Motti Verses

Rejuvenating the mind, body and soul in Italy’s Lake Garda

Italy is surely my preferred country to visit. It is a destination that needs no introduction. It’s quite difficult to find a similar multifaceted and diverse country in the world. With a wide selection of airports available for flights from Ben Gurion Tel Aviv, especially with the low-cost airlines, enjoying Italy becomes both attractive and affordable.

Lake Como and Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, are my favorite. The second, is nestled between Venice and Milan. It is a desired destination as the lake is known for its stunning scenery, beautiful towns, incredible food, and excellent wines. Those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of life will find the lake and its surroundings the perfect getaway destination.

P The lake’s northern narrow part is famous for paragliding (photo by Motti Verses)

Lake Garda northern narrow part, surrounded by mountains, is famous for sports enthusiasts with the best places for paragliding, windsurfing and hang-gliding. Discovering the lake from north to south is breathtaking. Malcesine is a charming old town. A  medieval jem with a magical view of the lake, nestled into the base of the famous Dolomite Mountains. Nothing beats a ride on the Malcesine cableway, riding to the top of Monte Baldo. On a clear day you can see the whole of the lake’s jaw-dropping view.

Malcesine, a medieval jem with a magical view of the lake (photo by Motti Verses)
Nothing beats a ride on the Malcesine cableway for a breathtaking lake view (photo by Motti Verses)
Garda, one of the region’s true pearls (photo by Motti Verses)

Garda is a village set in one of the small bays on the lake, named after the village. In medieval times Garda was one of the most important viewing points here, but today it is one of the region’s true pearls.

Traveling without a car in Lake Garda is more convenient in the south to Desenzano and the breathtaking Sirmione. It is perched at the top of a thin strip of land, stretching onto the lake. It is almost entirely surrounded by water. The ancient fortress is an access point to the historical center of the old town and is one of Italy’s best preserved castles. Sirmione is definitely a charming place with the best gelatos of Italy. Don’t miss the opportunity.

An essential stop for nature lovers is the gigantic Sigurtà Garden Park, a constant winner of prizes of most beautiful parks in Europe – it  is rich in colors, scents and blooms. Its size is about 80 football stadiums. A huge park and either bicycles, or an electric buggy are needed to explore it properly. Sigurtà offers new and captivating suggestions all year round, including summer blooms of enchanting water lilies. Surly a must visit.

Sirmione – a charming town with the best gelatos of Italy (photo by Motti Verses)
Sirmione, perched at the top of a thin strip of land. It is almost entirely surrounded by water( photo by Motti Verses)
Sigurtà Garden Park is a constant winner of prizes (photo by Motti Verses)

It is always intriguing and interesting to enjoy the hospitality of the Israeli originated Leonardo brand in Europe. With operations in 9 countries and 46 destinations, the Leonardo portfolio offers 106 hotels. An impressive brand. After a lovely recent stay in Krakow , I was curious about the property in this region. Only a few weeks ago the rebranded Leonardo Hotel Lago Di Garda Wellness and Spa was inaugurated. A great reason to make it our home when traveling the magnificent lake and its surroundings. The hotel is located in a breathtaking area, 5 minutes drive from the lake shores and the popular amusement parks, so many families enjoy arriving here.

“We offer 127 rooms in the hotel, including suites, junior suites and deluxe rooms”, says the outgoing General Manager Daniela Gessa.”We also offer a wonderful restaurant with an amazing terrace, 3 swimming pools , 2 outdoor and 1 indoor and we also have a fantastic and stunning spa area with a turkish bath,Hammam and bio-sauna”, she says.

Lake Garda scenery and General Manager Daniela Gessa, incharge of a pampering hotel (photo by Motti Verses)
The separate outdoor pools cater for families with children and adults (photo by Motti Verses)
Our room was relaxing and well kept with an excellent sleeping quality (photo by Motti Verses)

The rooms are relaxing and well kept with excellent sleeping quality. We enjoyed the bigger outdoor pool by the winyards for morning and evening swims. Most of the guests were European, interested to relax by the pools during the sunny days. We were eager to explore the lake’s vicinity, but it looks like other guests just didn’t leave the hotel during their stay.

One of the  most encouraging experiences here was enjoying Italian Chef George Manca gastronomy over dinner. His culinary portfolio is truly exceptional and original. Each evening the dinner options change and new surprises await the guests. Professional friendly General Manager Gessa knows her job well. By offering this changing food variety, guests justifiably do not leave the hotel to look for outside restaurants.

Italian Chef George Manca gastronomy is a marvel, especially his black Risotto version (photo by Motti Verses)
Wellness areas are wide and spacious for the hotel of this size (photo by Motti Verses)

The hotel carries the name Leonardo Hotel Lago Di Garda Wellness and Spa and the indoor recreation areas are indeed promising. The covered pool, the treatment rooms, the wide jacuzzi and the relaxation areas are wide and spacious for the hotel of this size. We tried the classy massage treatments and we enjoyed a state of the art experience. Highly recommended.

“Our brand is extremely strong within the German and the UK markets and wish to grow faster in Italy”, says Rafi Carmon, Country General Manager Leonardo /Fattal Hotels Group Italy, Hungary. “Growing within the resorts market is important as well, after opening hotels in Ibiza and Majorca Spain. The new Garda property fits this strategy. We will be the first to operate the hotel all year round, while the rest of the hospitality lodgers work only 8-9 months. We believe that in fall and winter the Spa and the indoor pool will be attractive to sports teams – looking for places to practice, couples and families. The hotel is a good investment for the Leonardo brand as it has a great potential. We even plan an additional garden pool for future suits facing the mountains and the vineyards. Coming soon”, he says.

Climbing up to Bergamo’s old town, Città Alta – a magnificent place (photo by Motti Verses)

With these plans for the hotel, we left Lake Garda, on our way to the airport. We didn’t miss Bergamo’s old town, Città Alta. Up on the hill this small surprising area is magnificent with its charming cobblestone streets, churches, plazas and fountains. Enjoying the historic art shops and lovely little restaurants is highly recommended. An appropriate end to the not to miss Garda lake vacation. With rejuvenated mind, body and soul, we say againGrazie Italia.

About the Author
The author is a hotel expert, traveler, writer, videographer and the former Head of Public Relations of Hilton Hotels and Resorts in Israel
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