Modern tourism on Lake Garda goes back into the past
Modern tourism on Lake Garda stems from the past. In 1880 a German couple, the Wimmers, built the first hotels in Gardone Riviera and in 1919 the Società del Garda was established to promote tourism around Lake Garda. Between the two world wars and immediately after the second world war there were the first signs of tourism facilities in Tremosine, too, in the shape of restaurants and hotels (the Gallo, Morandi, Vapore, Centrale and Alpino have since disappeared, while the Miralago, Paradiso, Sole and Stella d'Oro are still open) and some private homes rented rooms to families who came back regularly.
The tourist industry developed very quickly after 1960, reaching its peak in the Seventies when tourist villages were built (Bazzanega, Le Valli, Mezzema, etc.) and hotels, cafés and guesthouses opened.
Mass tourism led to many more private and public facilities, not without the problems which, unfortunately, are always attendant on sudden, fast growth: inadequate infrastructure, disorganised urban planning, and sometimes difficult relations with the local inhabitants. However, tourism is the biggest source of money today for the residents of Tremosine.
Among Tremosine's illustrious visitors was the British statesman Winston Churchill. He came to Gardone Riviera in the summer of 1949. He was, officially, on holiday but it seems he was actually there to recover some letters he had written to Mussolini. The story goes that Churchill came as far as Pieve, where the archpriest (rural dean) at the time, Don Andrea Cipani, guided him around the church and sacristy. The beauty of the paintings and marquetry impressed Churchill. Above all, he admired an intact, 16th-century brocade gown which was used in the past to dress the statue of the Virgin Mary when it was carried in procession. The politician asked Don Andrea if he could buy the gown to upholster a sofa; he offered GBP150, a tidy sum in those days of postwar hardship. The good citizen of Pieve let Churchill have his say and then, raising his eyes from the drawer in which the brocade was kept, he gazed at the vault and launched into a description of the ceiling frescoes. The reporter of the event, Carlo Piovan, notes that, "Churchill didn't insist. He understood that there is pride in abject poverty as there is in wealth and power. Humbly, without discomposure".
Original Italian text from Tremosine: breve guida by Gabriele Scalmana