Malcesine, a town located on the North-eastern coast of Lake Garda, is rich in history and culture. There’s certainly plenty to captivate whether you’re here for a day-trip or staying for a couple of weeks. With so many narrow, cobbled streets, you can spend hours wandering around the medieval town and getting lost in your imagination.
The iconic castle on the rock is at the forefront of Malcesine’s story through history and has been occupied by many different powers over the years. First built by the Langobards, it was later destroyed and rebuilt by the Franks. During the castle’s interesting history it has been under Venetian, Austrian and French rule, to name just a few occupants. However, the castle’s name, Castello Scaligero, originates from its occupation by the della Scala family of Verona. This family also had three other castles on the lake – you can visit them in Torri del Benaco, Lazise and Sirmione.
As the castle changed hands changes were made to the structure of the castle and you can see these changes displayed on a model in the castle museum. Inside the castle, there are also interesting exhibitions about the lake and the Monte Baldo mountains. You can find out all about the fish in the lake and the flora and fauna in the incredibly diverse mountains. The museum is interactive, quizzing you as you go around!
Top tip: Climb to the top of the 31m tower to admire the breath-taking views of the lake and the Monte Baldo mountains.
The Captain’s Palace
The palace is found on the water’s edge in between the Porto Vecchio (the old port) and the main ferry port. It was first built in the 13th century, but under Venetian rule, it was where the Captain of the lake lived in order to police and control shipping. Silk from Verona was illegally smuggled north to Riva in exchange for wheat. However, Malcesine was a hard place to cross as the Captain and his guards were always watching.
On the ground floor, look up at the ceiling to admire the fresco painting. Among other emblems you can see the famous St Mark’s lion of Venice. The upper floors offer fantastic views of the lake and occasionally host concerts and performances in the evenings. You can also go outside to admire the beautiful gardens where the Captain used to dock his boat.
Top tip: You can get an amazing view of both the Captain’s Palace and the castle from the water. Go out in the evening to see the palace and castle all lit up. You can do this by joining the scenic evening cruise over to Limone on Sunday evening.
Malcesine Castle – €6 adult / €5 concession (over 65s)
Captain’s Palace – Free
Prices subject to change.