One of the most beautiful villages in Italy is waiting for you! Come to the province of Verona and discover the unique charm of Borghetto sul Mincio!
Borghetto sul Mincio is a hamlet of the small municipality of Valeggio sul Mincio, in the province of Verona, Veneto. Its name derives from the term “fortified settlement” in the Lombard language. The birth of its urban conformation, in fact, dates back to that period.
During the mediaeval period, Borghetto sul Mincio appeared as a minimal settlement, a feud of San Zeno, with the aim of representing the place where one had to pay the tax to be able to cross the wooden bridge that crosses the small village.
The various structures surrounding it were built in successive eras such as the Scaligera and Visconti periods. The transformation into a fortified town took place during those years. Thus the walls, the corresponding control towers, the ditch filled with water and the two entrance gates were erected.
In 1405, Borghetto sul Mincio became an integral part of the Venetian Republic and in the 17th century, it became the scene of the French crossing for the War of the Spanish Succession. Borghetto del Mincio was also the scene, in 1796, of the famous battle in which Napoleon defeated the Austrians.
In 1954, Borghetto sul Mincio was the setting for some scenes of the film “Senso” by Luchino Visconti, and during the 20th century, intense restoration work redeveloped the houses, rooms and public spaces of this magnificent place. This allowed it to become what is now called one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
As the perfect destination for a romantic weekend getaway, Borghetto sul Mincio is ready to welcome you among the Morenic Hills of Garda with a typical medieval air, enriched by mills and small alleys that strongly characterise it. Especially suitable for weekends or day trips typical of the autumn-spring period, Borghetto sul Mincio can still excite you all year round!
Stay with me because now we will not only go together to discover all the secrets of Borghetto sul Mincio, but also its surroundings! Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful romantic weekend or to visit this town in all its beauty! Art, culture, good food and wonderful landscapes are just some of the keywords of this wonderful destination.
What are you waiting for? Let’s go! 👇
What to see in Borghetto sul Mincio?
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Visitable in a few hours, Borghetto sul Mincio is the perfect destination not only for day trips but, as already mentioned, also for romantic weekends. Let’s discover together what to see in this magnificent medieval village on the River Mincio!
1. Visconti Bridge
Ponte Visconteo is the long bridge that will welcome you as soon as you arrive in Borghetto sul Mincio. Overlooking the river, this bridge was built in the late 1900s for the purpose of defending Verona. Crossed by car, the bridge is simultaneously crossed by people on foot. Here you can admire in front of you, the beautiful Scaligero Castle standing on a nearby hill.
2. Alleys and mills
A few steps from the village, you can hear the rustling of the water of the River Mincio as it is about to cross Borghetto. Right here, among the streets, small bridges, alleys and lovers’ locks whose key is thrown into the river, you can admire the beauty of the majestic and enormous water mills that stand among the village streets. Unfortunately, some of them are no longer in motion, but you can hunt for the ones still in operation by following their sound. Relax surrounded by the sound of the water and the soothing rotation of the mills themselves! Don’t forget to throw a lucky coin into the bucket with “good luck” written on it that you will find near the first mill!
3. Church of St Mark the Evangelist
Built in the 10th-11th centuries, the building has undergone several restorations and structural modifications over the centuries. The building you can admire today is an extension of the original. This project dates from around 1670 to 1720. The reconstruction was completed in 1759 and from that time, very little remained of the original medieval and Baroque church. If you ask the parish priest, you will be able to visit the old cemetery. The oldest and most significant tombstones of local history are collected here. You will also be able to admire the triconic apse of the old Romanesque church, the only part that has survived the restoration work carried out over the years.
4. Ponte San Marco or Ponte di Legno
You absolutely cannot miss this magnificent vantage point in Borghetto sul Mincio. Called “Ponte di Legno” (Wooden Bridge) by the locals, Ponte San Marco is a wooden bridge connecting the two banks of the small village. Recently reconstructed, it houses the famous Statue of San Giovanni Nepumoceno. The restoration work was commissioned by the municipal administration of Valeggio sul Mincio. The restoration work lasted from February to May 2017.
5. Statue of St. John of Nepomuk
St John of Nepomuk is a Bohemian martyr. Set within the medieval walls, a statue stands in his honour. Tradition and legend have it that this statue protects from drowning all those who fall into the waters of the River Mincio. It is no coincidence, in fact, that the statue itself stands right next to the watercourse! A very special curiosity is that a statue like this can also be found in Prague, on the Charles Bridge. According to an ancient legend, touching it would bring a good ten years of luck!
What to see in Valeggio sul Mincio?
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Just 27 km from Verona, Valeggio sul Mincio is the village crossed by the first stretch of the Mincio river, the main outlet of Lake Garda, located a few kilometres further north. Situated on the opposite bank of the river from the hamlet of Borghetto sul Mincio, this village is just as rich in history and culture and, above all, it is very easy to reach. All you have to do is cross the Ponte Visconteo bridge to get there. Let’s discover together what to see in nearby Valeggio sul Mincio!
