Protected by a barrier of mountains, Riva del Garda enjoys a Mediterranean climate, tempered by the currents of the lake; olive trees and palm trees grow here.
The town became a famous holiday destination as early as the late 19th century. Among the most illustrious guests was Nietzsche, who in the 1880’s stayed here for several weeks. In need of a period of rest due to his precarious physical conditions, the philosopher chose Italy. Together with his friend Paul Rée, he visited Genoa, Naples, Sorrento and Riva del Garda. Nietzsche was enthralled by the beauty of the peninsula, but the period of leisure coincided with the worsening of his mental illness.
Other men of letters and intellectuals of the period also spent time on Lake Garda. The Hartungen, the Brods, D.H. Lawrence. More than ten thousand foreigners stayed here in 1901; well over 37,000, mostly Austrian and German, five years later. Development continued gradually until the outbreak of the First World War. Today Riva is one of Garda’s tourist capitals.