Lake Garda Italy

Desenzano del Garda

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Here you can get useful travel information for Northern Italy. This travel guide is built with Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda Italy, as the base and it shows you daytrips you can take from there.

Lake Garda Italy

Desenzano del Garda

Day trips Italy

Churches of Verona

The Old Churches of Verona

One of Verona’s main attractions, for those who appreciate fine artwork and architecture, are the city’s many historical churches. Ranging in age over an impressive number of centuries, and with equally well-preserved artwork and frescoes by some of the best-known artists, a tour of Verona’s churches makes an interesting day out within easy reach from Lake Garda.

Most of the churches charge a small admission fee but you can buy a day ticket which gives discounted admission to the five main churches, or you can use the Verona card. The five main churches are:

The Basilica or Chiesa di Sant Anastasia,
The Duomo called Sanata Maria Assunta;
The Basilica San Zeno,
San Fermo Maggiore Church and
San Lorenzo Church.

One of the largest churches in Verona is the Church of St Anastasia. This huge church was built from 1290-1481. From the highly decorative ceiling to the many frescoes, there are wonderfully preserved works of art from the 14th to the 18th centuries. The Pellegrini chapel most notably houses the famous fresco ‘St. George and the Princess of Trebizond’ by Pisanello.

Grandest of all is the lovely Cathedral complex, known as the Duomo, and the nearby church of St Giovanni in Fonte, which is the Baptistery of the Cathedral itself. The porch has many wonderful statues and sculptures and on the lintel are three medallions representing faith, hope and charity. There are some beautiful paintings and frescoes inside the Cathedral, which was completed in 1187. Marble columns support the beautiful Gothic arcades and the chapels are filled with Renaissance artworks.

Visitors will certainly appreciate the beautiful triptych altarpiece in the Basilica San Zeno by Mantegna called the ‘Madonna, Angels and Saints’ which gives a wonderful focal point to the altar. The original church and convent were built in 806AD to preserve the relics of the saint, but most of the existing Romanesque style building dates back to the 12th century, after the earthquake of 1117. The beautiful rose window, known as the Wheel of Fortune, was completed around 1225. The bronze door panels show scenes from the Bible and from the life of San Zeno. There is a separate 72-metre high bell tower nearby and a Benedictine Tower, which is all that remains of the monastery which once stood here.

San Fermo Maggiore is quite impressive with its façade decorated with two loggias, mullioned windows and a burial court which dates back to 1300AD.

The small Romanesque Basilica of San Lorenzo is one of the finest in Verona. Spiral staircases lead up the cylindrical towers to the women’s galleries. Although quite plain inside, the striped stone and brick and the graceful arches make interesting features.

One further church worth visiting is the Church of San Stefano, which is an example of Veronese Romanesque architecture, built in the 12th century. It has some valuable paintings by Marcantonio Bassetti, a famous 17th century Veronese artist.