Sirmione Travel Summary

Sirmione is set on a peninsula Lake Garda, an outstanding area of natural beauty in northern Italy.   The old town is a beautiful medieval centre with a labyrinth of cobbles streets and its own castle (Rocca Scaligera) which has a perfect position guarding the old town and overlooking Lake Garda.

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The Sirmione Travel Summary is segmented into 2 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Sirmione :

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town;
  2. What to See

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town:

The fairytale castle with its own moat and drawbridge guards the entrance to the old town.  Built for strategic purposes at the end of the thirteenth century, Rocca Scaligera is is one of the best preserved castles in Italy.  You can then enter a gate into the Old Town with its beautiful stuccoed buildings, cobbled streets, archways and beautiful courtyards.   Sirmione is clustered within the ancient walls of the impressive medieval Scaligeri Castle and moat.  Its honey-coloured buildings and maze of tiny pedestrianised streets might appear untouched, but they house the town’s bustling pavement cafés and boutiques.  And a proper visit to the fortress is a must – its lake views alone are worth the steps and stairs.
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As well as the fortress, Sirmione boasts number of sights including the Thermal Baths of Catullus, the churches Santa Maria Maggiore and San Pietro in Mavino, and the Roman Villa ruins of the poet Catullus, known also as Grotta di Catullo.
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Sirmione acts as a great place to stay to explore Lake Garda with the a ferry terminal near the fortress.  Whilst Sirmione can be busy during the day with tourists it is rarely too busy in the evenings and with its inviting restaurants and bars and historic charm it makes an ideal destination to explore this incredible area.
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Slightly out of the old town, are the ancient ruins of Grotte di Catullo. The Roman villa on site is believed to have belonged to the Cattulus family and dates from the 1st century B.C.  It is one of the most important Roman sites in northern Italy, and in an incredibly picturesque location.  Admire the crumbling walls as you wander through olive groves surrounded by Garda’s waters.

Jamaica Beach is a beach near the end of Sirmione’s peninsula and offers one of the best swimming spots in the area.  Sirmione is also famous for its hot thermal springs and one the the best places to sample them is at the Aquaria.   Acquaria is located on the shores of Lake Garda and offering over 10,000 sq meters of thermal spas, spring and whirlpools.

Make sure you do not miss the sunsets from the pier over Lake Garda which are sensational.

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2. What to See:

If you decide to stay in Sirmione, you will likely use it as a base to explore Lake Garda, Brescia, Verona and Venice.   However, utilise your time in the evenings to explore this beautiful town and outstanding location.

Rocca Scaligera Castle:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The showcase of Sirmione – the spectacular Rocca Scaligera Castle and one of the best preserved in Italy
  • The castle was built in the 13th century by the Scaligeri lords of Verona who ruled the area at the time, over top of the ruins of an ancient Roman fortress
  • Surrounded by the lake except for the artificially structured harbour, which was originally designed to protect Verona’s fleet, the castle has three towers and a 47m high main tower
  • Enter via a drawbridge into the central portico and take the 146 steps to the high tower to admire the breathtaking views of Sirmione and Lake Garda
  • The castle’s vast portico is home to a lapidarian and a small exhibition on the castle’s history

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The Grottoes of Catullus:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Jutting out from the idyllic Sirmione Peninsular, this expansive villa offers a glimpse of how the elite lived during the Roman times
  • It’s the largest domestic Roman villa in northern Italy and wandering its terraced hillsides offers fantastic views across Lake Garda
  • The Roman villa is over 2000 years old and dates from the 1st century AD and was owned by a wealthy Veronese family

 

Church of San Pietro:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Church of San Pietro is located on the tip of the peninsula of Sirmione del Garda on top of a hill overlooking the entire lake and is the oldest church in Sirmione
  • Built in the 8th century BC, inside you can admire frescoes dating back to the 12th -16th century
  • In the smaller apses you will find a Crucifix with the Madonna and Saints and a 14th-century Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints

 

Wander the historic streets of the Old Town:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Old Town is wonderfully atmospheric with excellent alfresco dining and several high-quality boutiques
  • Make sure you check out the sunsets from the pier overlooking Lake Garda which are sensational
  • There are also a couple of excellent beaches in Sirmione including Spiaggia Lido delle Bionde and Jamaica Beach which make for a good way to relax if you’re taking a break from sightseeing

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3. Photo Gallery:

 

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