Lago di Garda & surroundings of the town, Verona
On the right side of the church os San Giorgio di Valpolicella there is a little cloister, too.
You see it in the picture.
Enter the porch, and follow the little door that brings behind the main apse... (you can see it in the middle of the picture) a few steps are going down... follow them and you'll soon discover a Bronze age site that was exactly in the same hill top of the church... There was a pagan temple before christianity too...
We have to say this was a very successfull spot in the last 3/4 thousands years!
Don't look in your map for "San Giorgio Ingannapoltron".
The official name is "San Giorgio di Valpolicella", about 15 km out of Verona at the beginning of the god blessed ( not only for the wines) Valpolicella valley.
The name Ingannapoltron is a dialectal form in wich we call the place.
Placed atop of an hill facing the country, it seems very near and easy to access, but the road is indeed steep and long... So it "deceives the lazy ones": the road become endless!: that is nearly the exact translations of the term above!
Ok, by car nowadays this is a nonsense, but the name is still here.
The village is well known for his magnificent barbaric-romanesque church, all made of local stone.
The church of San Giorgio di valpolicella dates back to the end of the 12^ century, but the western apse (now the main entrance, that you can see in the picture) is older, from a previus church. Some stone pieces inside date further back to the 8th century, the longobard period of Verona.
So, this church has apses at both sides... how strange, isnt it?
At sunset, the view on the valley is great.
Monte Baldo is the mountain that separates the Garda lake from the river Adige valley.
It's a good and very scenic place to go "off the beaten path".
You can climb it from many roads, and from the cableway starting in Malcesine.
In the picture it's seen in feb 2004 from the south-easterly outskirts of Verona (the mountain is to north west)
On my picture you may see one of the many great places you will pass through on your way to Verona, when you arrive from the north and skip the fast lanes of the highway, and take the much smaller roads along the east-side of Lago di Garda. We still were lucky with the weather and the clouds even added a lot of special dramatic to the scenery.
This picture was taken at the end of the road over the Monte Baldo, where the mountain-road ends in a lot of windings back in the valley again. Only about 50 km are left for Verona from there...
Of course it was great to see Monte Baldo at the other side of the lake, while driving back home along the west-coast of Lago di garda / Gardasee.
This is another picture taken from the road high above the lake, in Tremosine.
On my picture you will also see, what a small area is left on the mountain in order to have a village built there, but since centuries this area was very fertile and had a perfect climate, so the inhabitants started to use even the smallest spots to build a house or plant an olive-tree...
The street over the Monte Baldo is really excellent, BUT it makes sense ONLY, when you have a lot of time to spend.
You will have to share the road with plenty of motorbikers and cyclists and mostly the road is not a lot wider than for just a car, beeing able to pass by a cycler really much too close.
And then just imagine another car coming against you and you have to search for a place to pass by.
When you click on my picture you will see a lot of leaves and heavy stones on the road.
The west-coast of Lago di Garda starts rather flat with a lot of great villages along the coast, and when-ever you make a stop you may walk great boulevards and take a rest like the 2 people on my picture. This picture was taken in Salo, a great town on the east-coast of the lake, in a direct distance of about 60 km from Verona (across the lake), but driving there takes a lot more time of course, as you have to take the winding coastroad. Calculate at least 1 hour to get there
Did you ever see a tunnel or a bridge that was built just for a waterfall to get across a road ??
This was one of the unique places, that we passed by when taking the small road with plenty of windings from Tremosine to the coastroad in Voltino again.
When you enlarge my picture, you will see that the tunnel has absolutely no other purpose than to get the small river across the street without any danger for the drivers. I may also imagine, that in early spring this river will be a lot bigger and more dangerous, when the snow in the mountains is melting...
Riva di Garda is the town on the very north-end of Lago di Garda / Gardasee and there you will see this great castle Arco built on a perfect place high above the valley, and almost un-accessible and protected by steep rocks. From Riva di Garda on the trafic was quite high and stop-and-go for more than 1 hour, maybe also for the fact that it was sunday of a long weekend including a holiday on Thursday in Austria and Germany.
In Italy this was not a holiday, but these cars were mostly shorttime-tourists from Germany.
Trafic-jams are also a great chance for better pics than from a driving car...
Monte Baldo is a massive row of mountains and rocks in the east-side of Lago di Garda and it might be a good idea to take the tiny alpine road on top of it in order to get to the city of Verona. I was lucky to arrive by car with a driver, who knows this area very well :
Lothar (Lotharlerch) tried out plenty of roads in that area already and this is one of the best you may get.
We were even lucky with the weather with plenty of dramatic clouds at some places, but also great sunshine at the same time.
The pic was taken out of the window of Lothar's car, so you have some reflections of the glass unfortunately.
I may highly recommend not to take the road directely on the foot of the coast, BUT to take some side-steps to the small villages high above the coastline !
Tremosine is one of the best places to do so, BUT it is possible and advisable for drivers with XXX-strong nerves ONLY !
I was really lucky that Lothar was driving, and he knew that area already, so I was able to take these pics out of the car, while he could concentrate upon the trafic in theses narrow and dangerous roads.
This picture was taken on the road down from Tremosine.
There are a few places, where you will be able to stop and take a perfect panorama-view of Lago di Garda from the hight of Monte Baldo .
In reality you may see a lot more mountains in the distance, but with the strange light-situation there my digital camera made a mistake and so this is the best pic of a series of photos I have taken there.
At the northern end of the peninsula of Sirmione about 1 KM north of the Rocca Scaligera you can find Grotte di Catullo. This large roman villa originate from the Roman times.
After entering the complex (entrance fee 4 euro) you will find the entrance of the a museum at the right hand side. Here you can have a look at the archaeological artefacts found in this place.
Between the olive trees you can walk into the complex to have a look at the remains of the Roman villa, the baths, but also some workshops.
Sirmione and the peninsula is the most striking and known area at the southern side of Lake Garda. Also the ancient Romans knew not only the strategic importance of the peninsula, but also very well its charms, building a villa on the northern tip of the peninsula.
Approaching the old town of Sirmoine the first striking building you will see is Rocca Scaligera, the castle built in the 14th century by the Scaligera of Verona at this very strategic point. The crenellations of the castle look gorgeous. Before entering the narrow streets of the town, you have to cross the surrounding moat by bridge. Here at the right hand side is the entrance of the castle.
Rocca Scaligera is a very well defended castle. It has even an inner harbour where the ships could hide between the walls of the castle.