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Malcesine, Riva del Garda, or Limone del Garda (3 night base)

Malcesine, Riva del Garda, or Limone del Garda (3 night base)

Jan 10th, 2012, 07:48 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Malcesine, Riva del Garda, or Limone del Garda (3 night base)


Starting to plot a trip to Northen Italy in late May. I just found out we will coincide with one stage of the Giro d'Italia if we choose these dates. It is the stage starting in Limone, heading through Riva, and then onwards... This is a first trip to Lake Garda.

I had read many good things about Malcesine and was considering a base there before moving on to Lake Como. (Venice before Lake Garda).

It would be nice to see the riders go through. My Mom and I really enjoyed watching two stages of the Tour de France in 2009.

If we stay in Malcesine, we definitely won't see the start in Limone. The ferries don't start that early. I am not even sure we'd see them go through Riva because it would probably be pretty early as they pass through there, too. We are likely to have a car but not certain - and driving from Malcesine to Riva to find a place to park and watch could be an issue on the fly. Meaning: would we get up very early to drive and park only to find out we just missed them.

A long winded way of saying: how doable would it be to go from Malcesine to Riva, early morning, with certain unknown roads closed for this ride? Depending on timing of riders, how early are the ferries running? I have no problems with doing a dry run the night before the race to get our driving bearings. For the Tour, the roads that were closed the day of the race were marked leading up to it so you knew ahead of time.

Finally, would Riva be a better and prettier place to stay than Malcesine? Malcesine looks fairly central/more convenient, but is it as pretty as Riva? Less, more?

Seeing the Giro is a "very nice to do" but not a "must do at all costs". I'll go out of my way to see it but not at the expense of a three day base that will leave the other 2.5 days inconvenient. If that makes sense. This will be the third time we were "kind of close" to the ending of the Giro and we haven't made it yet. This year we will be VERY close, if we go as planned.

flygirl is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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Hi flygirl,

I've visited Italy for the Giro d'Italia every year since 2005, and I don't think you'll regret the effort to see a Giro stage in person.

Luckily for you, the Giro stage that starts in Limone is a short one (by Giro standards), only 174 kilometers. That means the stage won't start until around noon or 12:30. All Giro stages are scheduled to finish at around 5 pm, to accommodate the afternoon tv coverage. Whichever town you end up using as a base, this should give you enough time to get to a Giro viewing spot.

I highly recommend seeing the start in Limone, rather than just watching the race go through Riva. Giro stage starts are a blast! Unlike at the Tour, where security is much tighter, Giro stage starts give the fans the opportunity to actually meet the riders. If you get there an hour or so before the stage start and find where the team buses are parked -- they'll be on the street or in a parking lot with no restrictions on access by the fans -- you can walk right up to world champion Mark Cavendish, American sprint star Tyler Farrar, or any of the other riders, and say hello, get pictures, etc.

Then, as it gets close to the actual start time, just find a spot on the road near the start and watch the slow roll-out of the riders. They don't really start racing until they get out of the town, so the pace is pretty casual at the start. Also, the official Giro souvenir stands will be set up at the start, and they sell some pretty cool, high-quality stuff.

If you end up staying in Malcesine and the ferry won't get you to Limone in time, you should be ok driving to Riva to see the race pass through. The course goes north from Riva, so the road from Malcesine to Riva is not likely to be closed, though it may be slow-going.

I stayed in Malcesine for a few nights last year after the Giro finished, and I thought it was very pretty, especially when seen from the ferry or from the nice walking path that extends south from the town for a few miles. Riva is on flatter ground, so the town isn't quite as picturesque when seen from a distance, but it's a lovely town, with fantastic mountain views.

If you haven't already seen it, this is a great website for English-language Giro information:


A few weeks before the race, the time schedules for each stage will be published, and they will be shown on the steephill website, so you can find out the exact start time for the Limone stage.

