Sirmione, the pearl of the Lake Garda

Eleonora Ruzzenenti | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Lake Garda is Italy’s largest freshwater lake and one of the most popular holiday destinations in northern Italy, it’s a stunning family friendly location and easily accessible, the lake is only two hours away by car from Milan and even closer to Verona.

In my opinin one of the most beautiful spots on the whole lake, at least my favourite one is Sirmione, a magical meeting between turquoise water and a land praised by poets over two thousand years ago. 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 i**s a pleasant place to stay, with lots of comfortable hotels, some in the town centre and others spread along the green pensinsula. They're designed for relaxing stays, with sun terraces, pools or private beaches. The town itself offers short strolls, a couple of tourist attractions and lake views.

The town is dominated by a thirteenth-century sinking castle, the Rocca Scaligera, and though it is nicknamed the sinking castle, it is actually just a rare example of medieval port fortification. The castle was used by the fleet of the Scaliger family and was strategically placed in the perfect location that provided great protection from their enemies and locals. Once used for protection and a symbol of powerful militia, it is now a beautiful landmark that draws tourists to walk inside the castle and live out their childhood fairytale dreams.

Grotte di Catullo is a Roman villa built between the end of the 1st century BC and 1st century AD. The name derives from the latin poet owned a house there, and, in one of his poems, he heartily describes his return to his much beloved Sirmione. The villa is the most impressive example of a Roman villa in northern Italy and the entire archaeological complex is the most important testimony of the Roman period in the area. The villa occupies an area of ​​about 2 hectares and is surrounded by a historic olive grove composed of over 1500 plants, some centuries-old, belonging to three different varieties of olives from the Lake Garda area. In recent years, the harvest of olives to produce the historic Grotte di Catullo extra virgin olive oil has been revived. Within the archaeological area, since 1999 the small but important Archaeological Museum of Sirmione is open, which exhibits finds from Sirmione and some sites of the lower Garda area.

The Thermal bath of Sirmione uses the water which bubbles out of Lake Garda near the northern shoreline of the Sirmione peninsula. The water - mineral-rich and at a temperature of 70°C when it leaves the rock - is used for health treatments in the two thermal baths and spas which exist on the peninsula. The principal one is located on the lakefront northwards from the ferry landing jetty.

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