Why Borghetto In Italy Is The Prettiest Village You Will Ever Visit

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Borghetto: One of the quaintest villages in Italy

“There is a beautiful village in every country.” (Lailah Gifty Akita)

Lake Garda is full of beautiful little towns and villages; some filled with quaint little cobbled streets and narrow buildings, their aged features causing people to stop and stare, others have mountainous views, fabulous hillside rambles and stunning lakeside restaurants where you can enjoy mouth-watering dishes with locally produced, seasonal treats.

However, Borghetto sul Mincio, a village of ancient mills, is just a short cycle ride down a peaceful riverside track from Peschiera-del-Garda, and is possibly the most beautiful of them all.

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Why Everyone Should Visit Borghetto

At the heart of this splendid little village, runs the Mincio river, a 75km waterway running from Peschiera-del-Garda to Mantua (also known as Mantova), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Ponto Visconteo (the Visconti Bridge) is a focal point for the entrance to the village, and is where, each June, the festival of Love Knots (Festa del Nodo d’Amore) is hosted.

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A view of the Viscounti Bridge in Borghetto

History of Festa del Nodo d’ Amore

Tortellini is a family favourite no matter where you head in Italy, but for the residents of both Borghetto and Valeggio, twinned villages on opposite sides of the Scaligero Castle, this pasta dish holds special meaning.

For locals, tortellini is also known as Nodo d’ Amore, or love knots after two lovers, comparable to Romeo and Juliet.

At the end of the 13th century, war was common-place around this area of Northern Italy and military encampments were often constructed along the river.  Legend has it that on one particular evening, a court jester shares with the troops a story about how beautiful nymphs who live just below the surface of the Mincio had been cursed and where now condemned to a life as evil, horrific-looking witches.  On occasion, the spell would be lifted however, which meant that the nymphs would return to dry land and taunt the sleeping troops.

One evening, the commander of a troop, Malco, awoke to this spectacle but instead of being frightened he became mesmerised by one nymph in particular, the beauty Silvia.  Caught underneath her spell, one night Malco confessed of his love for Silvia, and she responded with delight that she too, had fallen deeply in love with the captain.

However, whilst Malco wanted Silvia to remain with him for eternity, her destiny meant that she would forever be banished to the river before each waking dawn.  Before disappearing, she did however leave a parting gift for her love, a handkerchief tied in a knot, symbolising their undying love. 

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The River Mincio

The following day, events unfolded, and a party was arranged.  Silvia returned undercover as a dancer but was spotted by others and called out for the witch everyone thought she was.  Malco, driven by love, jumped to her defence giving her just enough time to escape the guards.  For his actions, he was arrested and jailed, but luckily absconded to meet up with his love once more.

When news reached the count, he orders his troops to find and kill the lovers.  As this news reaches Malco and Silvia, she begs him to join her in her underwater world.  Malco does not hesitate disappearing into the Mincio just in time to avoid capture.  Before going however, they leave behind a golden knotted handkerchief as a symbol of their love for the troops to find.

Since that day, tortellini has become the symbol of this love and each June the Festa del Nodo d’Amore serves up over 550,000 pasta knots to those that have come together to celebrate this story of love.

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Borghetto Village

Why You Should Visit Borghetto sul Mincio

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The restaurants of Borghetto

The Festival of Love Knots is not the only reason to visit this charming little village.  If you are not fortunate enough to visit during the month of June do not despair.  Spread across this delightful little hamlet, numerous restaurants are all ready to serve you a portion of the mouth-watering dish.  Alternatively, if you have a passion for cooking, why not visit the local tortellini factory, where you can see for yourself exactly how these little golden knots of pasta are made.

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Scaligero Castle

 Once you have delved sufficiently into the culinary world, why not head up the hill and check out the views from the top of Scaligero Castle, or wander along the Visconti Bridge, to look out over the surrounding countryside.

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The walkway to the Castle

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The surrounding landscape

Alternatively, if you are feeling in a sporty mood, why not hop on a bike and spend the afternoon cycling along the Mincio to either Peschiera-del-Garda or Mantua.

Whatever you decide to do, Borghetto, ultimately is a tiny village with a big heart and whether you have a day or an hour to explore, no visit to Lake Garda would be complete without spending time here.

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Borghetto shops

Have you visited Borghetto?  Perhaps you know of another little village in Italy, set away from the prying eyes of heavy tourism that you believe others should be more aware of.  If that’s the  case we would love to hear about them.

Interested in more Foodie Travels?  Then check out Italy4Real, a company that specialises in Food Tours and Luxury Foodie Breaks.

 

40 Comments

  • Francesca says:

    What a lovely story! I’m Italian-American and have eaten a lifetime’s worth of tortellini, but never knew they’re called love knots and how the name came to be. I’ll have to remember to include Borghetto on the itinerary for my next Italy trip!

  • I love reading about such sweet and romantic stories! Makes me want to visit this charming village even more!

  • Nicki says:

    I am already sold on visiting. A few years ago I did a tour of Italy and hit some of the bigger cities and ever since I have been dying to go back. Borghetto has been at the top of my list of places to explore. I love your photos and you have encouraged me to get back there this year!