1. Castello Scaligero with the Round Tower
The Castello Scaligero is the ancient fortress that, more than any other monument, represents the town of Valeggio sul Mincio. A place where the development of the Veneto plain began, this castle displays the medieval splendour typical of the 14th century in all its grandeur. To reach it, you can take a walk among the elegance of the Art Nouveau villas that make up Valeggio sul Mincio until you reach the narrow slope leading to the top of the hill on which the fortress stands.
All that remains today of the oldest fortress is the “Torre Tonda” (Round Tower). Dating back to the 10th century, this horseshoe-shaped tower is the only element to have survived an earthquake in 1117 and the modifications it underwent over the centuries. The remaining structure of the castle is in fact four centuries more recent. In ancient times, the Castello Scaligero was connected to Borghetto by the Scaliger Bridge. From the courtyard, you can admire a breathtaking view over the valley the castle overlooks.
2. Villa Maffei Sigurtà
Not far from Castello Scaligero stands Villa Maffei Sigurtà. Built in the 17th century, it is historically important as it was the seat of the Habsburg Empire in north-eastern Italy. The villa was also the residence of Napoleon III for about a month. Emperor Franz Joseph also lived here before the mansion became the seat of the Habsburg Empire.
Currently privately owned but fully open for visits and rental for parties and ceremonies, the villa is located adjacent to a park. This is the Sigurtà Garden Park, where you can admire the first spring blooms and a myriad of tulips and other flowers. The park, winner of the “Most Beautiful Park in Italy” award in 2013, is home to a labyrinth of hedges from all over the world. Here, thanks to a small train, you can take a guided tour of the entire park.
3. Church of San Paolo in Cattedra
The Church of San Paolo in Cattedra has a main façade adorned with an enormous bronze entrance door, created in 2006 in honour of the 200th anniversary of its consecration. Erected in 1753 on the remains of an old church, it is fully neoclassical in style. Half of the exterior façade is incomplete, but inside there is an imposing nave and, on the left, a magnificent pipe organ from 1812. Completely restored, this organ is still working.
4. City Centre of Valeggio
Continuing on foot from the Church of San Paolo in Cattedra, you will find yourself in Via Roma. Walking along it, you will reach Piazza Carlo Alberto where you can admire the Town Hall. The main façade is characterised by an imposing entrance door. Here you will be able to admire a series of columns supporting the balcony on which the door to the vast council chamber opens. During French rule, which lasted from 1805 to 1815, the palace underwent substantial transformations. Here, the country’s first coffee shop was opened. You can also admire the large clock, surmounted by an elegant marble bell tower that tends to emphasise the neoclassical forms of the entire structure.
5. Guarienti Palace
Home to the Municipal Library, this palace has been entirely renovated. It takes its name from its former owners. The Guarenti family from Verona used this palace as their country residence. In neoclassical style, the building was designed by architect Piero Ceroni, one of Verona’s lesser-known architects of the 18th century. Ceroni was active in Valeggio between 1770 and 1775, a period in which he dedicated himself to the design of Palazzo Guarenti.
On the main façade you can admire a plaque commemorating the night of 30 May 1796, the night when, during the Italian campaign, Napoleon Bonaparte risked being captured by the Austrians. A further plaque on the centenary of his death also commemorates Don Giovanni Beltrame, missionary, explorer and scholar.
What to see around Borghetto sul Mincio?
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In the surroundings of Borghetto sul Mincio, you can visit unique places and locations. These include the aforementioned Sigurtà Garden Park with Villa Sigurtà, but also the more famous Lake Garda. Here, you will be able to travel to towns such as Peschiera del Garda, Lazise, Bardolino, Verona and to the Valpolicella wine region.
Peschiera del Garda, with a population of around 11,000, boasts an influx of tourists of around 2.4 million per year. This places it in 21st place among Italian destinations. Here, there are two of the ancient settlements in the Alps that have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2011. Peschiera del Garda is surrounded by a fortress that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017.
Lazise, located on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, is a town of great artistic value with remarkable architectural elements of great historical importance. Lazise counts on the presence of a thermal spring in Colà, amusement parks, including the world-famous Gardaland, and an extensive agricultural landscape in the hills. Lazise ranks first among all Italian lake tourist destinations.
In Bardolino you can admire the beautiful landscape and take part in the many cultural events that take place throughout the year. Located on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, Bardolino is the hometown of important food and wine specialities such as the famous Bardolino wine and the delicious Garda PDO extra virgin olive oil.
Not far away, you can visit Valpolicella, home of the world-famous and renowned Amarone della Valpolicella DOC wine. The area has been renowned for its wines since the times of ancient Rome, but also for the extraction of the red marbles of Verona.
Verona, the capital of the province of the same name in the Veneto region, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique urban and artistic heritage. It is famous for the renowned Arena di Verona and for being the birthplace of the world’s two most famous lovers, Romeo and Juliet.
