Parco del Mincio
Mincio Park, located in the eastern part of Lombardy, stretches from the regional confines in the north to the river Po in the south, embracing the valley of the River Mincio. The territory is varied and extends from the hills, to the terraced plains, from the area of meandering riverbeds to the complex of lakes of Mantua, with the exceptional wetlands of the Mincio valleys and the lowland forests of the Bosco Fontana.
The Mincio originates from Lake Garda in Peschiera and runs straight through the Verona area for a few kilometres. The river enters the Mantua territory (in the region of Lombardy) on the right bank in Ponti sul Mincio and Monzambano. This entire area is included in the moraine amphitheatre of Lake Garda, with gentle hills covered with vineyards and oak trees. Just beyond the Mincio Valleys and the village of Grazie di Curtatone, the river widens to form the first of three lakes that embrace Mantua.
The current hydraulic system that regulates the flow of the river around the city dates back to 1190 and is the work, highly advanced for its time, of Alberto Pimentino. The largest and widest of the three lakes is the Superiore. From the shores of public park of Belfiore it is easy to catch a glimpse of the floating island of lotus flowers that bloom with spectacular beauty in the summer months.
From the Superiore and Mezzo lakes you can see the outline of the massive palace of the Gonzaga family. Finally, Lake Inferiore offers views of the humid environment of Vallazza. Visitors can explore the area by taking boat excursions that depart from the docks of the Mincio and Gonzaga lakeside. Without a doubt, the protagonists of the animal life in Mincio Park are the birds, with many species that are mainly related to the aquatic environment and marshlands. The park is also home to a system of historic locks and canals along with architectural and artistic elements, including the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie , the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and numerous villas from the age of the Gonzaga's reign.