At the western tip of Lake Garda is the old port of Desenzano. The
name comes from Decentianum which was used to describe the farm, country
estate and residence of a very rich Roman, Decentius.
though a reminder of Decentius, there still stands the ruins of
a Roman villa, which are amongst the most important remains of ancient
Rome. Within the one hectare there are sculptures, cooking tools,
lamps and jewellery, all giving evidence of wealth and good living.
Desenzano is the only proper town on Lake Garda,
with a population of 20,000, and with the restored warehouses and
houses along the harbour, Porto Vecchio, it is a reminder of the
hey days of Roman trading. The old port was rebuilt in 1404, now
it is full of pretty yachts, bobbing gently on the lake.
These days it is considered to be one of the most
cosmopolitan towns, particularly amongst Italian tourists, who go
there not only to relax on the shingle beaches, but also to quietly
meander around the narrow streets, shopping in the fashionable shops,
or enjoying the ambience in the cafés. For the more energetic,
there are plenty of water sports on offer, and once the sun has
sunk, there are numerous bars and discos to visit.
Apart from the shops there is the open air market
that has been on the same site since 15th century.
There are excellent ferry and hydrofoil connections
to Venice and Verona, making Desenzano a good base for exploring,
tours can easily be arranged at one of the many hotels.