Conosci tu il paese dove fioriscono i limoni?
Brillano tra le foglie cupe le arance d’oro,
Una brezza lieve dal cielo azzurro spira,
Il mirto è immobile, alto è l’alloro!
Lo conosci tu?
O amato mio, con te vorrei andare!
Talking about Lake Garda requires slowness and talking about it in a generic way is very reductive.
Lake Garda, apparently small on geographic maps, shows all its grandeur when you start to observe it closely.
A wide range of different landscapes ranging from its waters, to cultivated hills, steep rocks and mountains.
Today I will tell you a piece of territory, one of those that most attract me for its references to the Mediterranean atmosphere, the impervious nature, but skillfully refined by the adorable citrus fruits: The Riviera of lemons and castles.
The “Riviera of lemons” is the name of the stretch of west coast of Lake Garda which extends from Salò to Limone sul Garda.
It is probably the most extraordinary part of Lake Garda, due to its unique landscape where the presence of the rock, which in some places drops steeply into the waters, becomes an element of great strength, whether you live it from the ground, whether you admire it from the lake.
We remain ecstatic by the variety of experiences that can be lived and by the beauty of the places, the care and precision of the landscape, the breathtaking views.
A stretch of coast where Roman ruins, Romanesque churches, castles, elegant palaces and villas, integrate in perfect harmony in the landscape and define it.
A deep bond between water and land. Many palaces and buildings were designed to be reached and admired directly from the lake itself.
The vegetation also ranges from typically Mediterranean elements, with cypresses, holm oaks and ash trees, palms, citrus fruits in the coastal strip to a mountain-type flora, as you go up from the coast to the hills above, reachable by following impervious roads.
Traveling north on the Garda road, you will find places rich in history, which deserve separate narratives, Salò, Gardone, Fasano, Toscolano Maderno, Bogliaco, Gargnano, Tignale, Campione and the magnificent Limone.
The “ Riviera of lemons ” takes its name from the cultivation of citrus fruits, which for centuries have marked the economy of the area, thanks to the typical microclimate of the lake.
The tradition of lemon groves dates back to the thirteenth century, when the first lemons were imported from the Ligurian Riviera by the friars of the convent of San Francesco di Gargnano and since then it has become an activity rooted in the Garda culture, carried out with skill and passion.
Citrus fruits are grown in the “Limonaie“, very particular architectural structures, also remembered by Goethe during his visit in 1786.
The characteristic architectural structure of the lemon groves adapts and integrates with the steep terrain, creating terraces on various levels suitable for welcoming the enchanting citrus trees. The typical quadrangular pillars that support wooden poles allow the greenhouses to be closed in the winter. Looking at them from the lake, they take on the aspect of an amphitheater with a singular and picturesque character, becoming characteristic elements of the Lombard Garda landscape.
One of the oldest lemon groves of Garda, is located in Tignale where an “Al Pra de la fam” ecomuseum was created, also called the old garden.
Another important example is found in Limone del Garda, where the “Limonaia del Castel”, dating back to the 1700s, now equipped as an educational museum, is kept active and produces various species of citrus fruits including lemons, cedars, sweet and bitter oranges, bergamots. , grapefruits and tangerines.
Citrus fruits have very fragrant flowers, the bearing of the plants is graceful with the intense green foliage and they produce abundant fruits of pleasant shape and color.
Always considered mythical plants to admire and cultivate, they are often used as ornament trees for the gardens of delights next to the vine, pergolas, palm trees.
A pleasure for the eyes and the spirit.
Impossible to resist the beauty of citrus fruits.