Sirmione and the cave surprise

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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.

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Cartoline di Italia

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Echt super, as they would say in Garda. This is referring to the popularity of Lake Garda among German tourists and also to the very good German skills of the customer service personnel at the lake. And super it was.

I think that an affirmation of a really good holiday is a bag full of solar energy, unforgettable new experiences, memories that make you smile big and a drive to go through the hundreds of holiday photographs (also a wet bikini and some light summer dresses needing a wash may be found in the same bag).

We spent a holiday week at Lake Garda, at the town of San Zeno di Montagna and did many trips, both around the lake and to Verona and Venice. It was beautiful. Postcardlike. Fun. What I had imagined and hoped for and a lot more.

Lago di Garda. The sound of crickets on a warm pleasant summer evening while strolling to have dinner in a beautiful and atmospheric Italian garden. Starting the day with a game of tennis with a spectacular view over the lake. Marveling at all the things that can be made of lemons at Limone Sul Garda (they really do the lemon thing well). A gorgeous panoramic route and tight tornante turns on the  mountain roads. A closed kitchen in a restaurant meaning you’ll end up having one of the tastiest improvised dinners ever. Restaurants closing  when the last customers want to leave. And an evening swim when the sunset colors the sky with lilac, peach and orange.

My tip (one of them, more coming up soon) for a holiday on the lake: always have a bikini with you for tempting swimming occasions, little money for an espresso, a gelato or a glass of Lugana, a hat with a wide brim and something light to wear, made of natural fibers.

I’ll write more posts about Northern Italy, but now, some postcards in the form of photos from along the way.

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