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Lake Garda, where the placid water, mountains and sky are balanced in an elemental harmony, has long been a source of inspiration for writers and thinkers. Despite changing hands between the French, Austrians and various Italian states, little has changed for the largest Italian lake since Catullus and Dante, Byron, Goethe and Tennyson were drawn here by the surprisingly temperate climate and the scent of the hardy citrus trees; the water as famously clear and tranquil now as when the Romans, 2000 years ago, founded one of the best preserved ancient sites in northern Italy.