Desenzano guide

Desenzano trip planner

A vacation guide to the Lake Garda town of Desenzano del Garda—the Roman villa, archaeological museum, and cathedral

Mosaics in the Villa Romana in Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda
Mosaics in the Villa Romana.

The most important ancient Roman villa from the late imperial era remaining in Northern Italy was built in the 1st century BC in what us now the busy small city of Desenzano del Garda on Lake Garda's southwestern shores.

One of the first to wax poetic over Desenzano was Lord Byron. He was one of many European luminaries in search of history who forged the first tourist paths to the lakes.

The late Roman Villa

Mosaics in the Villa Romana of Desezano del Garda
Mosaics in the Villa Romana of Desezano del Garda. (Photo by Luca Giarelli)
The excellent polychrome floor mosaics of this Villa Romana actually date to renovations in the 4th and 5th centuries.

By that time, the local Romans were Christianized, which explains the glass bowl engraved with Jesus in the small museum on site.

The Villa Romana is at Via Crocefisso 22 (tel. +39-030-914-3547;

It's open Tuesday to Sunday 8:30am to 7pm (it closes at 5pm November to February).

The Archaeological Museum

The Old Port of Desenzano del Garda, Lake Garda
The Old Port of Desenzano. (Photo by Basilio Speziari)
Desenzano actually predated the Romans and was settled in the Bronze Age—a fact which is proudly highlighted in the town's little Museo Civico Archeologico G. Ramboti.

The museum is housed in the cloisters of Santa Maria de Senioibus at Via T. dal Molin 7c (tel. +39-030-914-4529; It's open Tuesday/ Wednesday: 9am–1pm, Thursday/Friday 3pm–7pm, and Saturday/ Sunday 2:30pm– 7pm.

Ultima Cena by Giambattista Tiepolo in the Duomo of Desezano del Garda
Last Supper by Giambattista Tiepolo. (Photo by Luca Giarelli)

The Cathedral

While you're in town, make time for the Duomo di Santa Maria Maddalena on nearby Via Roma, which has a Tiepolo Last Supper in the second large chapel on the left.

Tips & links

Tours of Lake Garda
Hotels in Desenzano del Garda
How to get to Desenzano

Desenzano del Garda is a stop on the main VeniceMilan train line. You can also get here by bus ( from most other towns on Lake Garda's sourthern and western shores, including Sirmione (1–2 per hour; 20–30 min.).

How to get around Lake Garda

If you don't take a tour or have a rental car (recommended), the easiest way is by bus ( or by boat (

Useful links & resources

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Desenzano del Garda tourist info
Via Porto Vecchio 34
tel. +39-030-914-1510

Hotels in Desenzano del Garda » More hotels in Desenzano (Booking)

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