Many Travelers Believe This Unsung Riverside Village Is One Of Italy's Prettiest

Travelers searching for the next picturesque Italian village can often find themselves at a crossroads, struggling to decide where to go next. With so many accessible recommendations and the beautiful nature of the country itself, finding a village isn't difficult; the real challenge lies in choosing the prettiest. Luckily, one contender has already been found, and yet it still remains an unsung piece of Italy, named Borghetto sul Mincio.

With a population of just 200 residents, this small village is surrounded by the morainic hills of northern Italy, within the province of Verona. Think halfway between Milan and Venice and down the southern main artery of Lake Garda. Its beauty is unparalleled, built alongside the banks of the 46-mile-long Mincio River, with parts built directly over the water. No wonder its name is "Borghetto sul Mincio," meaning "fortified settlement on the Mincio." As such, you can imagine the history is just as fascinating as the geography.

Although the area has roots linked to the Bronze Age, Borghetto is very much medieval. It witnessesed many wars and several occupations, notably in the 12th and 13th centuries, with fiefdoms granted to the Order of the Templars, Knights of Malta, and Benedictine monks of San Zeno. This history can be seen in its castles, churches, old bridges, ancient mills, and more. However, to much surprise, what Borghetto sul Mincio doesn't have are pharmacies, post offices, and official buildings, making it very much a medieval town you don't want to skip when visiting Europe.

Things to do in Borghetto, Italy

In such a small town, with no such official building necessary, Borghetto offers plenty to see and experience in a rarel intimate setting steeped in history and nature. Located just 2 miles from Borghetto is one of Italy's most beautiful parks, the Sigurtà Garden Park, standing as an ultimate example of such beauty. The park began in 1407 as an agricultural estate until the Maffei family took over in 1616.

However, it wasn't until 1941 that Dr. Carlo Sigurtà acquired the estate, introduced innovative irrigation techniques, and further developed the garden. Opened to the public in 1978, the park features highlights such as the Avenue of the Roses (a long stretch of thousands of roses), The Water Gardens adorned with exotic water lilies, and a 27,000-square-foot maze of 1,500 yew trees. If you're still unsure, here's why you should visit a botanical garden on your next vacation

In town, you have the famous Visconti Bridge, a fortified dam 30 feet above the river level, about 2,132 feet long, and 82 feet wide. Constructed in 1393 by the Duke of Milan to protect the city of Verona, this bridge now serves as an iconic landmark and central setting for the Festa del Nodo d'Amore every June, but more on that later! Not far from the bridge is the church of San Marco Evangelista, a neoclassical church built upon the ruins of an 11th-century Templar preceptory of Santa Maria, where two Romanesque 15th-century frescoes can still be viewed.

Seasonal experiences and Love Knot Festival

For travelers contemplating a visit to Borghetto, every season has something special to offer. In autumn, the landscape is complemented by temperate weather and delicious seasonal harvests. Winter, though colder, brings golden lights scattered throughout the village and 6,000 bulbs adorning the giant sequoia in the village center for Christmas. Spring brings regeneration, with vibrant flowers in bloom — if you visit Sigurtà Garden Park, you'll catch many seasonal blossoms.

If you're feeling festive, visit Borghetto sul Mincio on the third Tuesday of June for the Festa del Nodo d'Amore, or Love Knot Festival. This festival celebrates a romantic 14th-century story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, featuring two characters, Captain Malco and the nymph Silvia. Their tale begins with love, brushes against tragedy, and ends with eternal love and death. They leave behind a knotted golden handkerchief as they escape the military troops by jumping into the underwater world of the river together. This truly makes Borghetto a must-add Italian town for any Shakespeare lover's bucket list

Today, the tortellini represents this love knot, and over 550,000 tortellini are made for the festivities, with a half-mile-long table set up on the Visconti Bridge for thousands to enjoy. It's a one-of-a-kind experience where you'll see people in medieval costumes, enjoy many local foods, and, of course, indulge in lots of wine! Enveloped by nature, history, and love, Borghetto sul Mincio may not remain an unsung part of Italy forever, but it will always be one of its prettiest.