Day trips to the villages, castles and lakes of Garda Trentino reveal another side to the region, away from the adrenaline of its mountainsides.
The medieval village of Canale di Tenno dates from the 13th century, yet it fell on hard times in the 1960s when it was all but abandoned. It was a group of artists that became the locals’ saviour, founding a getaway for creatives who paid for their room and board by leaving sketches and paintings. Their old house is now a gallery, and just wandering the village’s low arches and cobbles makes you grateful for what might have been so easily lost.
For more medieval wonders, Drena lies just 15km from Lake Garda, and has a rather beautiful castle overlooking the Sarca Valley. Dating from the 12th century, it is surrounded by chestnut forests (and famed for its sweet chestnuts) and the walk all the way to Malgo Campo is one of the most serene in the area.
Torbole sul Garda is also well worth exploring and this blustery part of the lake is popular with windsurfers. Try your hand at the watersport or take a stroll through the town instead, pausing to appreciate the picturesque harbour.
From Torbole sul Garda, you can walk north to reach the rock-top town of Nago (described by Goethe in his Italian Journey). Visit its cliff-side Penede castle for sweeping views across the mossy mountains and the glassy surface of the lake.
Finish in Dro, a traditional village south of the Paganella peak. Its stone doorways, towers and arches speak to its medieval origins, while churches and Roman bridges set the scene for a stroll into the natural reserve of stony marocche. A gloriously peaceful escape from the world.