I was going to give the headline Sweaty Sirmione to this post, but although it would do justice to the warmth, or heat (hot hot), it still wouldn’t feel like the right match. The town of Sirmione is located on Garda’s southern shore on an islet at the end of a narrow peninsula.
The reason I want to dedicate an own post to Sirmione are the Grotte di Catullo (Grottoes of Catullus), the ruins of a great Roman villa. They are situated in an olive grove at the northernmost tip of the peninsula. It dates to the 1st century BC and I learned that it is the largest patrician domestic Roman villa discovered in all of northern Italy. It’s really impressive. The building was once huge, with high rooms and long corridors. And the views opening to the lake and across the sparkling water are stunning. It was one lucky patrician fellow who lived there a long time ago.
Other sights and attractions include thermal baths (though warm water was not too alluring at the time of our visit) and the Scaliger castle. I would recommend Sirmione for a visit of a few hours, including a panoramic walk along the beachline, a visit to the Grottoes (don’t let the name fool you, no caves), a gelato moment (no need to put specific directions here, hotels, restaurants and gelaterias appear frequently) and the swim in the lake of course. Sirmione, like all the towns around Garda, is very popular and busy during the holiday season. And, if you have a soft spot for leather items, keep your eyes wide open when approaching the peninsula, because there’s a leather outlet on the way.