Peschiera del Garda, strong and handsome fortress
Peschiera del Garda – a walled city on the south bank of Lake Garda – was mentioned by Dante Alighieri in Canto XX of his “Inferno”, when the poet has Virgil describe the journey undertaken by Manto, a fortune-teller from Thebes and the daughter of the mythological prophet Tiresias.
After her father’s death, Manto traveled at length in Northern Italy, finally settling –
to flee all human intercourse – on a land surrounded by swamps
untilled and stripped of its inhabitants. According to the legend recalled by Dante, that was where Mantua was founded, named after Manto of course.
In her wanderings, the sorceress reached
lovely Italy, where
lies a lake known as Benaco: that is Lake Garda, whose waters welcome
A thousand springs and more. On its most level side,
Peschiera, strong and handsome fortress […] stands: Dante here points to the old fortress that was strengthened between the 13th and 14th century by the Scaligeri family, which ruled over Verona, to confront their enemies.
Here, the water
that cannot be held within the bosom of Benaco transforms into
a river running through green meadows, and changes name:
it is called the Mincio, not Benaco.
So here is Peschiera, in all of its beauty.