Experience a fairy tale in the garden of Isola del Garda
In antiquity, a terrible cataclysm detached part of the dry earth, letting it float on the waters. Thus Isola del Garda was born, an enchanted place on the Brescia side of Lake Garda, open to tourists for guided tours and interesting experiences. St Francis of Assisi, St Anthony of Padua and Dante Alighieri passed through here. The owners are now three sisters and four brothers of the Cavazza family, who look after the residence and the park with love and dedication. Passionate people, who have decided to open their treasure chest, the green gem of the lake, to the public.
The disembarkation takes place in the intense scent of citrons and lemons. The air is clear and the special microclimate provides mild days for several months of the year. As soon as one lands on the scenic green cliff that is Isola del Garda, it is the centuries-old cypresses that strike one. Majestic, they provide a dignified setting for the splendid villa in Venetian neo-Gothic stylebuilt in the early 20th century to a design by architect Luigi Rovelli. At its feet, terraces and gardens slope down to the placid, crystal-clear waters of the lake.
The large park is an absolute marvel in every corner, a result of the endless care and centuries-old research. When Duke De Ferrari of Genoa bought the island in the late 19th century and had the mansion built, his daughter Anna Maria wanted to plant flowers and exotic essences. Later, his daughter Livia, consort of Count Alessandro Cavazza, who was motivated by the same love of gardening, took care of it.
The show we can see today is the result of the action of many skilful hands and a great passion. From a design point of view, the entire park was conceived to be admired from the water, as you approach on board the boats.
On the central terrace the garden is in classical Italian style while in what used to be the orchard garden, organised on the lower terrace, is an English-style garden. Here thrive persimmons, lemons, pears, pomegranates, oranges, grapefruits, prickly pears, jujubes and capers. In another area, palm trees from the Canary Islands stand out. Roses and bougainvillea make the colours explode. Oaks, poplars and pines are great.
Myths and magic
It is not only the extraordinary natural setting that captivates, because the Isola del Garda park has other surprises in store. The hedges are modelled to represent various figures, in plays of geometry, including the reproduction of the coat of arms of the De Ferrari family, who first gave life to the garden. While strolling, one also encounters mysterious presences, somewhere between the human and the mythological. They are called “the guardians of the garden” and are wooden sculptures created by artist Gianluigi Zambelli. There is a young boy sitting on a bench, pensively observing a chrysalis: it is about to hatch and inside can be glimpsed the beautiful face of a young girl. There's a dragonfly emerging from a pond, and a horse emerging from the green. Then fauns, nymphs and sprites, populating a fairy tale that is pure reality.
Her Majesty the Olive
Due to its favourable climate and geographical position, Lake Garda constitutes the ideal habitat for the cultivation of olives. This island is no exception and boasts 50 varieties of cultivars, some of which date back to ancient Roman times. Among the varieties are Leccino, Frantoio, Pendolino, Casaliva and Gargnà. The owners, with their farm Azienda Agricola Borghese Cavazza, produce various types of Garda PDO olive oil of excellent quality.
Light and with fruity notes, it is an essential ingredient in the local cuisine. In this regard, it is worth mentioning a small, indispensable ritual, poetry for the palate in its simplicity: to savour all the aromas it releases, oil should be enjoyed on bruschetta. Other products, equally “children” of the park, can also be purchased: lemon liqueurs and cosmetics made from extra virgin olive oil.
One trip, many possibilities
The guided tour of Isola del Garda, which includes the park and the Villa, is already a remarkable experience in itself. On certain dates of the year, however, it is possible to combine a tasting of the local wines, which are as renowned as the oil. Or you can opt for an extraordinary observation of the celestial vault, when the stars fall, on the days from 10 August, the night of St Lawrence, to the 14th of the same month. If, on the other hand, it is the water that attracts you, seize the following opportunity: a cruise on a sailing ship.