It covers an area of 369.98 km². The landscape has a picturesque character due to the deep blue water, the oleanders, the lemon trees, and the cypresses.
Lake Garda is located in the regions of Lombardy ( province of Brescia ), Trentino-South Tyrol ( province of Trento ), and Veneto ( province of Verona ). The lake is nicknamed Benaco, with the emphasis on the second syllable.
Lake and landscape.
In morphologically respect, the large body of water is divided into two parts. The northern part is narrow and wedged between steep mountains, making it reminiscent of a Scandinavian fjord. The southern part ends in a wide basin where the peninsula of Sirmione impresses.
There are seven small islands in the lake:
- Garda Island ( Isola di Garda ), which lies in front of San Felice
- San Biagio, by the rock of Manerba
- Trimelone at Cassone
- Sogno en Olivo, close to Malcesine
- the rocky islands of Altare and Stella
To the east of the lake is the Monte Baldo with its peaks, the Altissimo (2078 m), the Pozzette (2218 m), and the Telegrafo (2200 m). The steep limestone slopes offer a varied sight right up to the bank with meadows, forests, rocks, hills and valleys, scars of stone avalanches, cypresses, olive groves, vineyards, and here and there some houses and a few small villages.
The west coast between Riva and Gargnano consists of steep rocks, sometimes rising vertically from the lake, with peaks of the Pari (1991 m), Carone (1621 m), Denervo (1460 m), and the Pizzardo (1582) high above the sharp mountains. m).
Quite a few narrow valleys intersect the steep mountainsides. The main ones are:
- Valley of Ledro, which to Ponale runs
- the Toscolane Valley, through which the Valvestino flows
- the valley of the Sarca, in the far north of the lake, near Arco, Riva, and Torbole
The Sarca River has deposited flat areas of land from the sediment it carries with it.
The lake south of the mountain walls looks completely different. There are no cliffs here and roads carved into the rock along the shore. On the west side from Gargnano, the shore is flat, only at the Rock of Manerba it becomes a bit steep and high (218m), but from here to Desenzano and Peschiera, the bottom is flat, and that remains until the rock of San Vigilio Garda.
The Quaternary is characterized by ice ages interspersed with warmer interglacial periods. During the Ice Ages, the ice caps at the north and south poles grew, and the mountains’ glaciers. The creation of Lake Garda is, therefore, a result of this glacier effect.
The gorge near Riva del Garda was eroded into a U-valley by the glacier. As the glacier moved further south, it began to melt due to the high temperatures. During this sliding process, a moraine was formed. This form of terminal moraine extends in an arc around the end of the glacier tongue.
These moraines formed a barrier to meltwater during the Quaternary warmer periods so that the area behind the moraines eroded by the glacier was filled with (melt) water. This process has become visible with the creation of Lake Garda.
In addition to the previously mentioned river Sarca, several smaller rivers flow into Lake Garda; include the Varone, the Abola, and the Ponale in the north, and the San Giovanni (near Limone ), Campione (near San Michele), the Brasa, Toscolano, Bornico and the Barbarano in the west of the lake. The rivers on the east side of the lake are generally quite small and short.
The only navigable river is the Mincio. It flows south at Peschiera from Lake Garda, to flow south of Mantua into the Po.
Lake Garda was so seriously polluted by industrial discharges and tourist waste, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, that it became a threat to tourism — a major income source around Lake Garda.
Large-scale environmental measures were introduced so that the water is now cleaner and healthier.