The lively town of Limone sul Garda is located on the western shore of Lake Garda. Despite the tourism in this region, the village managed to retain its authentic charm. The remains of some lemon houses (limonaia) remind us of the cultivation of lemons, just as the souvenirs which are shimmering under the sun. There’s a touch of lemon simply everywhere in Limone sul Garda! It can be quite touristy in summer months, though worth visiting.
The lemon gardens of Limone sul Garda
When someone says ‘limone sul Garda’, you immediately think of lemons, right? An interesting fact however is that ‘limone’ is derived from the Latin word ‘limes’ (border), not from ‘lemon’. Back in the days, the fishing village was located on the border between Austria and Italy. Until 1932, the village was only accessible by water or by a steep mountain path. It was very isolated and dependent on the fishing and lemon cultivation. Now, it’s a whole different story.
Be sure to visit the remains of the Castèl lemon grove. This former lemon house was built in the 18th century to protect the citrus fruits from the cold. ‘La Limonaia del Castel‘ can be visited daily from May to October for a small entrance fee. As the lemon house is situated somewhat higher than the village center, the views are beautiful from the lemon gardens. Furthermore, you can learn more about the history of the lemon cultivation in the museum.
In the second half of the 19th century, lemon cultivation declined in the region, partly due to the occurance of the gummosis disease and the unification of Italy. The lemon production in Limone sul Garda could not longer compete with the groves in the southern regions. But still today, Limone is known as the lemon village along Lake Garda. The merchandise sold in the streets refer to the ‘yellow gold’ from the past: lemon soap, limoncello etc.
Aperol Spritz or Limoncello?
The boulevard of Limone leads to the historical center, along the harbor and numerous restaurants and shops. In addition to the boat trips that depart daily from the port, you can also rent a motorboat yourself (without licence).
The eye-catcher of the historical center is without doubt Porto Vecchio (literally translated ‘the old port’). We were here around noon and had lunch at Ristorante Gemma. We managed to get a seat on the terrace, from where we had a nice view over the lake. A refreshing Aperol Spritz or a cocktail based on limoncello? Oh, I love it when the hardest decision you have to make in a whole day is ordering your drink. This must be holiday.
Did you know that the inhabitants of Limone sul Garda generally have a high life expectancy? Some of them are even more than 100 years old! A certain protein was discovered in the blood of several residents. The protein removes fat from the arteries, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. So they actually carry ‘the elixir of life’ with them. How cool is that!? The isolation of the village made it possible to spread the protein among the inhabitants.
Some tips for an active holiday
Lake Garda offers the perfect combination of culture and nature. One day, you can stroll through the picturesque villages along the lake shore, while you can hike in the mountains the next day. A highly recommended hiking trail is the Sentiero del Ventrar on the Monte Baldo. From Limone sul Garda, you have a good view over this mountain range. You can read the full hiking report on mountainreporters.com (in Dutch).
A few years ago, the ‘Garda by bike’ project was set up, with the aim of constructing a bike path around Lake Garda of no less than 140 kilometers long! The section from Limone sul Garda towards Riva del Garda is very beautiful. Good to know: you can also enter the path by foot.