Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
July 5, 2010
From journal A Land Where the Lemon Trees Flower
by Joy S
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
September 6, 2008
From journal A Week in Lake Garda
Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom
September 13, 2004
We landed close to Rocca Scaligera, a fairy-tale castle with boxy turreted towers and almost surrounded by water. The Veronese Scaligeri family had built it in the thirteenth century when they ruled Garda. Such an intriguing building needed immediate investigation. Inside there had to be period costumes, weapons, and other historical artifacts. We found only a dug out 9- long canoe dredged from the lake bottom. The views from the battlements proved panoramic but didn’t justify the entrance fee of €4.
From the castle battlements, the nearby church of St. Maria Maggiore drew our attention. This small but beautiful late Baroque-styled building dates from the 15th century. Its site has been the religious and social centre of the town from the time of Antiquity. The portico had been part of the nearby cemetery, is of Roman origin, and probably part of the original church. The present church has a simple and appealing single nave construction subdivided by three great arches. Its walls and five altars are decorated with frescoes of various origins.
To the south of the town, is the peninsula's triangular traffic-free area covered in cypresses and olive groves. Slumbering here among trees is the church of San Pietro in Mavino, built in the eighth century on the site of a pagan temple. It has some fine thirteenth-and fourteenth-century frescoes. Outside is a bell monument to the dead and wounded of all wars. The shady grounds make a good picnic stop on a hot day.
A path leads along the edge of the peninsula, passing bubbling hot sulfur springs, to a fenced-off area at the tip of the peninsula. From here another path leads up to the Grotte di Catullo. The entrance fee of € 4.13 gives entrance to a small antiquarian displaying fragments of mosaics and frescoes, and out to the ruins themselves.
These ruins are either the remains of the finest and largest private Roman villa in northern Italy, or a public bath with water piped in from the natural hot sulfur spring under the lake. Now the curative power of the gushing sulfurous waters at 69˚C, bubbles into a modern spa building near the centre of Sirmione.
The name Grotto of Catullus came about because the great poet, Catullus, had a villa on the peninsula, and wrote glowingly of the ruins. Scattered on the hillside over a large area among ancient olive trees, are lofty crumbling walls, pillars, and arches. It puts one’s imagination into overdrive figuring out the role of the original building. It simply seems too big to be a villa. The location above a beach though is perfect - there are superb views across the lake to the mountains.
Sirmione had not disappointed in what it has to offer.
From journal LAKE GARDA- A tourist magnet