I was strolling through Instagram looking for new locations as I often do when I have spare time when I found a beautiful image of a church that really caught my eye. Having traveled extensively through Europe, it is not very often I find a church that actually surprises me, but Alessio Lin’s image of the Madonna della Corona nestled against the side of Monte Baldo was enough to make me contact Alessio to learn more. I quickly learned that Monte Baldo is on the edge of Lake Garda, and Lake Garda is home to many fantastic locations that I am going to share with Alessio’s help in this article.
–NOTE-if super cool buildings built on cliff edges is your thing, you will definitely want to check out our article about an amazing castle built on top of an enormous cave and our article about a Judaean Monastery built onto a cliff.
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About Lake Garda
Lake Garda, Lago di Garda or Lago Benaco, is the biggest lake in Italy and is home to many beautiful locations around its vast shores. It is popular holiday location in Northern Italy, between Venice and Milan on the edge of the beautiful Dolomite mountains. The lake is so large it is located in three Italian provinces. The south-east part of the lake is in Verona, the south-west part is in Brescia, and the north part is in Trentino.
Monte Baldo is on the east side of Lake Bardo. On the side of the mountain is the church that drew my interest, the Madonna della Corona. Tradition says this church, which I guess is technically a shrine or sanctuary rather than a church, was build in 1522. Tradition says it is at that time the main sculpture at this location was miraculously transported from the island of Rhodes through angelic intervention. The shrine currently houses many white marble sculptures from the sculptor Ugo Zannoni, who is from Verona.
Construction on the modern building was begun in 1625. Part of the the church was demolished and reconstructed in 1974.
Madonna della Corona can be reached from Verona by taking the A22 to Affi. From there, follow the “provinciale” street to Caprino and Spiazzi for about 20 km. From there, you can reach the shrine by mini-bus or an approximately 20 minute stair climb. However, if you are tempted like me to do the pilgrimage, you can start at Brentino Belluno and hike the 1540 stairs, which takes approximately 2 hours.
Malcesine is a beautiful town along the coast of Lake Garda in Verona, Italy. It is approximately 120 km northwest of the famous town of Venice, also 40 km northwest of the slightly less famous Verona. It sits at the base of Monte Baldo.
It is famous for its beautiful castle along the water’s edge. The Scaliger Castle, or Castello Scaligero, is a medieval castle that sits right on the water and offers panoramic views from its tower. It features thirteenth century fortifications with an older tower made of white natural stone. The 1442 bell of the castle is still in service today. It is also home to a history and natural science museum.
Another famous castle along the shores of Lake Garda can be found in Sirmione, which is a beautiful coastal town in Brescia, Italy. The Scaligero Castle (like the castle in Malcesine, it is named after the famous della Scala family of Verona who ruled the region in the 13th and 14th centuries) is a classic looking fortress that was built in the thirteenth century. This castle looks like the castles of fairy tales that you grew up on as it is surrounded by an actual moat, which can only be crossed by drawbridge.
Sirmione also features a historical centre located on the Sirmio Peninsula. This is where you are going to find the famous San Pietro in Mavino and Santa Maria Maggiore churches. The main landmark, besides the castle, is the Grottoes of Catullus, discussed below. The town is also famous for its thermal springs.
Riva del Garda
Riva del Garda, or just Riva as it is commonly called, is a coastal town in Trento, Italy on the northern tip of the lake. Alessio identifies Riva del Garda as the place on Lake Garda to shoot the milky way if you hit it at the right conditions.
Riva is also home to the beautiful Church of Inviolata and the Torre Apponale Tower. Unsurprisingly, Riva also houses yet another Scaligeri fortress. The Museo Civico is a medieval fortress with quadrangular bastions sitting on the lake, bounded by canals and a draw bridge. It was rebuilt several times throughout the centuries.
Other Places Worth Checking Out
Isola del Garda is the largest island in Lake Garda. St. Francis of Assisi was a thirteenth century monastery located on the island that was replaced by a nineteenth century Venetian-Gothic building.
Torbole is a beautiful town in Trentino that offers fantastic views of the lake surrounded by mountains.
Cima Comer offers beautiful panoramic views of Lake Garda and the mountains.
Gardaland is an amusement park on the southeast coast of the lake. It looks to have lots of great roller coasters, which are always fun.
Grottoes of Catallus are Roman ruins from the first century B.C. at the peninsula of Sirmione on the southern shore of Lake Garda.
Cascate del Varone is a scenic park located in the town of Tenno just 3 miles from Riva del Garda. It is home to a tall waterfall, almost 100 metres high, located within a cave.
Arco Castle is a ruined castle located on a prominent spur above Arco in the Sarca Valley in Trentino.
Alessio is a 21 year-old Italian. More of work can be found on Instagram or his website. While he is from Verona, Italy, he was raised between Italy and China, learning both cultures, which he credits for his ability to combine both cultures, creating unique images with his own interpretation, mood and atmosphere.
Alessio says he has always been fascinated by places that are evocative, where he can show something special and unique in his images. Below are a few additional images from Alessio to demonstrate his vision.
This image was made on January 6, 2017, while it was cold and raining. Despite the weather, Alessio did a solo hike in the mountains where he could feel alone in an enchanted forest. This self portrait was made in Wencheng, Zhejiang, China.
In this image, Alessio capture himself saying farewell to the end of milky way season in Sant’Anna D’Alfrado, Verona, Italy.