This summer I was lucky enough to spend five days on the shores of Lake Garda, this post takes a look at my day in Sirmione. Sirmione is one of the most popular holiday resorts on the shores of Lake Garda in northern Italy. The small historic town is located on the tip of a long peninsula protruding from the southern shore of the lake between Desenzano del Garda and Peschiera. Sirmione has thermal springs making it a spa destination even in Roman times.
Out towards the end of the headland are the ruins of what was once a large and impressive 1st Century Roman Villa – The Grottoes of Cattulus. The ruins are in a lovely setting surrounded by lake, with lizards scuttling through olive groves and you can wander through the ruined walls, take in the stunning views and admire archaeological finds – including a charming carving of rabbits – in the small museum.
The Grottoes of Cattulus and museum are open Tuesday to Sunday 8:30am to 7pm during the summer and close around 4:30pm in the winter. It costs around Euros 6 to visit the site, including the museum. There is also a sweet little dotto train if you are feeling the stain in the heat, which costs just Euro 1 each way to take you to the entrance form the town below.
The town is dominated by a thirteenth-century castle, the Rocca Scaligera, defended by a moat patrolled by swans and ducks. It is a real fairytale castle from the exterior. The interior is not much more than an empty shell, but visitors can explore the ramparts, admire views over Lake Garda and climb the tower.
The barricade is home to a 1,000 year old gonadal which was fished up from the banks of the lake.
The castle is open the same hours as the ruins and also costs Euros 6 to visit – well spent for those views.
For more information visit the tourist office website: www.comune.sirmione.bs.it
Contributor & photographer: Alexandra Pinhorn
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