Located on the western shore of Lake Garda, nestling between hills and mountains, Gargnano enjoys a mild climate, hence the many cedars, lemon, olive and cypress trees that grow here.
The first document attesting to the presence of a settlement in this area dates back to 937, although archaeological finds and certain works by the Roman historian Livy also suggest that Etruscan, Celtic, Cenomanian and Roman peoples settled here.
After a glorious period between 1350 and 1426 when it was known as the capital of the Magnifica Patria (Magnificent Motherland), Gargano fell under the control of theVenetian Republic.
The village consists of a cluster of buildings erected near to the port, where the reflections of the elegant edifices appear to merge with the waterline.
In the row of buildings is the town hall, which was built facing the lake. Embedded in the lake walls are the cannon balls fired at the town from an Austrian ship during the Third War of Independence in 1866. Close by is Villa Feltrinelli, built at the end of the nineteenth century and known for hosting Mussolini's headquarters during the Republic of Salò.
Walking through the village, you can admire the 12th-century Church of St James, the oldest church in Gargnano. The exterior wall is
adorned with a series of 14th-century frescoes, while inside there is a fine wooden statue of St James.
Lemon growing in Gargnano dates back to the 13th century, hence the many lemon houses, which have characterised the economy and image of this area for centuries.
Some of the lemon houses are open to the public, such as the oldest establishment, La Malora, which now produces liqueurs, delicious jellies and mustards. Others include Limonaia Trevisani and Gandossi.
Located in the heart of the 'Gardesana Occidentale' nature reserve and part of the Regional Park of Upper Garda, Lake Valvestino is part of the municipality of Gargnano. The small artificial lake nestled in the mountains offers a delightfully varied panorama, with attractive contrasts between the lake, lowland areas, hills and mountains.
When the water level falls, a surprising spectacle awaits the visitor, as rising up from the lake they can glimpse the ruins of the Lignago Customs House, which once separated the Austrian Empire from Italy.