The Riviera dei Limoni (Lemon Riviera) extends along the north-western coast of Lake Garda, from the town of Salò to the border with the Autonomous Province of Trento and takes its name from the growing of this fruit, spread throughout the territory. Lemon trees were introduced to Lake Garda from the Ligurian Riviera, presumably around the 12th century, by the friars of the convent of St. Francis in Gargnano.
The combination of Mediterranean vegetation close to the lake and mountain landscape in the hilly hinterland makes this area pleasant and diverse, suitable for mountain farming (mainly citrus and olive trees, grown on ancient terraces - some dating back to the sixteenth century), and at the same time characterized by a strong tourist appeal. The area between the Municipalities of Salò, Gardone Riviera, Toscolano Maderno, Gargnano, Tignale, Tremosine, Limone, Valvestino and Magasa is also home to Parco Alto Garda Bresciano, of over 38,000 hectares, many of which are covered by forest. The Park rises up to a height of 2,000 metres and is therefore suitable for hiking or mountain biking.
To explore this stretch of coast, you can start from the elegant town of Salò (reachable by bus from the train stations of Brescia or Desenzano) with its wonderful lakeside promenade, the Art Nouveau buildings overlooking the water and the late-Gothic-style Duomo, and then head towards Gardone Riviera. There you can visit Vittoriale degli Italiani - residence of the famous Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio - now a national museum whose open-air theatre becomes the exclusive location for festivals dedicated to music, art and dance. The Heller-Hruska Botanical Garden is also within walking distance, allowing for the sight of over 2,000 plants of different species (Alpine, Mediterranean and tropical) that coexist in this place thanks to its favourable microclimate.
Continuing north you will find the beaches of Toscolano Maderno, where you can also stroll through the Valley of the Paper Mills; then Gargnano, whose hamlet Bogliaco hosts the CentoMiglia sailing race and is famous for the splendid gardens of Villa Bettoni.
Going up from Gargnano towards the mountain area, in Tignale's territory you can find the Sanctuary of Montecastello, a sacred place that stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake and offering a spectacular panorama.
The most daring might take Strada della Forra, which rises from lake level to Tremosine sul Garda (the opening sequence of the movie 007: Quantum of Solace was shot here). This municipality is made up of 17 small hamlets, of which only Campione del Garda - a paradise for sports boating - is located at the level of the state highway. The village of Pieve is famous for the "Thrill Terrace" overlooking the lake, from which the town of Malcesine and the Baldo on the opposite bank can be admired.
Continuing towards Trentino, Limone sul Garda is well worth a visit, not only to see the ancient lemon groves on vertical cobblestone steps, or the characteristic onion-shaped bell tower of the Church of San Benedetto. You will also love getting lost in its narrow streets full of shops and restaurants and trying out the new cycle/pedestrian path that connects the town to the Province of Trento - halfway between two worlds.