Polpenazze del Garda lies on the hills of Valtenesi, on the western bank of Lake Garda but is only 3 Km away from the beaches of Moniga del Garda, Manerba del Garda and San Felice del Benaco. It is an ideal place for people looking to relax along with antique traditions.
Polpenazze del Garda owes its fame to its historical characteristics. On an island situated at the centre of Lake Lucone (drained between the 15th and 18th century) the remains of a lake-dwelling village were found, demonstrating that the area was already inhabited in the Bronze Age by a population which lived from hunting and fishing. These settlements are part of the Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built to defend against Hungarian invasions in the 10th century, Polpenazze castle was destroyed by the Visconti family at the beginning of the 15th century and reconstructed by Polpenazze in 1426. To allow the construction of the new parish church it was necessary to knock down the southern part and transform one of the towers on the walls into a bell tower. Today only the entrance to the medieval castle remains. The parish church of Santa Maria was constructed over almost the whole of the 16th century; it has a Baroque façade designed by Tagliaferri and paintings by Grazio Cossali, Pietro Marone and Bertanza. The church of San Pietro in Lucone, constructed in 1300 on the ruins of a Roman temple, externally has a Romanesque structure made up of gable-roofed façade and rose window, whereas inside we findfrescoes dating back to the 15th century. The church in Picedo, the town hamlet furthest down the valley, is dedicated to Sant’Antonio. This late Romanesque building with its single hall still sports the original gable roof and fired-brick tiles, as well as prized frescoes from the 16th century.
The town of Polpenazze del Garda is the main town where vineyards and olive oil are grown. More than 50% of the local wine comes from the vineyards here and grown mainly in the hamlet of Picedo. The most grown vineyard is Groppello followed by Barbera, Marzemino and San Giovese which are used to produce the young and fruty Chiaretto and the Rosso Riviera. Polpenazze is also the major olive oil producer. It is possible to buy wine and olive oil directly from the farmers and also at the local olive oil mill in Polpenazze. In Polpenazze lots of shows and exhibition take place. The Wine Festival of Polpenazze is well known and important at a national level. This takes place at the end of May and for the last 70 years has been showing the best of wine production. It is considered a showpiece for Lake Garda wine and every year it hosts oenological contests and lectures. Part of the well-known green of Garda Golf Country Club is situated in Polpenazze; one of the most famous and important golf courses in Italy spreads indeed between Manerba del Garda, Soiano del Lago and the Valtenesi hills.