La Finestra Sul Fiume

Valeggio sul Mincio, Italian Lakes & Verona, Italy
Book from GBP Book from £220 per night

La Finestra Sul Fiume

Valeggio sul Mincio, Italian Lakes & Verona, Italy

A three-room B&B in a historic mill with an enchanting riverside setting between Lake Garda and Verona

A three-room B&B in a historic mill with an enchanting riverside setting between Lake Garda and Verona

There’s something bewitching about the Mincio river, which meanders languidly though the Veneto countryside, spawning legends of nymphs and sorcerers. It has held magical memories for Pietro Gandini since childhood, when his parents purchased this converted 15th-century mill on its banks, and it instantly cast a spell over us, too.

Now an intimate and restful B&B run by Pietro and his wife Mattea, who cannot do enough to ensure you have a perfect stay, La Finestra Sul Fiume sits in lush gardens on the edge of small town Valeggio sul Mincio whose castle crowns the hill behind. There are just three rooms – two in an ivy-clad outbuilding at the water’s edge, another in a self-contained cottage at the top of the lawn – ideal for nature lovers and romantics. By day, dragonflies hover among the lilies while herons and swans pose in the shallows; come evening, aperitifs are served under a flaming sky as frogs croak in the reeds and fireflies glow like scattered embers. If you can pull yourselves away, you can stroll into the pretty village of Borghetto, explore Lake Garda and historic Verona (both less than 30 minutes away by car), or cycle through fields of poppies. But if you find the lure of lazy days by the river too strong to resist, there are plenty of deckchairs where you can lie back with a book and let the birds sing you to sleep.

Highs

  • Blissful gardens, with sofas under a large, shady gazebo, deckchairs on a jetty, and little islands connected by stone bridges, all illuminated at night
  • Delicious breakfasts, tailored to your tastes and served under the willows as swans and geese drift slowly by
  • The two suites are very spacious, and all rooms have independent entrances
  • Pietro and Mattea (assisted by a troupe of friendly cats) are warm and welcoming hosts, full of insider tips on the region they love
  • A great area for foodies – Valeggio sul Mincio is famed for its tortellini pasta, and there are waterside restaurants a 10-minute walk away in Borghetto. Cookery workshops can be arranged, too

Lows

  • Rooms are comfortable rather than luxurious, with no TVs, and showers only in the ensuites
  • No bar or restaurant, but eating out is easy around these parts
  • No twin rooms, though all can take an extra bed or cot if you’re coming with children
  • It’s best to have a car to explore the area, though taxis and bike hire can be arranged

Best time to go

La Finestra Sul Fiume is open from March to November, and makes a wonderful retreat any time in between. Spring sees warm days and wildflowers (we visited in late April, when the riverbank was lined with lilies and the meadows were awash with poppies); autumn brings vibrant colours and the annual grape harvest. Summer can be sizzling in these parts, but you can always jump in the river to cool off.

Our top tips

Don't leave Valeggio sul Mincio without sampling its tortellini - wafer-thin pasta parcels, normally stuffed with prosciutto and pork loin and served with a simple herb broth. Legends abound regarding their invention: some say they were modelled on Venus' navel, others on the turtle motif found on buildings across the Veneto. Valeggio residents claim they were inspired by a love knot created by a soldier under the thrall of a Mincio nymph.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Boutique B&B
  • 3 rooms
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • Beach Nearby
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Car recommended
  • Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Ortensia

Rooms

The three rooms – each with their own private entrance – come with beamed ceilings, whitewashed walls and wooden shutters that swing open to reveal beautiful vignettes of the gardens and river. Homely country checks in calming shades of grey and cream adorn the cushions and curtains, while bird sculptures and a sprinkling of fishing-related paraphernalia reflect the waterside setting.

Two are housed in a separate building close to the river. Occupying the ground floor is one-bedroom suite Ortensia, with lofty ceilings, a living room with sofas and plenty of space, as well as its own private isle. We stayed in Iris, a similarly sized one-bedroom suite with two bathrooms. There's a picture window overlooking the river and willow tree – falling asleep to the gentle ripples of the river was pure bliss.

Over in a gingerbread-style cottage on the lawn, next to the main mill (where Pietro and Mattea live), is Gelsomino. Behind its flower-framed door is a sitting area with a comfy sofa, a shelf of books and an open-tread staircase spiralling up to the bedrooms. We loved the antique travelling chest, which opened out to provide hanging space for clothes.

Bathrooms throughout are simple, with showers in tiled niches or plastic cubicles (no tubs or bathrobes); be aware that Gelsomino’s ensuite is downstairs, so you’ll need to negotiate the steps on night-time loo trips. All rooms are heated and air-conditioned, and you also get a hairdryer, kettle, WiFi, and glass bottles of water.

