The Rocca di Manerba is one of those places you would never get tired of going to. The view from the top of the rocky outcrop is so beautiful that it bewitches you every time. You can see much of the shores and conformation of Lake Garda. From Sirmione to Toscolano Maderno, from Bardolino to Salò. A sight for the eyes and also a perfect panorama for those with a passion for cameras.
Of course, selfies are always in fashion, but the camera in these cases is a must! I must admit that although it is a great place and it is only a few dozen kilometers from Brescia, I don’t go back there as often as I would like. It’s the usual argument that places nearby have less charm than places farther away, sometimes we know places on the other side of the World better than our own moors.
That’s why this article is part of Amazing Brescia, a side project that I try to pursue as a Brescian blogger. The Rocca di Manerba is just one of the many places to see in Brescia and its province, and in this case it is the ideal place to spend a relaxing Sunday in contact with nature in a fantastic setting.
The fortress of Manerba: brief historical notes
By “Rocca di Manerba” we mean both the spur-like conformation jutting out toward Lake Garda and the Rocca itself (understood as a fortification) present at the top. This important coastal stretch of the lake has been a landmark for man since prehistoric times.
The location was logically strategic and evidence and remains of a settlement dating back to the Mesolithic period (8000-500 B.C.) have been found, this underscoring that it was an ideal location for various settlements. This is also found in the three circuits of defensive walls of medieval origin and obviously in the Rocca itself at the top of the spur.
The Rocca di Manerba Park: the itineraries
The Rocca di Manerba is included within a larger area called“Rocca – Sasso Archaeological Nature Park” corresponding to an area of about 90 hectares in which are located:
- The Rocca di Manerba.
- The Sasso, or promontory below the Rocca with the high cliffs of sedimentary rocks overlooking Lake Garda.
- The whole coastal strip between Pisenze and Dusano.
Within the Rocca di Manerba Park there are numerous itineraries you can take, some more challenging others less so, all amidst the greenery and quiet that only nature can create. You can take a look at the various itineraries on this map or on the maps on the poster board on the site.
It should be noted that the park enjoys a special microclimate. The different geomorphological conditions combined with a certain type of sun exposure, have in fact favored the spread of numerous botanical varieties and rarities including wild orchids. The park is therefore a naturalistic oasis overlooking Lake Garda, not bad I would say.
Discovering Rocca di Manerba
Main starting point is near the visitor center, the museum and the refreshment bar. It is very convenient because there is a parking lot and in about 800 meters you get directly to the Rocca.
There is no charge for parking, and if you want to visit the Rocca on a public holiday, my advice is to arrive late in the morning at the latest so that you can still find room. From this point proceed on foot up the steep paved road that leads directly to the remains of the medieval fortress.
The area of the fortress has undergone an enhancement project to make access to the archaeological site easier. A main visitor route was equipped and an existing path was strengthened with wooden overpasses and parapets.
In addition, explanatory panels were placed in multiple languages to provide a better understanding of the history of the fortress.
The visitor center is not the only starting point. By looking at the map, one can arrange to walk along different paths leading to the Rocca. In fact, you can start the walk from other places by parking at the free parking areas in Montinelle or Pisenze. All walkable trails are well marked by the maps present.
The spur where the Rocca di Manerba rises is quite beaten and, during good weather days, it gets “crowded” quickly. It was because the view attracts so many people who, given the little difficulty of access, come for a walk. Many come with their dogs; access is allowed to them as well with the (obvious) caution of leaving it clean.
The most panoramic point of the Rocca di Manerba
From the top of the Rocca you will be able to see the spur that juts out toward Lake Garda. It may seem hardly possible to you, but there is a path that allows you to reach the Sasso in a few minutes’ walk. The path starts just below the cross present at the tip of the Rocca.
It is a rather challenging and imperviouspath and it would be recommended to use suitable footwear.
After several boulders and steps you will reach the short climb that will take you to the viewpoint where you can lie down and enjoy relaxing with a lake view.
Care must be taken on the Sasso, especially if you are going with children. The sheer cliffs have no protection and all it takes is a little carelessness and you could fall. Better to use caution.