TG Tips- Brescia (Lake Iseo and Garda)

From 24th to 27th May 2012 I was fortunate enough to participate in a Blogger Trip with the enticing name of ‘Brescia by Boat, Colours and Flavours around Brescia’s Lakes’.  The trip was organised by the truly excellent www.bresciatourism.com

Having thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the hotels we stayed in, the places we visited and the incredible food we ate, the following is a contact summary for anyone who might wish to visit this area.

Out of fairness, the information is divided into two categories; the places, hotels and restaurants that hosted us (marked *) and, having fallen in love with the area, the places I discovered after staying on discovered alone (marked ª)

Accommodation

Lake Iseo

Sulzano Hotel Rivalago* – Oh my goodness! WHAT a place. My view from my double windows was of the heart-shaped tree that forms the centre piece of their splendid garden overlooking the lake. Boutique in style with just a few rooms. Gorgeous. On my next visit this will be the first place I look for (www.rivalago.com)

Lake Garda

Gardone Riviera Hotel Savoy* – Built in 1903 and for two years the ‘pied-a-lac’ of Churchill, this 60 room hotel is very impressive. The staff are super professional, friendly, the views are amazing, breakfasts great. Pool, steam bath, sauna, wifi, piano bar three nights a week. Clearly many regular clients, but NOT Boutique (www.savoypalace.it)

Gardone Riviera Hotel Dianaª – Any closer to the Lake, you’d be wet. Andrea, who has achy bones when it’s damp ‘frpm playing too much football’, is the super-friendly young owner. It’s the budget choice in town. A good, honest two-star Italian hotel. Clean, simple, no TVs (bliss) and not yet, wifi though. (www.hoteldianagardone.it/home.htm)

Restaurants, Trattorias, Pizzas

Lake Iseo

Sulzano Trattoria Cacciatore* – Best meal of the trip. Wonderful ‘signora’ runs the place with her husband. She even broke out into song a few times. Speciality of goose meat pasta was amazing. Above the lake with fantastic views. A small review in a Danish newspaper brought lots of my countrymen last year. Great place (www.trattoriacacciatore.it)

Clusane Sul Lago Trattoria Al Porto* – Fish, fish, fish and then some more… fish! Wow. You could throw the proverbial stone to the lake, from where all the fish comes. So many varieties, each with it’s own (only) way to be cooked. Don’t ask for steak! (www.alportoclusane.it)

Lake Garda

Lonato La Rocca Contesa* – Actually a few kilometers from the lake in a small village underneath a castle. Also a jazz cafe. Had the smelliest cheese of my life, but yum yum. Beatiful setting and try to combine with a visit to the weird and wonderful Casa del Podesta museum next door. (www.laroccacontesa.it)

Salo’ Antica Trattoria Alle Rose* – If the Cacciatore was the best for it’s rusticness, then this was the best for it’s refinedness, innovation and fusion. Gianni, the owner, is the president of the Slow Food organisation of the area. Their own olive oil, incredible fish, lovers of the Chiaretto (a local, delisious rose’ wine), this is eceptional dining (www.trattoriaallerose.it) Whenever I said I ate there other night, locals just say “ahhhh…” Enough said!

Gardone Riviera Pizzeria Ristorante Sans Souciª – After so much food I really just needed a simple, but good pizza! The owner when he heard that, escorted me to the kitchen and showed me his woodoven right away! Brilliant! He’s the inventor of a sort of pizza sandwhich called the Ossa (bone, in English). Huge, thin, wood fired. AND, Franziskaner on tap. Truly ‘no worries’ indeed! +39 (0)36521717

Other Things You Might Need, Want or be Interested in

Guide* – retried English teacher Prof. Ezio Vanni is in himself an experience. Through my work as a Tour Guide, I encounter A LOT of guides. This man is just wonderful. Passionate, knowledgable, capable of making time for coffee along the way. Slightly mad, but aren’t we all who work with tourists? Contact him through Brescia Story (www.bresciastory.it)

Private (or group) boats* – Consorzio Motoscafisti di Sirmione. Vincenzo likes speed and water. When you combine the two, it’s like riding a Ferrari on a wave. BUT, he can go slowly too and is very knowlegable of his area. For the lake you’ll need no other guide. Ask him to ‘have a go’ and he lets you steer. Loved it! (www.sirmioneboats.it)

Olive OilFrantoio Montecroce*. On a hill with views of Lake Garda. These guys have won prizes for the best light olive oil in the world. The setting is stunning and they do tastings with a bottle thrown in for a modest price. People had driven from Austria that day as I visited, just to buy tanks of the golden liquid. Really friendly, great oil, Italy at it’s best (www.frantoiomontecroce.it)

Amazing Bar and Just Flippin’ Treat Yourself MomentsGrand Hotel Gardone Rivieraª. I discovered this on a lake-side stroll one evening. A four-star hotel, also frequented by Churchill. Massimo, the head barman, knows all his quotes. Get a bottle of Franciacorta (cheap considering) at €55 ask for the best table, sip it, drink in the lake views, bathe in the atmosphere, soak up the ambience of the palm garden and if like me, you are lucky enough to be in excellent, beautiful company, you’ll have a evening to savour and swim in your memories for a long time (www.grangardone.it)

Wine, Franciacorta

Agriturismo Cantina Solive* – Beautiful hotel-cantine that produces wonderful Franciacorta wine, Italy’s answer to Champagne. They are friendly, will show you around, organise tastings and their cantine is even a bar frequented by many local workers on their way home from work. If you fancy an Italian wedding, you could do worse than their restaurant that’s for sure (www.solive.it)

Strada del Franciacorta* – If, like me, discovering new great wines, never gets tiring, then what better way than to follow a whole road of it? The area South of Lake Iseo is taken over by 110 producers of this champagne-like tipple. To learn more visit the website of www.stradadelfranciacorta.it and they can help you. Chin chin!


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