Torri Del Benaco, Lake Garda

And this is how our fabulous time in Torri Del Benaco started. No cars were allowed by our hotel so we were picked up in the parking lot by the hotel golf cart. It was a fun entrance, the three of us, two dogs, our luggage and all of our wine! 

We stayed at the Hotel Gardesana, which was a step back in time. When I picture hotels from the 1950's, this is exactly when I think of.  Our hotel was lovely, breakfast was good, and the reception so friendly, however the hotel was noisy. Unfortunately, you could hear everything in and around the hotel. 

This was our awesome hotel room key and every time we left we handed it over to reception for them to store in a cubby. I loved this!

This was the castle and museum across from our hotel. Every morning we enjoyed the view while sipping cappuccinos and eating our breakfast. One morning there was a band that marched and played through the town. 

Another great view of  the lake from the hotel patio. 

Restaurants lining the lake, some good some not as good but the atmosphere . . 

Everyday we walked the dogs dogs along the lake to a beach, the views were gorgeous.

Then we would end our walk at Ristorante Pizzeria Berengario. It was directly on the lake, and had a great wine list! Bruno, the owner, had fantastic wine recommendations. He also has a wine shop next to the restaurant stocked with more great wine. We only ate here once, the pizza was good and food was ok. 

The golden hour was super relaxing while we enjoyed drinking great wine while the sun sank in the sky. I already dream about going back just to sit here again and be back in that moment. 

All these cute alleyways that led to the lake. 

Madonna Della Corona had been on my bucket list for a long time and it did not disappoint. The church is perched on the side of a mountain 1000 meters high. It is stunning!! It wasn't very crowded, it was peaceful so we decided to have lunch at the cafe there. Also, the way up to Baldo, Italy where the church is located provides more breathtaking views. 

There is a shuttle bus that will drop you by the entrance although there still is a bit of a walk. We chose to walk, it was a long and winding road leading to the church following the stations of the cross. The walk was great for a bit of exercise and also built up the anticipation. 

We had driven into Torri del Benaco through the south end of the lake and we knew we didn't need to revisit down there. It was crowded and filled with amusement parks and putt-putt, probably a wax museum too. We were looking for more sleepy fishing villages to explore so we headed north on the lake. We stopped in Brenzone which is where this picture was taken. We ate overlooking the lake at Hotel Nettuno, it was some of the best food we had in Italy. We split mussels that were delicious, I had pasta in a red sauce with zucchini and shrimp and Luke had fresh fish from the lake filleted with olive oil, lemon, and herbs. 

The north end of lake is where you want to go if you are into sailing, windsurfing, or kite surfing. We loved eating our delectable lunch and watching.

More fantastic views from this cute this town. 

One of the greatest regions for wine is Veneto and many vineyards were only a 45 min drive. My new favorite grape is corvina. I am in love with Valipocella Superiore and have always been a huge Amarone fan, so we had to go stock up on some wine. 

We stopped in on Speri for a tasting a half hour before they closed and they were happy to accommodate us. We really enjoyed the time this family took to explain how they made their wine and give us an in depth tasting.

I had done a little research on where the locals eat and this Trattoria Numero Uno sounded like the place. It was located in a tiny village and very authentic. I have to say I haven't eaten in a restaurant with caged birds chirping continuously in a corner. The food was good and it was charming inside.  

I love oil olive! Torri Del Benaco is surrounded by olive trees, so we had to do a tasting. It just happens that the world's most awarded boutique olive oil was up the hill from our hotel. Paolo Bonomelli Olive Oil deserves it own blog, so more to come on that. 

Lake Garda is a very special place between the breathtaking views, attractions, vineyards, and coastal towns. I can see why people continue to go back year after year, so much to do and also a great place to relax. I am already looking forward to planning another trip back to explore further!