On the shores of Lake Garda


Lake Garda: the surprisingly temperate climate and the scent of the hardy citrus trees; the water as famously clear and tranquil

Lake Garda, where the placid water, mountains and sky are balanced in an elemental harmony, has long been a source of inspiration for writers and thinkers. Despite changing hands between the French, Austrians and various Italian states, little has changed for the largest Italian lake since Catullus and Dante, Byron, Goethe and Tennyson were drawn here by the surprisingly temperate climate and the scent of the hardy citrus trees; the water as famously clear and tranquil now as when the Romans, 2000 years ago, founded one of the best preserved ancient sites in northern Italy.

Situated further along the shore from the Roman settlement, where the lake grows thinner as the foothills of the Dolomites rise up around it, the Salvatori house is defined by space and light, which floods into the double height living room through vast floor-to-ceiling windows. It is here – before a panorama of sheer rock and still water, plied by small fishing boats and passenger ferries – that the day can begin with a leisurely breakfast at Piero Lissoni’s Design for Soul table, and coffee and the day’s newspapers on the Dritto and Elisa Ossino-designed Proiezioni coffee tables.

With the light radiating from the Stone Parquet floor in Crema d’Orcia and the Rain Silk Georgette wall, which downstairs fold back to hide the kitchen appliances, an energising workout can be followed by indulgent time in the spa, accessed through a door hidden in the wall. Open to the environment and the contemplative stillness of the lake, showering before a vast window that gives onto expansive views of the surrounding area, one is immersed in the landscape while simultaneously enclosed by the beautifully crafted, minimal interior.

Lake Garda is known for water sports and the reliable winds means sailing is a popular and easy way to explore the area: going south to the picturesque town of Sirmione, the 12th century castle and high-end boutiques; or across to Gargnano and Villa Feltrinelli – described by D.H. Lawrence as “one of the most beautiful places on earth” – for two-Michelin-starred chef Stefano Baiocco’s unique, locally-sourced dishes.

Back at the house with night falling, there’s time for a last drink, illuminated by the soft glow of Elisa Ossino’s Urano lamp, before the shadowy outline of the mountains and the deep opaque black of the lake. In the bathroom preparing for bed, enveloped in reclaimed Pietra d’Avola, the flashes of gold from the specially prepared resin used to repair the ‘lost stone’ evoke the way the light from the shore opposite plays across the dark water. Paired with the organic forms of the Anima collection in matching stone, the space offers the last fleeting memories of the day on the water.

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