Polpenazze del Garda is one of the central areas of the Valtenesi district, and owes its reputation to its historical features. On an island in the middle of Lake Lucone (which dried up between the 15th and 18th centuries), the remains of a lake-dwelling village were discovered, proving that the area was already inhabited in the bronze age by a population that lived on hunting and fishing. Fragments found in the Tower of Bottenago and in the Church of San Pietro in Lucone provide evidence that peoples such as the Celts, the Etruscans and the Romans passed through this area. Its name derives from the derogatory Roman form of Pomponius, Pomponocius.
The people of Polpenazze were considered to be a very determined population, leading to the saying "Polpenazze, warlike people, farmers". The statutes of the municipality of Polpenazze, proposed by the residents themselves, were approved by an Assembly of the 38 Heads of noble families gathered in the castle in 1454. Among famous names from this village, besides the Filippini family, we have Giovanni Omodeo who carried out an innovative reform by creating an artificial lake, introducing the use of intensive farming and bringing electricity and running water to the municipality.
As a defense against the Hungarian invasions of the 10th century, the Polpenazze castle was erected. Though it was destroyed at the beginning of the 15th century by the Visconti family, it was rebuilt once again by Polpenazze in 1426. In order to be able to build the new parish church, was necessary to tear down the southern part of the structure and turn a wall tower in a steeple. Only the entrance of the medieval castle is still standing today.
SANTA MARIA PARISH CHURCH (ST. MARY'S)
The consent of Pope Pius II was necessary to erect the parish Church of Polpenazze, which was granted in 1400. The parish church of St. Mary was built throughout most of the 16th century; it features a Baroque facade designed by Tagliaferri and paintings by Grazio Cossali, Pietro Marone and Bertanza.
CHURCH OF SAN PIETRO IN LUCONE
The Church of San Pietro in Lucone, erected in 1300 on the ruins of a Roman temple, displays a Romanesque structure on the outside composed of a gabled façade and a rose window, while the interior features frescoes dating back to the 15th century.
THE CHURCH OF SAN ANTONIO (ST. ANTHONY)
The church of St. Anthony stands at Picedo: a building in late Romanesque style, with a single hall, that still preserves a gabled roof with beams and hollow flat terracotta tiles. The interior houses valuable 16th century frescoes. Today, only a single building remains of the ancient historical heart of this hamlet that faces onto the square, next to the Church. It is of considerable importance due to the integrity of its original appearance: it is a typical example of a fifteenth-century rustic building.
There is a larger building in the village, Casa Palazzi, dating back to the 17th century, with a characteristic "E" layout which includes two courtyards, each with a majestic fountain and beautiful arcades.