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Lazise is a lovely, medieval lakefront town boasting gaily colored buildings and centuries-old stone walls and villas, as well as being home to several major amusement parks. In fact, it’s less than a ten-minute drive from Gardaland, Italy’s largest theme park, to the medieval castle in the heart of Lazise's Old Town. The contrast between these two sides of Lazise may cause whiplash, but both are equally enjoyable: Thrill-seekers and families love the roller coasters, water parks, and beach, while the more serene locals enjoy the city's pastoral charms. There's so much to explore here, whether it's the historic harbor or the farms, villas, and vineyards in the hills. Lazise was part of the Republic of Venice for almost 400 years — from 1405 to 1797 — and the Venetian influence is still visible today, especially in the Dogana Veneta, or customs house, with its arched openings facing the water.

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Living in Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, spanning three provinces: Trentino in the north, Brescia in the west, and Verona in the east. The story of the region begins in the Ice Ages, when glaciers moved through the land, creating a ring of alpine mountains before melting into cerulean lake waters. The result of these glacial paths is an environment that seems custom designed for the most enjoyable of lifestyles: Olives, grapes, and lemons flourish in the morainic soil; the temperate weather is livened up by mountain breezes; and natural beauty is everywhere. Many residents of Limone, a town on Lake Garda’s shores, turn out to have the “Limone gene,” guaranteeing long, healthy lives. While the rest of the world marvels at this genetic quirk, Lake Garda’s residents merely shrug—what else would you expect from a life spent in one of the most perfect places on Earth?