Monzambano is a little village set in Mincio Park and on the hills surrounding Lake Garda. History and culture come together in harmony. The territory offers the visitor an evocative landscape where the vegetation and the environment inspire pleasant strolls following the river. The village is dominated by the ancient castle and protected by the wondeful church, whose panoramic position is such that the look embraces the underlying Mincio valley and, further still, the wide panorama of mount Baldo and the Pre-Alps in the Brescia and Verona territories. Castellaro Lagusello is part of the municipality of Monzambano; it has been part of the “Borghi più Belli d’Italia” (Nicest Villages in Italy) since 2002, has held a Touring Club “Bandiera Arancione” since 2008 and received UNESCO world heritage recognition in 2011 for the lake dwelling-prehistoric sites of which there are settlements around the lake as far back as the Bronze Age.
HISTORY
The village must have a Medieval feudal origin. The first documented news about it date back to 1199, the year Verona won over Mantua at Ponte Molino, after which Monzambano passed over to the Scalas, lords of Verona. The village followed the same destiny as the city: in 1495 they both passed under the rule of the Serenissima. A testimony of this passage is the winged lion symbolizing the Republic of Venice that can still be seen on the castle tower. For four centuries Monzambano followed the fortunes of the Republic of Venice. In 1797 the Castle of Monzambano became the stronghold of the Venetian army fighting against Napoleon Bonaparte who, after the Veronese Easter, advanced victoriously marching on to Venice. When Napoleon begun forming his Reign of Italy, Monzambano passed on from Verona to Mantua. Here begins another epoch for the village, in which it played a relevant role in the events of the Italian XIXth-century Risorgimento. As a matter of fact, its wavy fields beside the lake, coasted along by a river witnessed several momentuous battles: in 1848 the Savoy Carlo Alberto crossed the river Mincio, overwhelmed the enemy forces occupying Valeggio, Borghetto and Goito, and finally entered Peschiera. The event is evoked in a memorial stone beside the river. In 1859, after its victory in S. Martino in Monzambano, the Sardinian army established its headquarters in Villa Melchiori. On the eve of the Villafranca treaty, a stormy conversation between Vittorio Emanuele II, the Savoy king, and his Prime Minister, Camillo Cavour, took place just in these rooms; Cavour wanted to refuse the conditions of the armistice. In 1866 in Monzambano a new battle takes place against the Austrians; this battle would turn out to be decisive and, along with Bezzecca, it was the best success of the Savoy in this campaign.
WHAT TO SEE IN MONZAMBANO
The Church of Saint Michael – Monzambano has a stately church, built just along the edge of the plateau; at its back the Mincio valley, at the front a wide square. It was built around the middle of the XVIIth century. Its style is pure Baroque, harmonious and supple. Inside, it has precious and very fine marble inlaid works, and the pala behind the main altar, portraying the triumph of Saint Michael the Archangel (saint to whom the church is entitled) is worthy of note.
The Castle – It must date back to the time of the Hungarian invasion after the fall of the Roman Empire. It is encircled by walls, all in very good state, that surround the ancient core of the village overhung by the beautiful bell tower. You can access the castle from a wooden front door leading you to a courtyard; there you can also find a Chapel entitled to Saint Biagio.
The Little Church of the Discipline – In the Monzambano surroundings, it is well worth to visit the Little Church of the Discipline, the origins of which are Romanesque.
The Holy Trinity Church – The Holy Trinity Church (XIIth century) in the Olfino hamlet.
WHAT TO DO IN MONZAMBANO
Visitors cannot help but appreciate the assortment and superb quality of the local food and wines on offer, making this geographical area one of the best in terms of Italian cuisine. Art, culture and history abound in this land; and the opportunity to practice several kinds of sports in a beautiful naturalistic setting attracts the type of tourists who are attentive and sensitive enough to appreciate it. The mountain-bike tracks, the Mincio river for canoeing and angling, the paths for horse-riding and jogging or walking, all make this territory an ideal setting for fitness and sporting practice in a relaxing natural setting. Thermarium, saunas, massages as well as ayurvedical treatments complete the offer for the care of the body wellness. An unmissable chance for all cycle tourists is the “Mantova – Peschiera”, one of Italy’s most noted cycle routes. This route measures around 40 km long and mostly flat and suitable for the entire family. It crosses some of the most suggestive localities of the Garda Hills, in a countryside that has remained untouched. From Borghetto sul Mincio, a town that is listed in the Borghi più belli d’Italia with its Visconteo bridge a few minutes from Parco Giardino Sigurtà; at Volta Mantovanawith its Italian gardens of Palazzo Gonzaga, passing through Monzambano, Ponti to reach Mantova, a UNESCO heritage site featuring historic and architectural beauties, to form the crowning glory to a cycling path that has few equals in terms of beauty and suggestion. The richness and value of the food and wine on offer put this territory at the top of national cuisine, proposed by Country Homes, Restaurants, Eateries and Bistros (trattorie). The wineries that produce excellent wines welcome visitors and tourists with consideration and courtesy in charming settings; here the production of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is also high quality. The local animal husbandry produce excellent meats, cheeses and cold cuts thanks to the climate, the quality of the water and, in general, the wholesome environment.