Have fun at the Giro!
susoir is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 09:53 AM
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hi susoir,

thanks for this. the nearest I have got to the giro is watching it on Italian TV last year when i happened to be doing a language course at the same time that it i was taking place. unfortunately, I turned it on the first day to find that that unfortunate belgian rider had just been killed which put rather a damper on it.

following it in the local newspaper was very good practice for my italian though.

flygirl - one of the best places to stay in lake garda IMHO is the town of Garda itself. lots happening, and very good connections to the rest of the lake as you can easily get to both the north and south of the lake. also, all the fast boats stop there too, and there is a very good bus service.
annhig is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 12:56 PM
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Really fantastic information, thanks! Wow. This tells me everything I need to know. So good to know it starts at noon, that definitely makes it all easy. I'm not sure how long the ferry ride across the lake is but surely it starts early enough to get us to Limone by 10 AM.

I'd love to see Mark CavenDISH in person. I've had a mini-crush on him since the Tour de France in 2009.

annhig, I'll look at Garda too. Right now it's hard to decide! It's like our first trip to Lake Como. No point of reference. Now I have all sorts of reference points for Lake Como and we found our happy spot there.

It looks like Malcesine will at least help us see the Giro, though. Much closer...
flygirl is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 03:22 PM
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Cavendish is a real sweetheart! He's definitely one of my favorites, really nice and friendly. I'm looking forward to seeing him in the rainbow jersey of world champion this year.

If you end up staying in Malcesine, I recommend visiting the castle there. The views are great from the tops of the castle walls, and there are two good exhibits inside, one about Goethe's stay in Malcesine, and one about the Venetian rule of Lake Garda (including drawings of the Venetians transporting their ships overland to take control of the lake).


I love the Italian newspapers' coverage of the Giro! Especially La Gazzetta dello Sport, which devotes several pages to the Giro each day of the race. The writing is deliciously melodramatic, very entertaining. I hope you'll get the chance to see the race in person someday, it's a lot of fun.
susoir is offline  
Jan 10th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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I like Riva---we have stayed there twice. And, the other sporting attraction are the many wind surfers at the north end of the lake. That is the wind surfing haven for Europe.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 11th, 2012, 06:08 AM
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I love the Italian newspapers' coverage of the Giro! Especially La Gazzetta dello Sport, which devotes several pages to the Giro each day of the race.>>

i was reading the local paper for Orbetello - the town I was staying in southern tuscany. It was a bit like our local paper here - lots of pics of school kids cats stuck up trees! but as you say, very dramatic and entertaining.

yes, i'm a CAV fan too - not sure where you're from but if you're a brit, you'll know that much to the amazement and delight of all his fans [and him!] , he won BBC sports personality of the year for 2011.
annhig is offline  
Jan 25th, 2012, 06:43 AM
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I got the plane tickets last night! We are staying in Malcesine, and since it starts at noon we should not have a problem getting across the lake. Hope not, anyway - maybe there will be TONS of Giro fans all on the ferry.
flygirl is offline  
Jan 25th, 2012, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Vancouver
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Oh fun for DH - we're staying just outside of Treviso on the
last Friday.

Anyone have an idea of where we could get easy access to the
immimi is offline  
Jan 25th, 2012, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
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That's great! I'm sure you'll have fun at the stage start. The day before the stage, you may see some of the teams riding around the area. The day before the Limone-Falzes stage is a rest day, and the teams usually spend the rest day somewhere near the town of the next stage start. On rest days, all the riders go out for an easy ride, just to keep things moving.


the link I posted above to steephill.tv should have all the information you need to find a viewing spot near Treviso. Here's the map of the stage:


and here's the stage profile, which shows all the towns the stage passes through.


A few weeks before the race, steephill will post the timetables for each stage, so you can find out the estimated times of arrival in the various towns.
susoir is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 04:31 PM
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Don't miss this in Malcesine:

Jean is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 04:54 PM
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Does anyone have a hotel recommendation for Riva or Malcesine?
We'll miss the Giro but look forward to seeing the lake enroute to the Dolomites.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
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