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One of the most beautiful villages in Italy – Borghetto

Italy is famous for its fortified medieval stone villages, but Borghetto, a village named by the Lombard’s at the crossing point of the Mincio River, is perhaps the most beautiful.
One of the things visitors find most impressive about Borghetto is its natural surroundings. The river winds its way slowly around bends, lapping at the cane thickets which hug the bank. There are a large number of different species of bird who come to nest here, and then, there is the fortified Ponte Visconeto. Here, swans glide backwards and forwards and play on the water as it cascades under the bridge.
The area around Borghetto was settled in the Iron Age in the 9th Century BC. The Etruscans were also here as were the Gauls, who forded the river and built a prestigious necropolis nearby. But it was the Romans in the first century, who connected the village and the river by a number of roads to other prominent cities. From then onwards the area became even more powerful, and in the late 8th and early 9th centuries the Lombard’s built the first village on the banks of the river with a monastery, which was later used as an important Prefecture for the Order of Knights Templar.
The most significant river crossing point south of Lake Garda, the area was fiercely fought over, and between 1859 and 1866 the village was split in two, one side of the Mincio was in the hands of Austria, the other side was in Italy.
Today, Borghetto is a handful of houses, three ancient mills, and the Ponte Visconteo. The Ponte Visconteo is an incredible fortified dam. The dam was built in 1393 to serve as a checkpoint and was connected to the Scaligero Castle. The castle and its towers dominate the valley from the top of the hill with only the Tonda tower, an unusual construction from the 12th century, remaining as the oldest part of the castle. The remaining parts of the complex, which includes one of the original three drawbridges, date back to the 14th century.
The village is home to the Church of San Marco Evangelista, a reconstruction of the old Romanesque church dedicated to Santa Maria, and the famous Knights Templar prefecture which still has two valuable frescoes from the 1400s inside.

As well as ancient sights, visitors can also enjoy some of the areas local classic dishes. It is famous for its tortellini, there are also places to buy this hand made pasta to take home. The tortellini are called “nodo d’amore” or love knots because they mimic the knot which was tied in a silk handkerchief by two lovers, before they threw themselves into the Mincio. As well as the tortellini, there are other popular dishes, pike with sauce, trout and eel, which all from the river and accompanied by DOC wines from Bianco di Custoza and Bardolino.

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