

    Bust of Goethe Castello Scaligero Plaque - Goethe memorial Castello Scaligero
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    Castello Scaligero

    by suvanki Updated Feb 6, 2009

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    This medieval castle dominates the town of Malcesine, towering above the harbour.

    Its quite a pleasant walk from the harbour, winding through cobbled, narrow winding streets. (follow the yellow signs).

    This fortification dates back to pre-roman times, and has undergone periods of destruction and subsequent re-construction.

    The Longobards and Francs used the tower for defence purposes. Following Hungarian invasion, it became part of the Verona Bishops feud.

    In the 13th century, the 'Della Scala' family transformed it into a residence, living there from 1277 to 1387. The Visconti family then resided here until 1403.

    From 1405 to 1797 it was part of the Serenissima (apart for the 10 years of French ownership 1506-1516)

    During Austrian occupation, from 1798 to 1866 the castle became a military garrison, with much restoration and construction work being carried out.

    In 1902 Scaligero Castle became a National monument.

    Visitors come here for its historical and architectural interest, to visit its museums, but mainly to enjoy its location and stunning views over the Lake and Mountains.

    Because of its Romantic location, the Castle is a popular place for wedding ceremonies. During my visit there was a wedding taking place. Weddings

    Open April- November 09.30 - 19.30 daily

    Winter - 10.00 - 17.00 Saturday, Sunday and holidays

    Admission Price - sorry can't remember how much!

    Reductions for Senior Citizens and Children

    Castello Scaligero Castello Scaligero Castello Scaligero
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    Chiesa San Stefano

    by suvanki Written Aug 5, 2008

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    The Church of Saint Stephen - The Patron Saint of Malcesine, was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple which was dedicated to Isis.
    The church is mentioned in documents dating back to the 9th Century

    The building seen today was reconstructed in the 18th Century (1729-1739) in a neoclassical -Baroque style.
    It looks quite impressive against its mountainous backdrop. It's also got quite a bit to see in its cool and airy interior.


    The altars of St Benigno and St Carlo (1769)
    Altar of Seven Joys - Sette Allegrezze- (1771)
    A 15th Century cibarium
    Paintings by Felice Boscarotti, Giuseppe Antonio Valentino and Girolamo dai Libris noted 'La Deposizione'

    Outside are some impressive stone figures, displayed in niches and pillars

    Chiesa San Stefano Malcesine Chiesa San Stefano Malcesine Chiesa San Stefano Malcesine Chiesa San Stefano Malcesine
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    Palazzo dei Capitani

    by suvanki Written Aug 5, 2008

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    This is the ancient residence of the Governor "The Captain of the Lake" and the seat of the Venetian "Gardesana del ' Acqua" who were an autonomous authority for territorial control.

    I'd wandered into the entrance hall and the gardens without realising the name of the place. I later realised that this was 'The Captains Palace'

    I was quite impressed with the 15th century frescoes that decorate the ceiling of the tunnell like entrance hall, which I think was the Salle del Sadle, or Reunions Hall.

    Dominating the fresco is the symbol of Venice - The winged lion of St Mark, standing (en passant) with its paw on an open book showing the inscription 'Pax tibi, Marce, Evangelista meus', which are the words spoken by the angel to greet Mark in his Venetian dream.

    The Palace which had originally developed on the site of a Roman palace was reconstructed in the Venetian style in the 15th Century.

    Its garden is a pleasant place to view the lake, its waters lap the gardens edge.

    The Captains Palace is another popular place for weddings - an alternative to Castello Scaligero. The civil ceremony takes place in a room with Renaissance decoration and antique furniture, with views over the lake.

    Free entrance to the Reunions Hall, Garden and library

    15th Century Venetian fresco Captains Palace Garden of Captains Palace Malcesine
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    Castello Scaligero - Other things to see and do

    by suvanki Updated Aug 5, 2008

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    Wandering around the Castle, there are some interesting nooks and crannies. Hidden away are some old frescoes including one of Madonna and Child. In a small yard are some old stone relics including an Etruscan tomb.

    While I was there in 2007, there was an exhibition of African icons, shaped from concrete then brightly painted. They are the work of the Nigerian sculptor, Sunday Jack Akpan. At the same time as I was viewing the figures, a wedding party appeared, which was slightly surreal as the party posed for formal shots, near these life size African figures in the grounds of an old Italian castle.

    Of interest to many visitors - there is a tower to climb!


    Climbing the tower is done by a series of steps and staircases. It is worth the climb for the 360 degree views over Lake Garda and towards Monte Baldo and its cable car, and over the towns roofs. At the top of the tower is a large bell.

    Exhibition of African icons 2007 Bell at top of the tower View of cable car from tower Castello Scaligero View of beach from Tower, Castello Scaligero
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    Castello Scaligero- Balcone sul Lago

    by suvanki Written Aug 5, 2008

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    Between the Venetian Palace and Goethe Hall, in the fortress walls is this stone balcony that attracts visitors.
    Although perhaps not as famous as the balcony 'down the road in Verona' where Juliet was alleged to have uttered her famous catch phrase, you might still have a wait to take in its view over the lake as its a popular place for couples to take a romantic photo.


    Less romantically, this was probably an artillery platform or revelino

    Balcony sul Lago Castello Scaligero
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