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La Florida - Palma

Gardone Riviera, Brescia

Nearest shopping and dining: Gardone Riviera, a 5 minute drive away has a variety of shopping options.

Not to be missed: Within a 5 minute drive to Gardone Riviera: The Botanical Garden of Hruska with over 8,000 exotic flowers. Open from March to October. Villa Vittoriale, the home of Italian author Gabriele D' Annunzio. The villa houses a wide range of furnishings and decor from the 1930s with some very unusual items such as an open air theater designed after Taormina's Greek theatre, the prow of a battleship and a mausoleum modeled after a wedding cake.

In Toscolano-Maderno, a 10 minute drive away, is a museum dedicated to its history in papermaking. Mussolini's Villa Feltrinelli is in Gargnano, a 15 minute drive and is now a luxury hotel.

The summer resort town of Riva del Garda, a 45 minute drive away, features a castle where Dante slept. The castle is surrounded by a moat filled with swans and a courtyard of palm trees.

Desenzano, a popular resort town with a long lakefront promenade of boutique shops, bars, restaurants and an active nightlife is 35 minutes away.

Within a 45 minute drive is Grotte di Sirmione with ruins of a massive Roman villa from the 1st century BC with a 140 foot cistern, once used to feed the Roman baths and heated pool. Reached by electric train or a 15 minute walk from Sirmione.

Public transportation: For day trips during the daytime, passenger hydrofoils leave from Gardone Riviera and stop along the towns of the Lake's western shore. In Toscolano, a 10 minute drive is the car ferry to cross over to Torri on the eastern shore.

Beach: A lakeside beach is 150 yards away. Within a 10 minute drive is Toscolano-Maderno, with the area's best beaches.

For Kids: Gardaland is Italy's largest theme park with Valley of the Kings - a scaled reproduction of an Egyptian temple, Merlin's Castle, African Safari, Dolphin shows and Barbie World. Located an hour's drive in Castelnuovo Garda and open April - October with daily hours from mid-June to mid-Sept and weekends otherwise.

Golf: Gardagolf Country Club, within a 30 minute drive, Open year round. Closed on Mondays from November 1 - March 15.

Outdoor activities: One of the main attractions of Lake Garda are the multitude of watersports and recreation activities available: windsurfing (with several world championships hosted here); diving; swimming; boat rides; and many more.

Hiking: The Monte Spino mountain features many hiking trails and views. Riva del Garda's Cascata Verone is a 100 yard waterfall with hiking trails to take in the beauty of the natural landscape.

Special events - festivals: Drama and concerts in the open-air theater of Villa Vittoriale take place in July and August.

Open air markets: Mondays in Bergamo and Peschiera; Tuesdays in Desenzano del Garda and Wednesdays in Cremona; the second and the fourth Wednesday in Riva del Garda.

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