Many finds from the 1st - 4th centuries A.D. were discovered during excavations in the necropolis of Lugone. Ruled by the city of Brescia and the Visconti and Della Scala families, Salò became the administrative center of the Riviera in 1377. Its importance and influence grew after 1426, when it become the capital of the "Magnifica Patria", a league of 42 communities in the Garda and Valsabbia areas under the rule of Venice. Besides farming and trade, the linen industry developed in this period.
After Venetian rule, the French and Austrians later conquered and dominated the area of the lake Garda (1815 - 1859). Salò subsequently became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. From September 1943, Salò on lake Garda was one of the most important cities of the Italian Social Republic (R.S.I.) The Stefani Agency, which distributed official press releases, was located on Via Brunati street. Villa Simonini (now Hotel Laurin) was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Villa Castagna was police headquarters, and Villa Amedei was the head office of Minculcop, the Ministry of Popular Culture.
Founded in 1877 in Salò, the observatory was entrusted to Professor Pio Bettoni, who began collecting data on air temperature, atmospheric pressure, rainfall and weather conditions. The Geophysical Observatory was added in 1889 and became an important scientific research center after the 1901 earthquake. The data collected over the past 120 years is interesting not only for Salò but for the entire Lake Garda area.
After climbing the "Scala Santa" [Holy Stair] and crossing the Gardesana Road, you reach the fork road for Renzano. Walking along the path through the olive groves, you arrive at the Madonna del Rio Sanctuary (177 m), which is surrounded by century-old cypress trees. The sanctuary was built in the 18th century on the site where the Madonna supposedly appeared. The path climbs until it skirts the edge of the Milordino farm and the highest homes of Milord, then it reaches the Madonna del Buon Consiglio Sanctuary in Bagnolo. When you reach the Stacca Pass (458 m) and Gardesina, you will have a beautiful view of the lake garda.
At this point, you are quite near the S. Bartolomeo sanctuary and homes. Another small effort is needed to reach Corna (568 m), a rocky spur where you can take in the splendid view of the entire gulf of Salò. The round trip itinerary takes about three hours.
Gasparo Bertolotti, better known as "Gasparo da Salò", went to Brescia in 1562 to work in the lute shop of Gerolami Virchi. He is considered by many to be the inventor of the four-stringed violin. His bust can be seen in the council room of the Salò on lake Garda Town Hall. A memorial plaque in S. Giuseppe church in Brescia states "He was a master in the art of making stringed instruments" precisely because "he gave soul and sense to the modern violin".
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