Malcesine, Lake Garda

The Scaliger Castle of Malcesine is a medieval castle, built on an even more ancient fortress, overlooking the Veronese side of Lake Garda.

In addition to its great historical and artistic value, the castle is also famous for the drawings and descriptions that Goethe made of it in his Italian Journey

Today, the Scaliger Castle hosts the Museum of Natural History of Lake Garda and Mount Baldo. Due to its magical and suggestive atmosphere, it is often also rented for weddings

Come and discover the Scaliger Castle of Malcesine, Lake Garda!

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Discover Scaliger Castle of Malcesine

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In a nutshell

KEY FEATURES of Scaliger Castle of Malcesine

Entering the Castle, you will find the “Casermetta” (i.e. the lodgings of the Castle Guard) and the courtyard.

This floor and the basement floor of the Casermetta host the Museum of Natural History, which offers to visitors a multimedia approach and a complete sensory experience. 

An external staircase leads to the first floor and the Rivellino, the terrace where weddings and exhibitions take place. From the courtyard you can also reach another small balcony that offers a magnificent view on the lake.

You can reach the first floor of the the Casermetta, and you’ll find yourself in the Austrian powder magazine, now known as “Goethe Hall”.

Scaliger castle of Malcesine
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Here are displayed the sketches of the lake and the Castle that Goethe draw during his famous Italian Journey: the authentic colours of this landscapes developed later in the Theory of Colours

Returning downstairs you can notice, on the eastern wall, the traces of the frescoes that probably belonged to the ancient Scaliger Chapel; just past the front gate, there’s the Lacaòr, a wide space with almost 400 seatings that in summer serves as a theater. 

From here, you can reach the third courtyard, the highest and the northernmost, where you can see a well and a fresco representing the Virgin and the Baby.

Scaliger castle of Malcesine

You can then access the ground floor of the residence, that houses the Museum of the Venetian Galleys. Going upstairs, you will find yourself in the Conference Hall

Last but not least, right in front of the entry you can begin the ascent to the tower that overlooks Malcesine at a height of 70 meters above the lake: it was built by the Lombards, and has a particular irregular pentagonal shape. 

Once you reach the top, you will enjoy an enchanting view of Malcesine, the lake and Monte Baldo


The Castle is open every day from March 11 to November 3, from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm.

Ticket prices:

  • adults: €6.00
  • students and over 65: €5.00
  • children 6-18 years: €3.00
  • children 0-6 years: free

Address: Via Castello, Malcesine (VR)
Phone: +39 045 657 0333


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HOW TO GET to Scaliger Castle of Malcesine

The castle is easily visible both from the lake and from the mainland, and is located slightly north of the town. Once in Malcesine, you can reach it by foot, enjoying a charming walk along the lake promenade. 

You can get to Malcesine by car on the A22 Modena – Brennero highway, taking the exit “Rovereto Sud” and then following the signs for the lake, or on the A4 Milan-Venice, taking the Peschiera exit and then going up the lake with the panoramic state road that runs alongside it. 

If you arrive by train, you can get off at Peschiera del Garda station and take the bus that takes you to the Upper Lake Garda (APT lines). But as said, if you want to make a remarkable entrance, you can arrive by boat from Limone and enjoy the view that inspired Goethe for his Theory of Colours.

HISTORY of Scaliger Castle of Malcesine

The fortress of Malcesine was built by the Lombards in the sixth century AD (probably on the ruins of a Roman fortress), but it was destroyed by the Franks shortly afterwards. It was then restored and expanded under the rule of Alberto Della Scala, lord of Verona, (hence the name “Scaliger”) at the end of the thirteenth century. 

In the 16th century the Castle, alongside the city of Malcesine, was incorporated into the dominion of the Serenissima Republic of Venice.

It then passed in the hands of the French for a few years, at the end of the 18th Century, and then it became part of the Austrian Empire.

The austrians renewed the entire building and accomplished significant strengthening works inside the Castle. Malcesine and the Castle became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866, after the Third Italian War of Independence. In 1902 the Scaliger Castle of Malcesine was declared a national monument.

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