Northwest of Verona is scenic Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake, offering Roman ruins and 12th-century castles.
Although some of Lake Garda's towns are now a bit overbuilt (tourists pack the area in July and August), there are still some lovely little villages along its shores, including Malcesine (where you can ride a high-tech cable car with rotating cabins up to Monte Baldo) and Torri del Benaco, both on the eastern shore.
At the head of the lake, Torbole is a paradise for windsurfing and sailing. On the western shore, also at the upper end of the lake, in a truly spectacular setting, is the trendy, upscale Riva del Garda.
On the southern shore, at the end of a slender peninsula jutting into the lake, is Sirmione, with quiet cobblestoned streets, thermal baths, a castle, olive and lemon groves, and Roman ruins. Ferry and hydrofoil services are available on the lake.
Not far from Sirmione is the quaint town of Desenzano del Garda, a former fishing village with a perfectly preserved 16th-century square complete with a castle and cathedral.
Lake Garda is a nice place to relax for at least a night—and a possible base for attending the opera in Verona if hotels in the city are booked.
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