The convent and its spaces
The word convent derives from the Latin con-venire (to get together). It simply refers to a meeting place. From their origins convents reserved therefore a space to accommodate travellers and for long time they were considered a safe haven for asylum seekers. A convent is indeed the ideal place of rest for modern pilgrims, those searching for meaning and those tired of all challenges. With its sober means of hospitality, the Convent of St. Thomas helps individuals and groups restore peace within themselves. Our thanks go to the Franciscan Order (Frati Minori, Region of Lombardy) for making the Convent of St. Thomas in Gargnano available to us. We conceived it to meet everybody’s need for time –so mysteriously difficult to manage in our contradictory pace of life. We offer it as a place that promotes peace and offers a pause for personal synthesis and a chance to regenerate oneself (ressourcement in French). Well aware of the myth of an earth without evil, our humble dream is simply to share, informally, tranquillity and silence, to offer the personal opportunity of a pleasant experience of retreat, a chance to listen, to think, and to find that rare word of wisdom. In our written words of Welcome (Benvenuto-En), we invite guests to help us in maintaining this atmosphere and adopting the style of living that makes a convent different from a hotel or a resort. As we have no financial support, besides that of guests and some friends, we ask for your help directed toward maintaining this structure for the time to come, for everybody and future generations. Internal features 20 rooms (10 single, 9 double, 1 for three persons) all with a toilet attached. With the exception of 5 rooms, showers and bathrooms are shared.
Common rooms include a conference room for about 50 people.
a meeting/seminar room for 20
a library/reading room
a room for meditation and prayer
a dining room and a kitchen, which is equipped for cooking meals independently.
The convent has special displays of antique collections of working instruments, measuring tools, and tiles, especially those of the liberty style.
External features The land associated with the convent includes an olive orchard and three large terraces where one can enjoy nature, the exceptional colours of Lake Garda below us, and the diverse patterns of the roofs of the suburb of Villa di Gargnano. In the summer these external spaces can also be used for meetings, discussion groups and training sessions.
How to go there ?
By car On the motorway Milano-Venezia, exit at Brescia Est or Desenzano (according to the direction of travelling) and follow the signs to Salò –Riva del Garda. On the road from Brennero, follow the signs Riva del Garda –Salò. The national road gardesana occidentale (SS 45 bis) travels through Gargnano. Coming from Salò and after Toscolano-Maderno, note the top sign Gargnano, cross the locality Boliaco with its large Villa Bettoni along the road, enter the locality Villa and keep an eye for the small yellow tourist sign “Chiesa di San Tommaso” on your right that sends you into a side road on the left. Follow this short, climbing road and its sharp right curve until its end in front of the church. Coming from Riva and after Campione, note the sign Gargnano and continue until the locality Villa, where the (now) right turn described above is after a petrol station. The European Centre is located inside the Convent St Thomas, which is besides of the church.
By public transports
If flying, select one of the following airports (in order of convenience): Bergamo, Verona, Milano Linate, Milano Malpensa, Treviso-Venezia. Each one has frequent buses connecting to a railway station. By rail reach the destinations of Brescia or Desenzano. For timetables and train tickets consult www.trenitalia.com. As you exit the railway station of Brescia, turn left and find the bus station of SIA, from where frequent buses takes you to Gargnano (1 hour 40 min trip). For timetables consult www.sia-autoservizi.it or call +39 030 3774237. Be carful that the buses don’t run at all in August 15.
From Desenzano buses are less frequent, but you have the choice of a ferry to Gargnano. For timetables consult www.navigazionelaghi.it or call the green number 800 551801.t or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
With its churches, palaces, villas (Feltrinelli and Bettoni) and limonaie (winter shelters for lemon trees), Gargnano is a charming tourist destination in itself.
Nearby attractions are: -* picturesque lakeside townships such as Sirmione, Malcesine, Riva, Toscolano, Gardone, and Salo’. -* mountain walks inside the National Park of the Alto Garda Bresciano and, on the east shores, on the popular Mount Baldo. -* historical and artistic cities such as Brescia, Mantova, Bergamo, Cremona, Verona with the Arena exhibitions, Vicenza, Padova and Venice. -* the leisure parks : water, mouvies and the famous Gardaland.
For further information: http://gardaworld.com.