Our good friends got married in Malcesine, Lake Garda, back in August of this year. And I haven’t blogged about it until now… naughty me!
The air of the place was one of celebration.
Mr TravelEachDay and I had thought briefly about getting married in Italy ourselves, so we were delighted to be invited to this exciting event. Flying into Verona, our group pre-booked a taxi to Malcesine – a small but popular town located towards the top of the lake, on its eastern side. Weddings are big business here, and over the next few days, I caught glimpses of brides slipping through alleyways, or sailing past in bridal tuk-tuks.
Malcesine is a small place, and with so many related groups of people milling through its cobbled streets, you’re never far from someone you were chatting to at a cocktail party the night before. People hug in the squares and extended families enjoyed drawn-out lunches on the restaurant terraces.
Sleeping, eating and drinking
We arrived to the modest but welcoming Hotel Modena to mist and grey skies. It was so misty that it took a couple of hours to realise that the waters lay just metres away from the front door. The next two days were rainy – torrential at times. Admittedly, there isn’t much to do here in poor weather but we wandered amongst the stalls of the weekend market and ate our fair share of Italian delicacies in the many restaurants.
Hotels here aren’t cheap, but the food and drink can be fantastic value. For Mr TravelEachDay’s birthday, twelve of us ate at Pizzaria al Cervo – a short walk out of town – where the owner plied us with free bottles of Prosecco and homemade limoncello on us. We didn’t refuse…
Also of note are the vine-wrapped balcony of Ristorante al Gondoliere (try the gnocchi), and Taverna dei Capitani. The wedding breakfast at La Voglia was superb – modern Italian at its finest. One thing I didn’t understand in Malcesine was the size of the portions. Even the starters were uniformly huge. At al Cervo, my “starter” of mussels for just 8 Euros was served in the biggest bowl I’d ever seen! How you’re supposed to do “the Italian thing” and eat six courses is completely beyond me.
The ice creams we were served after the wedding ceremony, just down from the entrance to the castle, were the best we tried. For the best stuff, look at for the phrase fatta in casa on the shop’s sign, meaning that it’s made on the premises.
Gelato is sold on every corner.
And after shots in Rock Cafe (one of the town’s few late night venues), we were brave enough for a 1am dip in the lake. It felt much colder the following afternoon.
Around the lake
The weather did clear, the high altitude meaning that it often changed from monsoon to typical summer’s day within hours. We relaxed on the pretty shingle beaches north of town and drank cold beer on one of the many pontoons sticking out into the lake. It would probably have been best not to bother with the cable car to the top of Mount Baldo, though. If you can’t see the top of the mountains, it’ll be like pea soup beyond halfway!
Boat trips are a popular activity, departing from the picturesque little harbour. There’s also plenty of watersports on offer to the south of the town. We were lucky enough to have our own boat trip, after the wedding ceremony, amidst glorious sunshine.
The following day, we took one of the ferries over to Limone, similar in feel to Malcesine but still worth exploring. The ferries depart regularly from the harbour and will take you all around the lake.
Limone was once famous for producing lemons and we spent an hour or so wandering around the Limonaia del Castèl, which was interesting, if you like lemons. It was the soaring views across the lake back to Malcesine that made it worthwhile.
Some more of my favourite photos from the trip follow. For photos of the wedding itself, check out the images taken by the fab photographer, Barney Walters, here. Barney was also our wedding photographer the year before, and it was lovely to spend time with him here. He loves travelling as much as we do! Two of his photos of us just on the wedding day are immediately below.