Features include:

  • Hairdryer
  • WiFi

Eating

Pietro will ask you about breakfast preferences when you arrive, and will then tailor a morning feast to your tastes – if you want poached eggs and toast, then poached eggs and toast you will get. We tucked into creamy Monte Veronese cheese, pastries from the local bakery (including yummy wholemeal croissants) and juicy grapes the size of plums, along with pots of homemade jam, cafetières of coffee and a jug of freshly squeezed blood-orange juice. But the highlight of it all was the beautiful setting, on individual tables dotted under the willows (if the weather turns, things move under the cover of the gazebo). You can also pre-order items to be waiting for you in your fridge.

No other meals are served at the B&B, but guests are often treated to complimentary aperitifs as the sky and river slowly turn pink. And eating out is no problem in a region renowned for its Slow Food and local produce. Pietro and Mattea can suggest plenty of tried and tested restaurants, including relaxed waterside osterias in Borghetto (a 10-minute stroll away), fish-focused places near Lake Garda and upmarket trattorias in Verona.

If you want to splash out, taxis can be arranged to some of the grandes dames of Venetian cuisine. Perhaps the grandest of them all is the triple Michelin-starred Ristorante dal Pescatore near Mantua, which has been run by the Santini family since 1926 and which serves, in the words of Pietro, “the best of everything”.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating: Aperitif
Activity:

Activities

  • Unwind on a deckchair and watch daily life on the riverbank; doing very little is one of the joys of staying at La Finestra Sul Fiume
  • Ask Pietro and Mattea to arrange bicycle and e-bike hire, and cycle through the rolling hills and wildflower meadows of the Veneto. The flat Mincio cycle path runs behind the B&B
  • Wander along to beautiful Borghetto, perched on a weir and home to ancient mills, pastel-coloured houses and a fortified medieval bridge
  • Lake Garda is within easy reach. Avoid the theme parks around its southern tip and head north to the pretty villages of Torri del Benaco and Malcesine, or hop on a boat to elegant Salò on the western shore
  • Spend a day in Verona, just 30 minutes away. Admire the Roman arena, gaze at the frescoed buildings lining the Piazza delle Erbe, and head to the Casa di Giulietta to pose on the balcony and swoon at the love letters left by romantics from the world over
  • A 30-minute drive south is Mantua, less touristy than Verona and packed with magnificent Renaissance architecture
  • Sample the region’s wines. Pietro and Mattea can organise visits to the vineyards of Custoza, Lugana and Valpolicella, as well as a taxi to ferry you between them
  • Or learn the secrets of Italian food during a cookery workshop, which might include a market tour, pasta-making and dinner with aperitifs. Private classes can be arranged, too
  • Hit the local green with Pietro, a registered golf instructor who can provide lessons for those keen to improve their swing

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Tennis coaching
  • Wine tasting

Kids

The focus at La Finestra Sul Fiume is very much on romance and relaxation, but the sprawling gardens mean there’s enough space for everyone, and Pietro and Mattea (who have a daughter themselves) welcome kids of all ages. There are endless opportunities for Swallows and Amazons-style adventures.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

A baby cot or extra bed can be added to all rooms, and all work for families. Book Iris or Ortensia as these are large one bedroom suites with a living room and two ensuite bathrooms each. Split-level Gelsomino is another option for a family of three, as the sofa can be moved to create an additional sleeping area downstairs, but it is unsuitable for infants due to the steep spiral staircase. Be aware that all rooms have showers only (no tubs).

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Families Should Know:

The proximity of the water means you’ll need to keep a close eye on roving toddlers. Ortensia has its own private isle. Gelsomino has a spiral staircase so is not suitable for infants

Distances:

  • Airport: 30 minutes (Verona)
  • Hospital: 30 minutes (Verona)
  • Shop: 5 minutes (Valeggio sul Mincio)
Kid Friendly:

Location

La Finestra Sul Fiume is set on the edge of Valeggio sul Mincio, a small town in the Veneto region of northern Italy. It's 13km from the southern end of Lake Garda, and 30km from Verona.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Verona (only 20km away), which is served by flights from cities across Europe. The B&B is also within easy reach of the small airport at Brescia (60km away), as well as Bergamo (105km away), Milan Linate (149km away) and Milan Malpensa (188km away).

From the Airport
You can take a taxi from Verona airport, but we'd recommend hiring a car to get the most out of your stay (see below).

By Train:
The nearest railway stations are Peschiera del Garda and Verona; you can take a taxi or hire a car for the final leg to the B&B.

By Car:
Pietro and Mattea will happily arrange taxis and bike hire, but we recommend renting a car to explore the area. See our car rental recommendations. Parking is available at the B&B.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Verona Valerio Catullo 20.0 km VRN
  • Brescia Gabriele D'Annunzio 60.0 km VBS

Other:

  • Beach 10.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.0 km

Rates for La Finestra Sul Fiume

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