If you are on Lake Garda, you may have heard of the Lake Garda lemons, a typical product that you absolutely must take home from your stay.
You might be wondering how citrus fruits - known to be grown in Sicily - have found fertile ground in this area of northern Italy. The answer is very simple: Lake Garda has a characteristic microclimate, where citrus fruits can grow healthy and luxuriant: this is why the taste of these fruits is so intense and pleasant.
The history of Garda lemons dates back to the 13th century, when the monks of the convent of San Francesco in Gargnano imported them from the Ligurian Riviera to the shores of Lake Garda.
The lemon houses here are a real institution... don't you know the lemon houses? As the name suggests, these structures were once brick greenhouses in which citrus fruits were grown.
This particular type of garden-greenhouse, sometimes also commonly called a 'winter garden', allows these very delicate plants to grow. Lemon houses have a fixed part, made of stone pillars and wooden beams, and a removable part (with glass and wooden planks) which is used or not depending on the season and temperature, allowing light to filter through the leaves and protecting the plants from frost during cold periods.
The lemons are planted directly in the ground, on terraces called "cole", created in the hills that run from Salò to Limone. The main characteristic is that, in this way, the lemon plants have the perfect habitat that keeps them protected and allows them to grow.
The lemon houses have always been a great attraction for tourists in this part of Lake Garda, because they are truly unique and, like real "open-air museums", allow you to step back in time and discover the history of the place.
The lemons are used to make limoncini, limoncello and other typical products that you can find in the shops and grocery shops in this area.
What are you waiting for? Come and visit us and taste the lemons of Lake Garda!