Traditions on Lake Garda

Autumn has finally come: colours are changing, the air is crisp and the days are shorter and shorter. It’s time to resume the routine after summer, but this period is the right moment to rediscover all the traditions of our territory to hand them down to the next generations.


Grape harvest is one of the most important ones. It has started in September, and it continues in October among the hills of Valpolicella and Lake Garda. Every year since 1929 in Bardolino takes place the traditional Festa dell’Uva, a festival in honour of the wine Bardolino, which is produced in this area. During grape harvest, then, many wineries organise events to celebrate the highpoint of wine season. At the end of October, you will have the possibility to taste vino Novello that is characterized by its fruity scent, roundness and harmony of flavour.


With mild temperatures on Lake Garda local families are committed to olive harvest. In this period, it is not unusual to see nets on the ground and ladders among olive trees, which are fundamental to harvest these precious fruits. Olive farming has a very ancient origin: it goes back to the romans! Nowadays it remains a very important tradition. Thanks to the mild Mediterranean microclimate that Lake Garda provides to this area, this is the northernmost latitude in the world where oil is produced. The extra virgin olive oil Garda DOP is characterized by an intense green colour and a delicate and elegant flavour.


Every year, during the weekends between the end of November and the beginning of December the traditional Festa del Marrone di San Zeno DOP is held. In fact, it is in this period that chestnuts are ready to be harvested. The cultivation of chestnuts dates to the Middle Ages and has represented a very important economic resource: these fruits were a basic element of the diet for people living in the mountains, who used chestnuts for many recipes. The fruits of lesser quality were used to nurture pigs. The trade of chestnuts began in the XIX century, at first in the local weekly markets and then though sellers. In the 1920s in San Zeno di Montagna the first Festa delle Castagne was set up with the traditional Mostra Mercato dei Marroni. In this period, many local restaurants propose a menu based on chestnuts. Also, it is possible to find the “Castanea”, which is a beer made of chestnuts. 


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