From the southern tip of Lake Garda to the historic city of Mantua lies a special stretch of Italian beauty: the Mincio River. Flowing peacefully over 70 kilometres, the river passes through many places of interest, making it an ideal strategic point to leap from. Perfect for family holidays or romantic escapes, the banks of the Mincio River combine natural beauty with man-made treasures. Let’s discover what it has to offer.
From the famed Lake Garda, the river crosses through Valeggio Sul Mincio, a beautiful fort town renowned for its tortellini (see below) and its picturesque castle, which has been dominating the landscape since the 13th century.
Valeggio’s next-door neighbour, Borghetto Sul Mincio, is so quaint it’s like stepping into a fairy tale. This almost unreal village is often said to be the prettiest village of Italy. Stone houses, ancient watermills, a medieval bridge, and just a few inhabitants make this tiny place the most romantic gateway.
Finish up with the Renaissance town of Mantua, nestled in between three lakes at the other end of the Mincio River, and don’t forget to pay Romeo and Juliet a visit in Verona, located just half an hour away from the river.
The Sigurta Gardens, right by Valeggio Sul Mincio and just a few kilometres away from Verona, are probably one of the most beautiful parks in the world.
The Sigurta family, who acquired the terrain in 1941, had a clear vision: to turn the arid land into a heaven of greenery. And so, they did. Covering an area of 60 hectares, the park is an oasis of woodland, lakes, grass carpets, flower beds, ornamental and medicinal gardens, a rose avenue and the oldest occupant of the park - also one of its most popular attractions – an oak tree aged no less than 4 centuries.
Sigurta Gardens are simply a paradise for botanists and nature lovers, and a great family day out. Children can also enjoy a playground, as well as a farm visit.
CyclingA great way to visit these different parts of the riverbanks is by cycling.
River Mincio is the pathway of an important cycling trail: Ciclabile del Mincio, or the River Mincio Cycle Route, binding Peschiera del Garda in the north with Mantua in the south.
The path is signposted throughout and provides many resting points with facilities, so get your pedals on and enjoy family cycling in the scenic company of River Mincio.
Family FunGardaland, adjacent to Lake Garda, is one of the world’s most top-rated amusement parks.
Offering larger-than-life dragons, fantasy rides, speed-thirsty rollercoasters, magical worlds and a jolly good atmosphere, Gardaland is a fantastic family day out.
Learn a bit about sea life with Sea-Life, Gardaland’s massive aquarium and another treat for the whole family. With more than 200,000 creatures, expect to come into close contact with an impressive sea universe!
FoodDon’t dare think spaghetti. Forget lasagne. it’s all about tortellini here. And proudly so.
And in this heavenly tortellini headquarters, we have two golden winners; Tortelli di Zucca alla Mantovana, the delicious tortellini of Mantua filled with a blend of pumpkin flesh, amaretti biscuits and Mantuan mustard, and Valegio tortellini, the signature dish of the area.
Home-made and filled with meat, the famous tortellini of Valeggio are weaved into an old local legend; the ‘Love Knot’. The legend goes that a local captain fell madly in love with a nymph living in the River Mincio. The nymph produced a handkerchief tied in a knot for her beloved, to remind him of their undying love. Inspired by this legend, residents have been tying pasta into knots and so are born the tortellini!
A tribute to the legend comes alive every year in June when Borghetto hosts the very special ‘Love-Knot festival’. Over 600,000 tortellini are handmade for the occasion, savoured in a party atmosphere celebrating love and tortellini!
Valeggio sul Mincio