Salo is situated in a natural inlet at the southern end of the Gardone Riviera and on the western side of Lake Garda in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. It is a quiet town in an attractive setting backed by mountain scenery and fronted by the lake.
With historical roots dating back to Ancient Roman times, Salo gained fame more recently as the capital of Mussolini's republic from 1943-1945.
If you arrive by ferry as we did you will find yourself in the Piazza Vittoria, a good a place as any to start exploring Salo - or perhaps first to rest awhile in one of the cafes around the square.
The historic town is behind this square, and the promenade heads in both directions along the coast from here, with a small harbour to the south. On exploring you can clearly see the original medieval layout of the town, based around its cathedral. This cathedral is in the late-gothic style with a late 15th century Renaissance portal by Antonio della Porta and Gasparo from Cairano.
Inside Salo cathedral there are numerous works of art including the dome, frescoed by Palma il Giovane (1544-1628) and the "Madonna with St. Bonaventure and San Sebastian", by Girolamo Romanino (c.1484 - c.1562) and several other beautiful artefacts in the late-gothic style.
While it otherwise has little in the way of important attractions Salo makes for a pleasant stroll - indeed, a very long pleasant stroll, since the water front promenade is very extensive and a good place to catch up on your shopping!
Note: I was told that Salo has the longest promenade in Italy but have no way to know if that is true - or how such a thing would be calculated or checked!
As you stroll along the promenade there are numerous cafes and restaurants where you can pause a while and enjoy the views across the lake.
To learn more about the history of the town you can visit the Palazzo della Magnifica Patria, a 16th century palace which contains a museum explaining events of historical importance in Salo.
One popular excursion from here is to visit the Comincioli vineyards at Puegnano del Garda to sample some of the local rosé wines.
You will also want to visit the lively resort at Gardone Riviera just a short distance north-east along the shore of Lake Garda to admire the villas and stroll around the botanical gardens and Sirmione at the southern end of the lake to see the castle.
Map of Salo and places to visit
Salo places to visit
See more places nearby in the Lombardy guide