"When I first went to Sirmione I thought: as long as you look at it, as far as you let yourself get carried away with the impression you have, you can never take that magical sense that belongs to it away with you." With these words, the German historian/philosopher Friedrich managed to fully grasp the magic aura of Sirmione. The beauty of the "pearl" of Garda Lake has remained intact over the centuries, and still attracts tourists from all over the world at any time of year.
The peninsula stretches for about four kilometres towards the lake's centre, offering suggestive panoramas and unforgettable experiences. Its origins date back to the 2nd millennium BC, and throughout the centuries various eras have left their mark on the peninsula. Precisely so that you don't miss a single detail of this enchanted place, we have prepared a walking tour for you to enjoy Sirmione in all its beauty, while also staying in shape.
- The Scaliger period left a very important sign that has become one of the symbols of Sirmione: the Castle. The visit begins exactly here, because in order to enter the village we have to pass from the Castle's drawbridge and admire it in all its grandeur. Completely surrounded by water, it was built for defensive purposes and for its strategic position. Today it is completely accessible, especially the keep with its 146-step staircase that offers breathtaking views.
- On the left is the Church of Sant'Anna dating back to the end of the fifteenth century. It consists of a single nave and is connected to the castle complex.
- Walking along the right side of the castle, continue on to Via Dante, where you can admire the southern part of the Scaliger structure. Continuing on you'll reach the facade of the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the most important in Sirmione. It dates back to the 15th century, like the many frescoes that cover the walls of its only nave.
- Continuing along the coast you'll reach a terrace from which you can admire the lake and Mount Baldo in the distance. Continuing down the path in the public park, you'll reach a small staircase leading to the shores of the lake. A very beautiful path begins here called the Passeggiata delle Muse (the Muse's Path) leading to the beach Lido delle Bionde (Blond Beach).
- To the left of the bathing establishment, an uphill road leads to Via Catullo. From the end of this road you can access the archaeological park of the Catullo Caves, where you can enjoy a unique experience in a magical place.
- Who doesn't want a bit of relaxation and a nice swim? Next a path to the right leads to Jamaica Beach at the very tip of Sirmione, one of the wildest places to swim in Italy.
- Refreshed and relaxed, continue your tour by going back to the entrance of the Catullo Caves. Just before the caves, a road to the right leads to the Church of St Peter in Mavinas, surrounded by a park of olive trees. It dates back to the eighth century, as do the frescoes of its three apses, while those along the walls were painted in 1320.
- Walking along the right side of the church, after a hundred metres you'll reach the Catullo Spa with over 125 years of history. Among the most important thermal spas in Italy, it exploits a unique and essential element: the sulfur bromide iodine water known for its preventive and therapeutic properties. For some years, the "Catullo" spa park has been enriched by Aquaria, the Thermal Wellness Centre that combines the most modern technologies with the thermal waters and mud.
- Beyond the spa, continue on to the village of Sirmione and its restaurants and typical shops, finally reaching the boats' landing dock in Piazza Carducci, the village's 'living room'. Many famous personalities have passed through here, including Queen Margherita, Giosuè Carducci, Ezra Pound, James Joyce and Maria Callas, who loved to spend her afternoons in this square, sipping an aperitif.
Just a bit further on the road takes you back to the Castle our visit began from. Already over? In a place as enchanting as Sirmione, between natural beauty and magical landscapes, time flies, but it's not over yet. For those who wish, you can take a boat tour of the peninsula on the famous Betoldi motorboats which have even had the pleasure of hosting Wiston Churchill.