In Roman times Lake Garda was known as Benàco and was personified by the god Benacus, associated with Neptune, god of freshwater and the sea.
The lake has been shaped by 4 ice ages and by a tectonic plate called Eocene formed about 35 million years ago.
Most people know that there are many villages on Lake Garda, with remains of pre-alpine stilt houses along their coast. Many of these remains are exhibited in the local museums. One of the best-equipped Museums on Lake Garda with this kind of finds is the Fishermen’s Museum in Peschiera del Garda.
And speaking of Peschiera del Garda, 3 km from its historical center, a remarkable Bronze Age village of stilt houses was discovered some years ago. This village is located in the protected natural environment near the small Frassino-lake and is an official archaeological site of UNESCO since 2011. Through the years, many people have asked us, how they can visit this prehistoric settlement… Well, unfortunately it is not possible as it lies on the bottom of the lake, nevertheless we certainly recommend having a walk around Lake Frassin! As mentioned earlier, the Frassino area is a protected natural environment. This is not only due to the UNESCO site, but also because it is an important breeding area for many bird species. Your walk surrounded by nature will therefore be very cheerful thanks to the singing birds.
The invisible city of Benàco
The interests of UNESCO regarding Lake Garda are enormous and there are even rumors about a potential candidacy concerning the whole Lake Garda as a World Heritage Site in a near future.
*This procedure is supported by a unique discovery, still surrounded by reasonable caution and discretion… The first, to reveal some information about this intriguing discovery was the director of the Sub Club Association of Peschiera del Garda. His interview was conducted a few months ago (find it here).
In 2020, during a refresher course for diving licenses, held in Brenzone, an area full of ceramic elements was found. The discovery took place at a depth of about 116m and the objects are confirmed to date back to the Bronze Age! The “Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici” (Archaeological Heritage Surveillance Office) made it possible to deepen the search using the Israeli underwater e-robot DSCVR36.
After this large-scale investigation, an entire submerged residential area was found at 312 meters from the shore! (In line with Castelletto di Brenzone) A large part of the wooden piling on which the houses were built, are very well preserved and therefore in an excellent condition.
Eocenia: the invisible city, when Benàco still was a forest
An area of pile-dwelling structures was found dating from 5000 to 4500 B.C., when Lake Garda was still a forest area. Nowhere else in the world we are able to see the evolution of settlements from the Neolithic to the Metal Age so clearly. The settlements give an accurate and detailed picture of the first communities in this area. From agricultural and animal husbandry to the primitive life and technological innovations of the time.
Will it be possible to visit Eocenia? Not yet, but…
At the Venice Film Festival 2021, the Ministry of Transport will present the first documentary telling all the surveys carried out in the last year. In the meantime, the UNESCO Commission has allowed, given the global importance of the discovery, to activate tourist visits with electric submarines to this site.
On one condition though: the complete stop to all (petrol) motor navigation on Lake Garda by 2023. This solution divides the regional authorities, what is your thought about this?
*During the meeting on the 1st of April 2021. The authorities will seek for a solution to ensure worldwide value to this April Fools‘ joke, ops, to this discovery.