What to do in Borghetto sul Mincio?
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One of the first things to do when you arrive in Borghetto sul Mincio is undoubtedly to stroll around for a good hour or so aimlessly. You will wander through the little streets and magical alleys of the village, admiring its unique architecture enriched by the many mills that line your route. A relaxing stroll, thanks also to the soothing sound of flowing water.
You can also go shopping in the city centre and sit down for a good coffee in one of the many cafés in the area. After a romantic dinner, don’t miss the opportunity to take a stroll around the night town. In the evening, the lights come on and Borghetto sul Mincio changes clothes. It is absolutely worth it!
For the more enthusiastic instead, it will be possible to take trekking walks thanks to the many trails in and around Borghetto. These are many looped itineraries that therefore have as their starting and finishing point, the small village. For bicycle lovers, on the other hand, a large number of routes are offered, such as the Peschiera del Garda-Borghetto-Mantova cycle path, with bike hire. The choice can be traditional bicycles or the latest generation with electrically assisted pedalling.
Photography lovers will be able to indulge themselves with shots, thanks to the wonderful views that Borghetto sul Mincio offers them. Both by day and by night!
Little ones, on the other hand, will be able to immerse themselves in a super memorable medieval experience! Thanks to characteristic shops such as the one at the entrance to the town, in fact, which offers customers helmets, bows and swords, they will be able to dress up like the little knights of yesteryear! What better place than Borghetto sul Mincio, with its unique mediaeval style, to give them such an immersive experience, making them travel with their minds?
An alternative to this evocation of the past could be amusement parks such as Gardaland, Movieland, Cavour The Waterpark or Caneva Acquapark, all just a few kilometres away.
Local food and wine
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If you are a good food lover, Borghetto sul Mincio is ready to welcome you with open arms. Here you will find typical dishes and wines that will remain in your heart! Not to be missed are the Tortellini di Valeggio.
These are small handmade tortellini made according to an ancient traditional recipe. These tortellini are also called “love knot”. According to tradition, in fact, they originated from the legend of the Valeggio sul Mincio love knot, which tells of the love story between Captain Malco and the nymph Silvia. The two lovers left on the banks of the river Mincio, a yellow silk cloth with a knot, a pledge of their thwarted love. Hence, the Tortellini di Valeggio!
The dough of these tortellini is made of flour and egg, while the inside encloses a delicious mixed meat filling made of veal, beef, chicken and pork. This is the traditional recipe, but you can, of course, also come across variations that are more or less imaginative or depart from tradition. You can also enjoy variants made with a filling of seasonal vegetables. Usually the classic Tortellini di Valeggio are served in broth or with butter and sage. The choice is yours!
On the other hand, if you are a wine lover, you can taste excellent products such as Custoza DOC or Bardolino DOC, both typical of the eastern area of Lake Garda. To the roll-call of traditional local specialities, there is certainly no lack of Pesca di Verona PGI, a brand that characterises and encompasses a large number of yellow peaches, white peaches and white nectarines, grown in this area. Another typical fruit is the Verona Kiwi, characterised by unique organoleptic qualities.
Dessert lovers will be delighted by the chocolate tortellini, made with a sheet of sugar, water, cocoa butter and chopped chocolate. The filling is also sweet, but each pastry shop secretly guards its own recipe. Try them all!
Save some room, though, for the Rose Cake. This is a cake whose birth dates back to 1490, the year of the wedding between Francesco II Gonzaga and the young Isabella d’Este. Taking its name from its typical shape representing a bridal bouquet formed by roses, this cake is very soft and sweet. It only remains for me to wish you bon appétit!
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The most important annual events are “Tortellini e dintorni”, in which the knot of love is celebrated for three days from 6 to 8 September. During the Christmas festivities, the “Christmas Gift” is held in which local handicrafts are celebrated. During Easter, an egg hunt is organised in the Sigurtà Garden Park , while during the very first days of September, the Weekend of Taste is celebrated. The entire food and wine culture of the area is honoured, with tastings of wines, dishes and typical foods.
How to get there
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Just a few minutes from Borghetto sul Mincio, there are bus or train stops. You can in fact use line 46 or line 50 of the APAM, Mantua’s public service, or get off the train at Borghetto sul Mincio station.
Travelling by car, you will have to take the A4 in the direction of Venice, exit at Peschiera del Garda, follow the signs for Valeggio sul Mincio/Parco Sigurtà and, once there, those for Borghetto sul Mincio. An alternative is to take the exit for Sirmione and drive along the beautiful countryside leading to Borghetto.
Once you have arrived, you can park your car in the pay car parks (1.50€/h) in Via Buonarroti 24 and Via Mantegna. If travelling by plane, the nearest airport is Verona.
Now that you know what to see in Borghetto sul Mincio, I wish you a pleasant trip to Veneto! 😉
Cover photo: pixabay, FriedrichMaier
Highlighted photos: pixabay, pcdazero