Whenever you want to visit the best known attraction of Veleggio sul Mincio that is Sugurta Gardens (Parco Giardino Sigurta) follow direction signs and look for this sign, on my picture, put by the entrance.
The huge park is located north of Valeggio center, on the western side of the road Mantova - Peschiera del Garda. The entrance (and parking) is located in southeastern corner of the garden, approx. 20 min. on foot from the center of Valeggio.
FROM A4 (MILAN - VENICE)
Driving motorway (freeway) A4 Milan - Venice take an exit called Peschiera, then take the road SS249 towards Valeggio. Drive approx. 8 kilometers till you see this sign on your right (approx. 1 km before you reach the center of Valeggio).
When I visited Sigurta Gardens on sunny Sunday in May, only motorcycles (there were tenths) were allowed to park just by the entrance to the park. Cars and buses were directed to the parking lots located northwards by the main road SS249 to Lago di Garda (Peschiera del Garda).
At some days, especially on Sunday, if the weather is good, there is a free shuttle service from the parking lots to the entrance.
Sigurta gardens are large, over 3 kilometers long and almost 1 kilometer wide. If you want to take a quick, first look at most of the gardens or visit the gardens with kids take a little train, on my picture, which starts next to the entrance.
The 7 km train ride takes 30 min. but, notice: there are no stops. It costs € 2.50 each person; free for children until 6 years and 100% disabled persons. Up-to-date price: here
There is possibility to visit Sigurta Gardens by hired at place golf-cart. It maybe a good option especially for those folks who:
- have at least € 12.00 to spend for first hour, add € 6.00 for each additional half an hour; well in a group of four it sounds better;
- are patient enough to wait for a hire (2 and half hours on sunny Sunday midday in May)
- are to tired or just can't or don't want to walk
- accept that golf-carts are allowed only on main asphalt roads and can't reach some more hidden parts of the garden
- are accompanied by children who love that transportation mean.
There is possibility to visit Sigurta Gardens by hired at place bicycle. It maybe a good option especially for those folks who:
- have at least € 3.00 to spend for each hour; there are also bikes for children;
- are patient enough to wait for a hire (1 and half an hour on sunny Sunday midday in May)
- are not too tired to ride a bicycle especially on a sunny, hot day
- accept that bycicles are not allowed in some, more hidden, parts of the garden
- are accompanied by children who love that transportation mean.
You can visit the Sigurta Garden on foot, which is my recommendation as its the only way to see everything. Only, keep in mind, that the gardens are large and you need at least three hours just to walk around.
At the entrance I got a map of the gardens where two main walking routes were marked (each 50 min. of walk) together with 19 points of interest on the way. The map is available to download (in PDF) from here
I picked up Maria ( Mariajoy from East Sussex, United Kingdom) from hotel Cacciatore in Valeggio to Villafranca Airport which took approx. 30 min.
- the airport is located NOT in Villafranca but a bit north of Villafranca, closer to Verona, just west of highway SS-62 from Verona to Mantova;
- the airport is usually called just Villafranca Airport by locals although it's officially named Aeroporto Valerio Catullo. It's sometimes called (in webpages, abbrevation: VRN) Verona Airport or Aeroporto di Verona-Villafranca (name used in my road atlas of Italy).
The second closest airport (after Villafranca) is located 20 km southeast of Brescia center and called usually Brescia Airport by locals.
I picked up Anne (Xemx from Attard, Malta) from Cacciatore hotel in Valeggio sul Mincio to this airport on Monday morning, 9 May, 2005. It took approx. 1 hour to get there. I was a bit nervous not to be too late as this airport was not marked on my new (really ?) road atlas of Italy. From Brescia Est exit on A-4 freeway/motorway (Milano - Venice) I followed "Aeroporto" direction signs which lead me to tiny, quite new airport.
The Brescia airport is sometimes called... Verona airport (especially on webpages) although it's located 52 km west of Verona. The official name of the airport is Aeroporto Gabriele D'Annunzio and it's always marked by VBS.
