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Stage 14

Castiglione delle Stiviere > Desenzano del Garda TUDOR ITT

Castiglione delle Stiviere

This stage is a journey through the Italian Risorgimento and the scenic landscapes of Lake Garda. Although short, the racecourse - the second time trial of the Giro - offers a remarkable concentration of sights that require a stop. Castiglione delle Stiviere, immersed in the green setting of the Morainic Hills, is the heart of an area where nature, history, past and modernity intertwine in vital harmony. It is, for instance, the home of San Luigi Gonzaga, to whom the 17th-century Basilica di San Luigi is consecrated, which houses the precious relic of the skull of San Luigi Gonzaga. A visit to the International Red Cross Museum is of enormous historical and humanitarian value. Why is it located here? The Cathedral of Castiglione housed many wounded in the Battle of Solferino in 1859. A work of mercy that gave the Swiss Henry Dunant the idea to found the International Red Cross, whose museum, the first in the world inaugurated in 1959, preserves precious testimonies of those tragic events: carriages, stretchers, surgical instruments, relief tools. Of a very different tenor are visits to the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Palazzo Menghini and the curious Bridal Museum, inaugurated in 2018 by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a sort of modern art gallery of contemporary dresses that have paraded on international catwalks showing the excellence of Made in Italy.

The Risorgimento

Solferino commemorates the historic battle of 1859 with a remarkable Risorgimento Museum and the splendid Rocca, a 23-metre-high square tower. Built in 1022, it served as a strategic point of control of the area and used to be called ‘the Spy of Italy’ during the Risorgimento. The climb up the helicoidal wooden staircase to the summit offers a grandiose view as far as Lake Garda.
In San Martino della Battaglia, literally everything speaks of those dramatic days of 1859. Do not miss the 64-metre-high tower, at the foot of which another museum dedicated to the Risorgimento battles was built later, in 1880, thanks to an extensive popular petition. Now on the shores of Lake Garda, the Giro skims past Sirmione, a town dominated by the mighty Scaliger Castle located right at the entrance to the historic centre. Not far from there, on the tip of the Sirmione peninsula, the Catullus Caves stand on the remains of a Roman villa built between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. The ruins can be visited with a walk during which visitors can also linger in the adjacent Museum, with exhibits from various eras and the history of the area.

Desenzano del Garda

Desenzano's lakeside promenade is the best place to unwind after the day's effort: scenic and welcoming, it deserves a walk around the old harbour, the pier and the lighthouse, not forgetting the wide views to the opposite shore of the lake. Two-wheel enthusiasts should not miss the exhibition of vintage bicycles set up for the occasion in the Galleria Civica in Piazza Malvezzi. Also worth a visit is the castle area that dominates the town, perhaps built on a Roman castrum to defend against barbarian invasions, enlarged in the 15th century, when it enclosed 120 houses and a church dedicated to St. Ambrose. From its terrace, one of the most beautiful views of Lake Garda can be enjoyed.

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