Rocca di Manerba
Manerba's Rocca is a rocky promontory overlooking the town of Manerba and is a fascinating natural reserve. Here you can find important historical findings and great wealth in flora and fauna. While descending the valley you can go discover the welcoming beaches of Lake Garda.
The Rocca's history
According to numerous findings dating back to the Mesolithic area, 8000 to 5000 years ago, the Rocca of Manerba has been inhabited since the prehistoric period.
After being colonised by the Etruscans, the Celts, and the Romans, a fortess was built in the middle ages, and thanks to new archeological research, defensive walls dating back to the 12th and 13th century were found.
The Rocca was first property of the Scala family, then the Visconti, and lastly of the Republic of Venice, who decided to destroy the medieval fortification in 1574 since it had become a bandit cove.
Visiting Manerba's Rocca
The Rocca's profile is recognisable from the majority of the western coast of Lake Garda, and it represents a fascinating point of reference for tourists and locals.
Thanks to restoration and recovery efforts today it's possible to visit the remains of the medieval castle and other structures that were erected on the promontory.
The path between the walls, the stairs and bridges twist and turn as it's accompanied by descriptive plaques and the wonderful landscape of Lake Garda.
The Rocca is easily reached from Manerba del Garda and you can access it by walking for only 10 minutes after parking your car in the car park near the museum.
The Visitors Center of the Natural Archeological Park of the Rocca of Manerba is also houses the Civic Archeological museum of the Valtènesi, which offers information both in English and Italian about the Rocca's history.
The The Natural Reserve of the Rocca, of the Stone, and Lake Park
The Rocca is part of a wonderful natural reserve of 900.000 square meters and its peculiarity is that it's part of both the Archeological and Natural Park of the Rocca and the Stone, and of the Lake Park of Manerba del Garda, the biggest lake park in Italy.
Thus the Reserve offers, in a limited space, a unique sample of plants native to varied climates, unique archeological findings and a park that protects the coastal strip of the lake and its fish fauna.
The antique origins of Manerba's Rocca, united with the peculiar environmental and climatic conditions, have favoured the development of a very unique ecosystem. Inside the Reserve are a dozen of well marked paths that can be easily walked through during the warm season.
Legends and Curious Facts about the Rocca
One of the most illustrious characters from Manerba del Garda is Alessandro Gualtieri, who was a priest during the Austrian domination over the territory. He was known for opening a free grammar school to teach locals to read and write, and for writing treaties about agriculture.
The Rocca of Manerba also has an interesting legend. According to this legend a vicious wolf that attacked locals lived on the promontory, and to solve this problem once and for all the inhabitants of the area decided to put a bounty on the wolf's head.
Three young men from neighbouring towns stepped up against this challenge. The first man, a hunter from Moniga, tried luring the Wolf with live bait, but was outsmarted by the wolf and thrown off the cliff.
The second man was a fisherman from Raffa and tried catching the wolf with a net, but he was outsmarted as well and fell into the deep waters. The third man was a farmer and he lured the wolf with fake howls, then confronted the wolf with a cross, ordering it to back off.
Frightened, the wolf kept staggering back until he fell off the cliffs as well. It is believed that the two young men who died in the attempt to capture this animal turned into rocks at the bottom of the cliff, and in celebration of the farmer's victory the town erected a big cross on the top of the Rocca.
Visiting Manerba del Garda
It is believed that the name “Manerba del Garda” is due to the presence of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Minerva, probably near the Rocca.
Some of the most important people who marked local history were Federico Barbarossa, who gave the Bishop of Verona rights over the town, and Giuseppe Garibaldi, who from Manerba studied the movements of Austrian troops in the early-mid 1800's.
Nowadays Manerba is known as a lively town immersed in the green hills of the Valtènesi. Aside from tourism, Manerba is known for the production of Garda olive oil, DOC wine, vegetables, and fish.
Near Manerba thre are hotels, camping sites, hamlets, and castles where you can have a picture perfect holiday of relax and well-being.
Manerba's shoreline is a 11km line filled with beaches. They're often adjacent to camping sites and offer the possibility to relax while bathing in the summer's sun or to enjoy the numerous water sports that Lake Garda has to offer.
Structures in the area offer the chance to rent canoes, pedal boats, beach beds and beach umbrellas. The most beautiful beaches in Manerba are the Baia Bianca (white bay), and the Romantica Beach (Romantic beach). A harder to reach beach is the Rocca beach, often frequented by nudists.
See more info about: Manerba: its beaches and surroundings
Events in Manerba del Garda
Various events like festivals, markets, and gastronomic evenings liven the pleasant and cool summer nights, but Manerba offers its visitors a program rich in events all year long.
A nice venture for children is the treasure hunt in the ruins of the Rocca's castle that takes place in August, as well as the tourist train that moves around the town in various streets of Manerba in the summer.
During the summer there's also the chance to enjoy the outside cinema and a few guided visits of the Rocca with tastings of the best enogastronomic products of the area.
During the winter holidays Manerba sets up a mechanic nativity scene, with over 500 moving animatronics that cover an area of 240 square meters.