Lazise is a charming little village located on the east shore of Lake Garda, 20 minutes by car from Verona. The first thing you see as soon as you arrive are the Medieval walls, perfectly preserved, that give to this town an elegant and noble flair. They were built, along with the Castle, under the rule of the Scaligeri family of Verona (XIII century). We walked towards the walls and decided to take a tour into the public gardens, provided with a small playground for kids.
It was pleasant to stroll along these majestic and picturesque walls. The Christmas decorations were set but not turned on since it was early and the sun light was slightly warming up the palaces façades and luckily us visitors. Along the main road there were kiosk selling food, drinks, scarves and all sorts of knick-knacks. The thing I liked the most was the small port with the Romanesque church of St. Nicolò (it was closed) and the so called Dogana Veneta (Venetian customs). The latter was used in the XVI century for the production of saltpetre, a component of gunpowder. Later, in the XVII century, it became the border post between Lombardy and the Venetian Republic: the ships had to pass under its arches to access the port. Currently it is used as conference centre.
The most majestic building of the village is anyhow the Castle. Over the centuries it was expanded destroyed, restored, and it became property of Verona, Lombardy, Venice, France and Austrian. Finally it was purchased in the 1850s by Count Giovanni Battista Buri who restored it and surrounded it with a beautiful park. It can not be visited, unfortunately, because it is still inhabited by Buri’s heirs.
I liked Lazise, I found it very romantic, walking hand in hand along its streets and along the lake promenade. I think in Spring it must be something else, though. The day we visited it was very foggy so the view from the promenade along the lake was very poor. It must be fantastic during days with clear sky. On the contrary I was told that in Summer it is too crowded. In fact the strong tourist vocation seemed clear to us: at every corner there were bars, trattorias, shops, ice cream parlours, and all the typical local businesses you can normally find at a holiday resort. At least we could enjoy Lazise’s quiet side.
Lazise – Did you know that…
- In 983 Lazise asked to the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II for some concessions, such as the right to fish, trade and to fortify the village. A community assembly was formed. It managed independently civil, economic and religious matters. It was a peculiar situation compared to that of other villages at that time in Italy. This autonomy concession made Lazise the first free municipality in Italy.
- The name Lazise derives form Latin word lacus, meaning lakeside village.
- The parking area was very expensive. It costed per hour more than in Padova. I understand it is a holiday resort, but the municipality should lower the price off-season, right? In fact, the majority of cars, were parked on the adjacent and free area, a bumpy and gravelly lot. And so we did too. Eh!
More info at www.tuttogarda.it