  • This pretty village is indeed a revelation. I heard of it for the first time. Looks really enchanting compared to the more hyped places like Cinque Terre, etc. Hope to visit the interior of Italy next time we are there and hope to get to Borghetto.

    • It is definitely a hidden gem and well worth a visit when you head back. I have yet to visit Cinque Terre but would love to one day – maybe that’s one for my list this year. 🙂

  • Paige Wunder says:

    I’ve never heard of this place, but it looks so cozy and beautiful! I’ve only really been to bigger tourist spots in Italy, but I can’t wait to get back there and share experiences with my husband. This looks like one spot we have to make.

  • Sarah Kim says:

    I’m so glad I found this post! I love going to lesser known places, and that story about tortellini is priceless. Now I’ll think about it every time I eat it. Thanks for sharing! Pinning this!

  • Your photos are really dreamy and I had no idea about the Tortellini being ‘love knots’! So interesting. I actually live not too far from there and haven’t visited yet but your post makes me want to!

  • Nina Zara says:

    This is really one charming village. have not been there but reminds me of much smaller villages in Istria on Croatian side and Karst region in Slovenia. Have you been?

    • Both Croatia and Slovenia are countries we still need to visit. I have heard wonderful things though and if they have little villages like this I think I need to visit sooner rather than later! 🙂

  • Claire says:

    I’d never even heard of this place but it looks beautiful! I would love to take a walk along that riverside. Looks very peaceful

  • Oh I have never been here! How beautiful and I love the story of the Love Knots! Thanks for sharing wow really a beautiful place –

  • Your images are stunning. Love the staircase photo. This really does look like the prettiest village in Italy – love the juxtaposition between the old and the new, and the way nature seems to slowly be overtaking the buildings. The Soldier and Nymph story is beautiful.

  • Patricia says:

    What a fabulous story! So romantic and I love that it has survived in the form of an annual festival (also, any festival that is celebrated with loads of pasta is going to be on my “must try” list). Borghetto sul Mincio looks charming, and I’m adding it to my travel bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tami says:

    What a charming village and quite picturesque, too! Lake Garda is a beautiful region in Italy. We visited Sirmione at the southern tip when we were in Italy, and enjoyed the old castle and lake views there very much. Loved the story of the romance and the association with the tasty pasta!

    • Please tell me you also tried one of the massive ice creams that Sirmione has become quite famous for? 🙂 Lake Garda is a stunning part of Italy worth visiting but I sometimes think we stick too much to the lake and forget about places like Borghetto just a few miles away.

  • Svetoslav says:

    Hello, this is absolutely gorgeous a village indeed! I especially loved the meandering river and the view from the way to the castle brought me so many memories I cannot even describe.

    And since I am always game for something scrumptious, bring more of those tortellini! :))

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Izzy says:

    I feel like Italia just presents a number of opportunities to argue which town is the most picturesque but your pictures have me sold! I especially loved the story behind tortellini. Knots of love 🙂 How fun. People don’t realize that most Italian foods have a back story! My favorite to this day still is tiramisu, which literally translates to pick me up! So cute!

    • I agree Izzy there are many beautiful villages in Italy but after all of our travels around this wonderful country this is definitely up there with the best of the rest! Italians do love a good story for their favourite foods. 🙂

  • Claire says:

    What a lovely story, I had no idea tortellini was so romantic 😀 It certainly is a beautiful place, I would love to visit – and eat lots of pasta of course!!

  • What a perfect post to have read on Valentine’s Day! I always feel like Italy is more romantic than France. Paris = city of love? More like unfriendliest city on the planet! A town with a good story always strikes my fancy, too. The quaint photos almost remind me of parts of England, but the sun in your photos screams Italia! Would love to go check out your prettiest village.

    • You are very true Kate, I find Italy very romantic and as you say some of the Parisians can be very rude. We lived in France for about 6 months a couple of years ago and when I asked a couple of French people why they didn’t like the English they told me it was because we could not speak French properly, so even if you try if you don’t get it right they are very unforgiving. The Italians however are very proud of their country and want to show it off. They are warm and welcoming and don’t care if you completely crucify their language as long as you give it ago. 😀

  • Gina says:

    As soon as I saw your first photo I said, “Wow, that is pretty.” The story about the captain and the nymph had me captivated from the beginning and il Festa del Nodo d’ Amore sounds like something I would love to attend. Like you, I also live tortellini. I loved this post so much I pinned it!

  • You 1st had me at small village in Northern Italy and then you had me at Tortellini!
    I love hearing mythology from towns and the story of the Soldier and the Nymph is awesome, hell it makes me want to book a ticket now.
    The Borghetto and Valeggio towns remind me of so many villages in Northern Spain…Love that feel of old Europe!

    • I love old Europe as well Eric – the fact that these little villages can still survive today without the need to modernise is fantastic. I hate it when things change and not necessarily for the better.

  • Shaheen Khan says:

    So in love with this place after reading about it here and seeing these beautiful pics…what a charming love story too…amazing post😊

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