Sirmione is a picturesque town with its own distinctive ambience and style. It sits at the tip of a narrow 6.5-kilometre peninsular, and is almost entirely surround by Lake Garda.
Before entering Sirmione, you need to cross a drawbridge belonging to Scaliger Castle, which stands guard at the entrance to the town. This 13th century medieval castle is the landmark of Sirmione. While it is smaller than most castles in Europe, it has the unique reputation of doubling up as both a fortress and port during its heyday. It is surrounded by a large moat which is also home to many ducks and swans.
Scarliger Castle offers great photo opportunities and magnificent views of the historic village, harbour and Lake Garda. That is, if you have the luxury of time and stamina to climb the 150 steps which lead up to the ramparts and the 30 metre-high tower.
Beyond the castle and towards the town are narrow cobbled streets, stuccoed buildings with flower boxes lining its windows, linked arches and pretty gardens. Slender alleys open into little piazzas, with outdoor cafés and souvenir shops. It was a delight to just wander around and enjoy the charm of a historical town. I treated myself to five different flavours of gelato piled on top of one huge cone!
There are a number of gardens and parks to enjoy the greenery, while the port is still in use for boats and ferries that take tourists out to the lake for great views of the town, cliffs and mountains. For the most part, people come to Sirmione to relax, chill out and enjoy the mineral-rich thermal spas that are well-known for their curative properties.
A number of artists and poets, like Catullus, have praised Sirmione for its beauty. A very enjoyable visit, indeed!