PLACESGarda Lombardia


A journey to the pearl of Lake Garda.

by Marco Ghirello

The town of Sirmione is located in the southern part of Lake Garda, between the towns of Peschiera del Garda to the east and Desenzano del Garda to the west. Geographically, it is located on a peninsula about four kilometres long.

Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Sirmione developed considerably during Roman times. In the northernmost part of the peninsula, there are in fact the remains of an ancient Roman villa, traditionally attributed to the poet Gaio Valerio Catullo and today known as the Museo Archeologico delle Grotte di Catullo.

During the medieval period, Sirmione was under the domination of the Scaligeri, the lords of Verona. They built the Scaliger Castle around the 13th century to defend the town from possible aggression.

The local economy today is based on tourism, and among the best known activities are the Terme di Sirmione (Sirmione thermal baths).

Thermal activity in this area began with the discovery of the Boiola spring, towards the end of the 19th century. A spring located under the bed of Lake Garda, from which sulphurous salso-bromo-iodine thermal water flows, appreciated for its excellent therapeutic qualities.

The agricultural sector is also important. Sirmione is also part of the Garda DOP Extra Virgin Olive oil production area, as well as fertile ground for wine production. It is in this area that the excellent Lugana DOC wine is produced.

Festivities and markets
Patron SaintSanta Maria della Neve
Feast day5 August
Weekly marketFriday (Lugana)

What to see in Sirmione

Entering the historic centre of Sirmione is in itself an experience that remains in the hearts of those who visit it for the first time. After parking the car, you walk along the scenic lakefront until you reach the marvellous Castello Scaligero.

Curious fact - Is there a castle without its ghost? Of course not, and the castle of Sirmione is no different. According to a local legend, the castle was inhabited by two young newlyweds, Ebengardo and his wife Arice. One stormy night, they gave hospitality to a knight named Elaberto, who was immediately struck by Arice's remarkable beauty. In an attempt to possess her by force, Elaberto attacked the young woman who struggled mightily, but was finally killed. It was thus that her husband Ebengardo, at the sight of her dead, avenged her by killing the knight. Even today, Ebengardo's ghost is said to roam the castle rooms, searching for his beloved Arice.

The Scaliger Castle is perfectly preserved, can be visited for a fee and offers, from the top of the towers and walkways, an incomparable view over the whole of Sirmione.

The narrow bridge leads to the streets that lead to the northernmost part of the peninsula, where the most popular beaches and the Grotte di Catullo are located.

Walking in this direction, it is worth stopping at the small church of San Pietro in Mavino. Built in Romanesque style in the 8th century, it is located in an elevated area and is the oldest church in Sirmione.

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What to do in Sirmione

A holiday in Sirmione is the perfect way to relax, a place that is also suitable for discovering the natural beauty surrounding Lake Garda.

The Sirmione Spas are undoubtedly an essential stop to regenerate and regain physical and mental harmony. They are equipped with every comfort to satisfy every need, from the SPA located in front of the lake to the hospitality guaranteed by four hotels.

Wellness then, but also historical sites of rare beauty and a well-structured museum tour at the enchanting Grotte di Catullo. This area includes the remains of an ancient Roman villa, a park with dozens of olive trees and the Sirmione Archaeological Museum. The latter houses an interesting collection of artefacts found at nearby pile-dwelling sites, as well as additional Roman and medieval objects.

Walking is known to be good for your health, but to feel even better, why not take a dip in the clear waters of Lake Garda?

There are several beaches in Sirmione. Among the most popular are Lido delle Bionde beach, Punta Grò beach, Lido di Lugana beach, Brema beach, Muse beach, Lido Galeazzi beach, and Giamaica Beach. The latter is so called due to the purity of the water and the magical colours that recall the famous tropical paradise. A truly unique corner of Lake Garda, consisting not of the usual pebble beach, but of a set of large stone slabs that make this place easily recognisable.

Image gallery

Click on the button below to open the Sirmione image gallery.

Map of tourist sites

Click on the button below to open the detailed map of Sirmione, where we have marked the main tourist sights of this place, sorted by typology.


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