Sirmione is a one of the most visited coastal towns of the Lake Garda coast. Its narrow streets, Scaligero castle and the remains of an ancient Roman villa mesmerize most of the visitors of the town who have a feeling as if they traveled in time for a chance to re-live an episode of Sirmione’s interesting past.
During the Roman period, Sirmione with the surrounding area was a popular resort for the rich families from Verona. The remains from this period are still visible in one part of the town. Also in the ancient Roman period, Sirmione area was the sight of a battle between the Roman Forces and German coalition forces Alemanni, in which Romans took a decisive victory and secured their northern borders.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Longobards ruled in the north of Italy. After the fall of the Longobard Kingdom, Sirmione was probably a free community until 1197, when it fell under the rule of Verona.
In the 13th century, the Sermione Castle or in Italian “Castello Scaligero” was constructed by Mastino I della Scala (the Lord of Verona) most probably on the remains of an ancient Roman Castrum (a type of Roman fortification). In 1378, Sirmione was taken by Visconti family of Milan (Lords of Milan), while in the 15th century it fell under the rule of the Republic of Venice.
After the fall of the Venetian Republic, Sermione was occupied by French forces in 1797. Already in 1816, it fell under the Austrian rule. After the Third Independence War, Sermione became a part of the unified Italy.
For a long period, Sirmione was known for its thermal waters. However, the depth of thermal water springs impeded any commercial use all until the end of the 19th century. In this period, great efforts were made in order to bring thermal waters from the depth of 19 meters to the surface. This water is nowadays used in thermal baths in Sermione, which became a well-known destination for all visitors of the lake who enjoy this type of relaxation.
What to visit in Sermione
Sirmione Castle (Scaligero Castle) - is a beautiful castle from the 13th century surrounded almost entirely by the waters of the Lake Garda.
Grottoes of Catullus (Grotte di Catullo)- are the remains of an ancient Roman villa built between 1st century BC and 1st century AD.