You can’t say you have actually visited Lake Garda, if you didn’t stop in Sirmione.
History and nature meet in a picturesque town which divides the eastern and western sides of the lake: being located halfway between Brescia and Verona (and very close to the junction of Desenzano), Sirmione is easily accessible from the A4 highway and by train.
So here are a few tips on the best things to do in Sirmione, spacing from beaches, to places of historical interest and even moments of pure relaxation at the Spa!
Sirmione extends over a peninsula, a natural watershed between the Brescian and Veronese shores of the lake. The heart of the city is at the tip of this isthmus, where access is permitted only to pedestrians and taxis (only for Hotel services though).
However, you can leave your car in one of the many car parks outside the walls and enjoy a beautiful and relaxing walk from there.
Strolling along the peninsula, you will pass through alleys full of life, among ice cream parlours, restaurants with outdoor tables and shops in pure Italian style.
You will also be able to stop at one of the many bars and enjoy the sunset over the lake while sipping a Pirlo, the typical local aperitif, or a nice glass of Lugana, a white wine produced in the area.
Between a glimpse to the balconies with lush bougainvillea and another to the calm waters of the lake, do not forget to visit the many churches of Sirmione: starting from that of Sant’Anna, inside the castle, you will find then Santa Maria della Neve, up to San Pietro in Mavino, built in the fourteenth century on the highest point of the peninsula.
Sirmione was also the home of the great Maria Callas, when she was married to the entrepreneur Giovanni Battista Meneghini: near their villa lays the Park Maria Callas, whose pathways, lined with cedars, will lead you to the tip of Sirmione.
The entrance to the historic centre is guarded by the Scaliger Castle: the fortress owes its name to the noble Della Scala family, who ruled over Verona and the lake in the 13th century, but it was built on a pre-existing Roman fortification.
With its massive towers and dock for the fleet, it is one of the best preserved castles in Italy, and testifies to the strategic importance that Sirmione had in past centuries. It is also one of the rare examples of lake fortification.
You can access the castle from the village and there you can walk on the patrol walkways, reach the top of the keep overlooking the dock, or visit the exhibition and the church of Sant’Anna inside the fortress.
Despite the name, these are not caves but a Roman domus built between the first century BC and the first century AD, which covers an area of about two hectares. Inside the park of the Caves of Catullus you can also find an Archaeological Museum.
The hypothesis that the villa was the home of the poet Catullus – to which he himself refers in a carme – has never been proven: what is certain, however, is that this is the most impressive example of domus in the whole Northern Italy.
Read more about the Grottoes of Catullus!
Opening hours of the Grottoes of Catullus
The site is closed on Tuesdays, while on other days it observes different times during the summer period (from the last Sunday in March to the last Saturday in October) and during the winter period (from the last Sunday in October to the last Saturday in March).
- from 8.30 to 19.30 from Monday to Saturday (except Tuesday, closing day)
- from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. on Sundays
- from 8.30 to 17.00 from Monday to Saturday (except Tuesday, closing day)
- from 8.30 to 14.00 on Sundays
The town was already known in the Middle Ages as a spring of thermal water, and today Aquaria Thermal Spa boasts a wide range of facilities and services: around the sulphurous salsobromoiodic thermal water, known for its healing and preventive properties, revolves a 360° wellness experience.
In Sirmione there are two thermal centres, Virgilio and Catullo, and hotels with internal thermal spas, where you can enjoy swimming pools, massages, beauty treatments, thermal mud pools and inhalation therapy.
Discover Aquaria Thermal Spa!