The Villa dates circa 1800 AD and was left unattended for many years. However, thanks to the love and dedication from the Sostaga family, a new life was given to the villa. Today, the building is a 4-star boutique hotel standing proud and overlooking Lake Garda.
This was an impulsive trip and I only had a short week to plan everything, fortunately I was guided by Sonia (the receptionist of Villa Sostaga) via e-mail and phone. She provided good travel directions to Lake Garda and information about the local area.
You can reach Gargnano via public transport but the road up the hill to the hotel is narrow. We arrived during the day at the foot of the hill. After a quick call, Sonia organised a taxi to pick us up for €25.00. If you happen to visit Lake Garda it is better to organize a rental car or a shuttle bus transfer, especially if you don’t speak Italian very well. Once you get up the hill, you are greeted on a first name basis by Gabriele accompanied by his dog ‘Romeo’.
An overwhelming view on Lake Garda and its snowy mountains
The driver will carefully place your baggage in your room while Gabriele accompanies you to show you the hotel, surrounding area and your room. The interior design was conceived by Gabriele’s wife, Gabriela, she did an excellent job. Each room in the hotel is unique with a different design and view on the lake or park. and has a. In the enclosed patio you will be overwhelmed as you look down on the lake and spot the (snowy) mountains in the distance.
As we walked into the terrace we stood still. Here we admired the grand view for a while. It took some time but after gazing away, we went to the living room to relax and enjoy our welcome drinks. The living room is the ideal place for reading your books and relaxing with company, the common area has comfortable seating, a piano and paintings to enjoy.
Beautiful Classic Venetian Murano Chandelier
We finished discussing the view and our experience and returned to our romantic room at Garda Lake. In Italy WiFi is often neglected even in the most touristic cities like Rome, however, at the Villa Sostaga you can browse the web fast and the reach is perfect.
Our suite was incredible and huge, and very very well-appointed. I loved how Gabriele escorted us to our room and explained how he managed to preserve authenticity across every single inch of the two buildings and how he was able to follow through with his dream of living in a beautiful house with a lake view. Throughout our stay he would often say “this is the dream and when I moved here my life began”. The suite has a large chaise longue, a large tv, a romantic canopy bed and a fab bathroom. After the tour we were invited to the reception to check in with our documents which went very quickly.
Taking Walks and a Turkish Bath
The first day we spent most of our time exploring the local area, we went on a walk through the neighborhood and enjoyed the spectacular view from a higher peak up the mountain. You could easily spend the whole weekend at the boutique hotel and enjoy oneself. Outside there are plenty of great spots to sit and read your books and there is even a pool you can take a swim in. Unfortunately, during our visit the pool was closed as the weather was a bit too chilly so we decided to enjoy the Turkish bath in the Spa area.
Food at the Villa Sostaga/Lago di Garda Restaurant
The food at the Villa Sostaga restaurant is localized and of very high Italian quality. We especially liked that the food is original and was inspired by “Nonna Martina’s” cooking Gabriele’s grandma, Martina Bazzani in Seresina, had the honor to serve as a cook at the court of Gabriele D’Annunzio (a very famous Italian). The restaurant is worth the trip up to the mountain. The view is amazing and the food is delicious. Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, a visit to the restaurant is recommended if your visiting the area. We really enjoyed the beef, tortellini and mixed fruit Ice cream
Our day trip to Gargano town
The next day we decided to travel to the small town nearby called Gargano. It’s a small quiet town, especially when you visit Lake Garda in low season. The town provides travelers with a good view of the lake (although the view from the mountain is better). The walkways are decorated with orange trees, however these are Bitter Orange trees and the fruit is not edible as it is mainly used in natural remedies and the perfume industry.
After exploring the lovely town for a couple of hours we had lunch and a cafe. To be honest, in the beginning of March there aren’t a whole lot of restaurants open. Also, the Italians often close their shops during the day, but there are a few nice cafes to find in the lovely town. We enjoyed a cafe with a classic view on the boats, lake and mountains.
The town of Gargnano is good for walks. As you stroll along the lake there are plenty of benches and quite a few cafes (most of them closed during mid-day and low season). However, during low-season, the town is laid back and the locals are extra friendly and talkative. We were asked lots of questions such as where we were from and if we were enjoying ourselves. A completely different atmosphere and mentality when compared to the metropolitan city of Milan or even tiny Brescia.
There is Plenty to See around Lake Garda
Gabriele (the owner of Villa Sostaga) mentioned that there are very many churches in the town and surrounding area before we took a trip down to Gargnano. If you like classic architecture then you will be in for a treat. There are plenty of beautiful churches overlooking Lake Garda. After our trip to Villa Sostaga and Gargnano we understood perfectly why Gabriele quit Forumule1 racing and decided to come live at Lake Garda. He did not only go back to the place he felt most at home but also to one of the most laid back towns in Northern Italy.
Boutique Hotel Sostaga
For further information about Boutique Hotel Sostaga, please visit www.villasostaga.com/
Via Sostaga,19 Gargnano (Brescia) 25084 Navazzo