Towards the southern end of Lago di Garda lies the picture-perfect town of Sirmione, Italy. Accessible through castle walls and a foot bridge, this strollable town celebrated by the Roman poet Catullus is worth a daytrip for the discriminating tourist. Of course, you could always just ďwing itĒ, but these travel tips for seeing Sirmione will have you armed and ready to make the most of the experience. Bring a day pack with a camera, water bottle, swimwear and other essentials, and prepare for several hours of relaxation and photo opportunities.
Hike the Grotte di Catullo.
These extensive Roman ruins are the premier Sirmione attraction. While you can walk up the road from the city center, I prefer to return this way and make my way there instead by walking up the waterís edge on the side of the island that will be on your right as you cross over the bridge upon entering the town of Sirmione itself. Youíll be able to enjoy the grounds this way, and enjoy a bit of swimming along the way if you, your children or Rover are so inclined. Thereís also a small museum on site that showcases some of the archaeological finds from this set of Roman ruins.
Take some time to explore the Castello Scaligero.
Since castle is the first word that will come to your mind as you approach the island of Sirmione, it should come as no surprise that youíll have the opportunity to explore one while youíre here. While itís strikingly empty, youíll get a great view from the tower, and exploring castle architecture is always fun. Besides, how cool is it that you have to access this town by crossing through the castle walls? Pretty cool, in my humble opinion.
Strolling and street food combine for an enhanced Sirmione experience.
Certainly, there are a number of fine dining restaurants available on the island if enjoying a lavish Italian meal is on your agenda. If your preferences lean towards exploring ruins and side streets however, strolling and snacking is the best approach. Youíll find takeaway establishments offering paninis, cappuccino, pastries and some of the finest gelato in the country.
Itís possible to take a boat ride around the entire island of Sirmione.
If your schedule permits it, this is a great way to see the town from all angles and get some photo ops you wouldnít otherwise be able to. Taking a boat ride around Sirmione proper will also clue you in as to the areas where youíll be able to stretch out, swim, curl up with a book and get the best lake views from the ruins of the Grotte di Catullo. Besides, itís fun.
Departing Sirmione on foot, youíll notice a small chapel to your right as you approach the bridge.
While itís noting as elaborate as St. Markís Basilica in Venice or the cathedral next to the leaning tower of Pisa, itís a quaint little chapel thatís always decorated with flowers. Itís a nice place to stop and reflect upon your visit as you leave Sirmione, or to simply gather your thoughts.
Clearly, the town of Sirmione is worth the time it takes to visit and is a notable stop on any extended tour of Lake Garda. Other nearby tourist destinations include Verona, Marostica, Milan and Bolzano.
Photo Credits: Pictures in this article were photographed by the Trek Hound team. However, these and other pictures of Sirmione are available for online publication use through a creative commons agreement on our sister site, Pictures of Travel Places.