GardaConcierge‘s exploration of the natural wonders in the Lake Garda area continues with the parks east of Lake Garda. These three marvellous grassy areas are not to be missed out on during a nature holiday on Lake Garda!
Botanical Garden Monte Baldo – Ferrara di Monte Baldo
The botanical garden is located inside the science and nature park of Novezzina, in the town of Ferrara di Monte Baldo. The park, built in 1989, comprises an area of about 20,000 square metres. The garden is home to plants and flowers from the mountainous region on the eastern part of Monte Baldo, situated at 1200 metres above sea level. The botanical garden serves for the purpose of preservation and didactic and scientific aims. Its surface is limited, allowing the visitors to explore the ecosystems created here without having to cover long distances or climb high altitudes. The micro-environments and ecosystems of the botanical garden emulate natural conditions as much as possible. Among the species in this green paradise are also the typical plants of Monte Baldo that have survived the glacial periods owing to their specific location above the Adige Valley and the Lake Garda area. The visit follows a route with various info points and learning stations, with a label for every species. This new itinerary is disabled accessible. Visitors can buy local products at the “Bottega dello Speziale” shop. The science and nature park of Novezzina also boasts of the only accesible observatory in the province of Verona. The observatory, run by the Veronese amateur astronomy society, is open to the public on special evenings and during guided visits and conferences. The science and nature park of Novezzina is located on the provincial road 8 and is open all year-round. For further information regarding opening hours and more, we recommend a visit to the park website*.
Sigurtà Garden Park – Valeggio sul Mincio
Even if the Sigurtà garden park has been accessible only since 1978, some of the plants on this marvellous green in Valeggio sul Mincio attest to its century-long history. Located at the foot of the Moraine hills and close to Lake Garda, the park comprises 60 hectares and boasts various points of interest. The great lawn is one of them – an extensive grassland with water lily lakes full of koi carps and a weeping willow providing shade. The most well-known place is probably the rose avenue, a one-km long alley, along which more than 30.000 roses in various colours perfume the entire alley. The rose avenue has become the symbol of the Sigurtà garden park due to an optical illusion: it seemingly leads to the Scaliger castle in Valeggio sul Mincio that is in fact located outside the park. A maze is a must in a real park! At the centre of Sigurtà’s labyrinth is a tower modelled after Paris’ “Bois de Boulougne”. From here, visitors have a clear view of the paths leading to the tower. Light and colours are reflected and refracted on the surface in the water gardens with their unique water lilies and lotuses – a unique show! The park’s natural paradise also comprises box trees that animate the park with their curious and extravagant forms, the hermitage built by order of the marquis Antonio Maffei on the hill top, the horizontal sun dial, the small castle, the old armoury also established by Maffei and the educational farm. Moreover, Sigurtà garden park changes form and colour when various flowers bloom. The tulips are the first to blossom, with more than 300 types of tulips blooming during the park’s opening in spring. Among the other flowers, we point out that of the roses that bloom in May, the water lilies and lotuses as well as the hydrangeas, hibiscuses, narcissuses and begonias that bloom in summer. The Sigurtà garden park opens its gates in the beginning of March, usually at the time of International Women’s Day. It is open daily from 9 am to 7 pm until November. It closes at 6 pm in the months of March, October and November. There are various carparks in close proximity to the park.
Natura Viva Zoo and Safari Park – Bussolengo
The Natura Viva zoo and safari park is located in the area at the southern end of Lake Garda, in Bussolengo. It is a modern zoo that aims to protect and preserve biodiversity. The park project started in the mid-60s. A 10 hectare park inaugurated in 1969. It corresponds to today’s fauna park. The initiative was based on the idea of having both local and foreign animals in a park open to the public and since then the Natura Viva zoo and safari park has continuously expanded. Shortly after its opening, another part, later named ‘safari park’, was built to house animals from Africa. At the end of the 70s, new routes were created, such as the tropical centre, the aquaterrarium and the dinosaur area, where visitors can find models of the famous extinct animals in original size. The park boasts one of the most active research programmes among the zoological gardens in Italy. Zookeepers and veterinarians work hand in hand on several projects, including the protection of endangered species, programmes for animal reproduction, scientific events and collaborative research with other institutions. The park hosts special international days throughout the year. The Natura Viva zoo and safari park is open year-round at the following times: the safari park is open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, the fauna park from 9 am to 6:30 pm. In case of bad weather, the opening hours may vary. There are reduced entrance tickets for groups and children. There is a pay carpark. For further information, we recommend you visit the park website.
* website in Italian