The direction signs to various tourist facilities, mainly to restaurants and hotels are written in black letters on yellow/orange or white background. They are put together, in no clear order, on city/town intersections and difficult to write while driving. Well, Italy is a great ancient culture and the chaos was the first, right? :-)
To make navigating easier learn four common Italian words used there:
ALTRI = ALL (for example ALTRI DIREZIONE = all directions or altri ristoranti ed alberghi = all restaurants and hotels)
RISTORANTE = surely a restaurant
ALBERGO (pl. alberghi) = a hotel
PARCHEGGIO = a parking lot.
Excuse, I will transfer this tip to my Italy page.
Parking a car in Valeggio sul Mincio, in contrast to nearby touristy destinations of Verona or towns around Garda Lake, is NOT a serious problem. Well, strict, tiny old town is closed for traffic.
There are parking lots on the edges of that limited traffic area. Large and free parking lot, my recommendation, is located opposite to Cacciatore hotel and is almost full, say, since about 9.00 am till about 4.00 pm. Follow direction signs to Cacciatore (restaurant and hotel) or "parcheggio".
Along some streets there is limited time (up to 30 min. or 1 hour = 1 ora) and paid parking zone on business days from 8.00 am till noon and from 3.00 pn till 8.00 pm. Notice that there is local market on Saturday morning and early afternoon and there is ban on parking along some streets each Saturday at 6.30 am - 2.00 pm.
Enlarge my picture, please and... keep in mind that you have to press a little red button to get green light and cross a street safely. Otherwise you will stay on a red light like a fool (hmm... me once) till you... notice the button for pedestrians. We don't have it in my hometown or I didn't find them, we have "normal" traffic lights and many roundabouts.
Excuse, it's a worldwide tip.There are similar buttons for pedestrians in most (all?) countries I already visited. In many countries they are signed by larger signs, folks easier to notice them.
Valeggio sul Mincio is located very close to Garda Lake (Lago di Garda). There are numerous names of towns and villages around the lake called "by the Garda Lake" that is "del Garda" in Italian language, for example Peschiera del Garda.
Keep in mind that they often use abbrevations D.G. or DEL G. on direction signs. Just like I could easily find direction signs to Valeggio S.M. or Valeggio sul M.
As usuall in old Italian towns, there is "Zona traffico limitato" = limited traffic zone put in the center/downtown of Valeggio sul Mincio. This zone is designed exclusively for pedestrians, bicyclists and those locals who received special permission (paid, I suppose) from the city authorities to drive a car there.
Well, park your car on the edge of the zone (large parking lot is opposite to Cacciatore hotel) and walk around. Valeggio is not Florence, parking is easy and walking around the old town takes short time. For US/Canadian visitors: can you imagine such zones in all your cities and towns?
Carmen and Stace#2 were very kind in providing us transportation to and fro during this wonderful weekend. They had rented a four door Smart car, the name of which I quickly negated with my presence.
Ma and I regularly occupied the back seat while we attempted a few times to retrace our steps in our meanderings about the Verona area. Please note our getting lost was strictly due to following the 'maddening crowd' of odd VTers, after all, Carmen, as navigator, was quite well versed in telling Stace where to go. LOL.
Stace was the driver, Carmen was the navigator, Ma Kettle held all tickets and vouchers (another story...buy me a drink, and I'll divulge), and I simply dozed with my head against the window.
Train fares from Padova to Peschiera was slightly more than 9 euro second class on IC, and trains run frequently along this heavily travelled route.
As you can see from the picture, Ma Kettle has to sit on the little auxilliary seats that fold into the wall along the train corridor. A real nuisance because everyone walking past bumps you with their baggage, and the TrenItalia fellow wheels his beverage cart along this route, forcing everybody to pick up their bags and evacuate temporarily. Paola, Baby Kettle and myself were forced to occupy space outside the coach compartment standing guard beside the washroom. What a choice spot that was...
It was the same way returning after the weekend. Not a big deal, as the trip is slightly more than one hour. Some fellow leaned out of his compartment and started chatting with Ma Kettle. It appears he saw the Canadian flags on our bags, heard her speak in her Calabrese dialect, knew I was a lost cause, and proceeded to tell her his life story. Ma collects them everywhere she goes. I swear she must have 'speak to me' printed on her forehead.