We stayed in Cisano, a little village in the municipality of Bardolino (think wine, so much glorious wine) somewhere around halfway down the belly of the lake. (Lago di Garda is shaped a bit like a phallus, to be perfectly candid, which is apparently typical of a moraine valley – so belly or balls. I prefer the less gauche ‘belly’.) There isn’t a great deal happening in Cisano itself, save for a little boat pick-up and drop-off point, those occupying the campingplatz and handful of hotels, and a few bars – one with a spectacularly grumpy waiter.
But the spectacularly grumpy waiter was but an easily brushed-aside mosquito when our Aperol Spritzes (German style) came with this:
We spent most of our time in the village of Lazise, also a part of the municipality of Bardolino, because it was the closest village by foot that had the biggest array of restaurants, including what came to be our favourite, Rustico. Plus, the walk to Lazise which we did at least once a day, looks a little something like this:
Lazise teemed with (mostly) German, Austrian and Italian tourists, and there are seemingly three hundred pizzerias to cater to the hordes. The first night we went central but after that, stuck to a side street restaurant that you could slide into without entering the melee in the middle. And the pizza was superb. But even the tourists couldn’t stamp out the quaint beauty of Lazise’s tiny harbour, gelato buildings or old church. Or block the view of that sunset.
Bardolino as a region is famous for producing ruby red, highly drinkable wine, which we quaffed by the litre caraffe. More on that to come. The centre of Bardolino itself is, as most of the lakeside villages are, all stony laneways and colourful restaurants. We found a strange little wine bar away from the hordes of tourists filing through the narrows streets, and listened to an old Italian man with a thinning white bob and several drinks under his belt, entertain whoever happened to pass the bar. After a while he paid his tab and wobbled away on his bicycle and we went in search of lunch.
Coming up tomorrow: Malcesine and Sirmione.