Malcesine Italy is a small lakeside town about 25 miles northwest of Verona. With a history reaching back to Etruscan times and later made popular by the German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in the late eighteenth century, Malcesine has long been a popular travel destination. In addition to many historical artifacts found in the area, the town's long history is evident in its Etruscan graves, medieval lanes, and Venetian buildings. It is also convenient to many other Lake Garda resort towns, including Riva and Limone, with regular ferries making travel in between these towns easy. If you prefer, catch a bus or train to nearby Verona or on to Venice and the Veneto region of Italy.
Malcesine is near the narrow northern end of Italy's largest lake, Lake Garda. Situated between the lake and the mountain ridge of Monte Baldo, the stunning natural beauty around Malcesine has often been compared to a fjord. The resources of the surrounding area make the area a mecca for outdoors enthusiasts. While the beaches of Lake Garda are known for sunbathing, Malcesine is also popular for hiking, cycling, and paragliding. To the south of Malcesine, a lakefront promenade leads to additional sunbathing areas that rent lawn chairs and umbrellas. Continue south to the picturesque Val di Sogno, meaning Valley of Dreams, with additional Malcesine hotels, beaches for sunbathing, a station for water sports, and a private villa with its very own cable car.
One of the best ways to experience Malcesine is to take the cable car, which ascends more than 5,400 feet up Monte Baldo. Well-known as the only rotating cable car in Europe, it slowly spins 360 degree to give every passenger a chance to see all the breathtaking views of the lake and mountains. At the end of the ten-minute ride to the top, travelers will reach several restaurants, a bar, a sun lounging area, and a playground for children. There are also trailheads for hiking and biking on Monte Baldo, as well as lookouts of some of the most stunning vistas in the area.
Travelers will find the most hotels, restaurants and shopping in central Malcesine. Shops selling fine Italian leather and mouthwatering gelato fill the town's cobbled piazzas, and the small harbors are lined with restaurants and cafés. Travelers interested in history shouldn't miss Palazzo dei Capitani. Meaning the Captain's Palace, this fifteenth-century building served as the headquarters of the Capitani del Lago during Venetian rule of the area. The palace's lakeside gardens, library, and frescoed walls are especially fascinating.
The most prominent feature of Malcesine Italy is Malcesine Castle. Its 101-foot high tower can be seen all throughout Malcesine. Known to the locals as Castello Scaligero, the castle was named after the della Scala family of Verona, who cared for and built onto the castle during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It is not known exactly when the original castle was first built, but historians estimate the original building to have taken place during the reign of the Longobards, between the sixth and ninth centuries. Since then, the castle has been destroyed, rebuilt, altered, and fortified by the various rulers of the area throughout the centuries, including the Venetian Republic, the French and the Austrians. Malcesine Castle is now home to the Museo Castello Scaligero, three well-appointed museums showcasing the natural history of the castle and the area and an exhibition on the influence of Goethe. Visitors can climb to the top of the Malcesine Castle tower for one of the best views of Malcesine.