Lake Garda, from Sirmione
Since the town is surrounded on 3 sides by the lake, take advantage. We grabbed some picnic food and found many nice areas on the eastern shore of the peninsula. On clear days you can see the peaks of the Dolomites. There are areas to go swimming as well on this eastern side.
The western shore is lined with modern hotels and docks for public and private docks. From the main dock here you can get on a ferry to other areas of the lake, or take a short cruise. We were told the best views of Sirmione and the surrounding towns are from the water. We’ll have to hop on a boat next time.
"Salve, o venusta Sirmio....", wrote Catullus and those words show his love of Sirmione, "the gem of all the peninsula's".
Not too many details still are visible but the Roman poet's spirit still lives on in his villa and grotte.
History has brought Sirmione many highs and lows but it has never lost its magic.
Either it were the Romans or Cimbrians, Goths or Avars, Scaligers or Venetians, all where touched by Sirmione's fabulous charm.
The island juts out into Lake Garda like an arm and the water mirrors its luminous image.
Not only Catullus, but also Caesaris is said to have stayed here. In the 8th century, the Longobards built a convent, Dante came looking for inspiration, Carducci and Boito spent meaningful hours here.....
The Romans had built two castles, two harbours, a settlement and the gigantic villa that rose on rocks and powerfully towered over the lake. On the foundations of the old eastern harbour, the Scalighere later on built their famous fortress: a charming, graceful yet strong and imposing building.
Be prepared for lotsa people but don't let them keep you from visiting Sirmione.