- Food & Wine
Lake Garda’s limonaie
On Lake Garda to discover the ancient lemon groves between Limone del Garda and Toscolano. A taste of the Mediterranean, in Lombardy
As you slowly follow the winding road along the shore of Lake Garda, a number of striking stone structures appear in the distance: they are the Limonaie, a series of high pillars arranged on several levels that line the road between Limone del Garda and Toscolano.
The high stone pillars distributed along the terraces are enriched with perfume and color during the season when the lemons and oranges begin to ripen, peeking out between the green leaves.
This is the northernmost area where citrus fruits grow in Italy: it is thanks to the protection of these structures, which are perfectly inserted in the natural landscape, that we can enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean on the shores of Lake Garda.
The tradition of the Limonaie is lost in time: there is a painting from 1658 in Limone’s rectory that depicts Saint Anthony against a background containing Limonaie. Some literature claims that the Limonaie were first used even earlier, in 1400: the tradition, which has survived into the modern day, allows us to enjoy a view that can only be seen in this part of Lombardy.
The Limonaie, which are naturally protected on three sides, are exposed in the summer, but closed in November with glass sheets and wood to offer suitable protection for the lemon, citron and orange trees in winter. When temperatures are especially cold, fires are lit inside the structures to ensure that the plants are warm enough to cope with the season and to continue to thrive when the first warm sun of spring appears.
Eye-catching from a distance and beautiful inside, some of the Limonaie that still stand between Limone and Toscolano are open to visitors. It is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in past tradition and to enjoy the magnificent views offered by the lakeside structures.