In Garda, boasting an exceptional view on Lake Garda, Punta San Vigilio is one of the most fascinating places in Veneto. Located on the most extreme western tip of the region, it is a small hamlet dating back to the 15th century when it was founded with the purpose of accommodating travelers doing business between the two shores of the Lake (being today one in Veneto and the other one in Lombardy). Today, the hamlet has been transformed into a luxury resort consisting of the hotel Locanda San Vigilio (the former inn) a restaurant, a panoramic bar and a charming beach, called Baia delle Sirene (Bay of the Mermaids).
The atmosphere of the resort has incredibly remained the same for the last 600 years, immersed in the timeless calm of the lake: arriving at the marina the traveler is still welcomed by an ancient inscription on the access arch of the resort which exhorts to “leave the affairs and the afflictions behind” and enjoy the serenity of a place that has really made the history of Lake Garda and hosted illustrious statesmen such as Napoleon III and Tsar Alexander II.
The resort is owned by the noble family Guarienti di Brenzone, linked to the royal houses of Savoia, Assia and Windsor, which in 1540 commissioned the villa located near the hotel (still inhabited today by the Guarienti di Brenzone family) to famous architect Michele Sanmicheli. Around the 1920s, the Locanda was run by famous English cook Leonardo Walsh who was very close the beau monde of the time.
From Winston Churchill (who here loved to paint his watercolors) to Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, from Otto Hahn to Gabriele d’Annunzio, are many the celebrities that have contributed to making this corner of paradise so famous. The Punta San Vigilio’s logo was also a D’Annunzio’s idea: during a walk through the estate, the Italian poet stopped to admire the Latin inscription “En somnii explanatio” (that could be translated as “here is the interpretation of the dream”) engraved on the statue of the prophet Daniele inside the little church of the hamlet and suggested to adopt it as the motto of the place (referring to its dreamy atmosphere).
Make sure you get to the Locanda rigorously before sunset to enjoy all the magic of a truly unique place that has kept intact all its legendary aristocratic charm.
For a holiday break, book into the hotel and relax by the swimming pool in the private natural park overlooking the Lake; for a romantic date, have a glass of champagne by the little marina* or book a table by the window to enjoy the Lake Garda traditional cuisine…with a view!
Among the many celebrities who attended Punta San Vigilio, there is also Charles of England. During his stay, initially expected with his wife Diana, who instead did not show up at the last, for security reasons he was housed at Villa Guarienti, and not at the Locanda. His security services also asked that he be able to reach the restaurant through the church, avoiding the normal cobbled driveway to the structure.